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The fall 2017 Akau Accounting interns with UH Hilo alumna and business entrepreneur Claire-Ann Niibu-Akau. (photo by Darryl Holland.

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo alumna Claire-Ann Niibu-Akau just launched her accounting firm of the future. Niibu-Akau graduated in December 2015 with a degree in accounting. She opened her business Akau Accounting this fall, and is looking to innovate her field.

“I’ve been doing bookkeeping and accounting for about 20 years, but I began this firm in November. I wanted to continue to support small businesses in Hawaiʻi,” said Niibu-Akau.

She has hired nine UH Hilo student-interns to help her revolutionize her practice through technological advancements. The Akau Accounting organizational structure is designed to be a virtual online accounting practice. This allows for remote anywhere-in-the-world bookkeeping for clients and also provides the company’s student-interns with flexibility. Niibu-Akau, her employees and interns are able to work at the hours that best fit their schedules and meet client demand from virtually anywhere in the world.

Internship program provides a diversified and innovative environment

Niibu-Akau hired the student-interns after participating in the UH Hilo College of Business and Economics Internship and Job Fair. One of her main goals is to help people in the community, and she feels that having interns is a large part of that. As a recent graduate, Niibu-Akau knows what the importance of a good internship experience can provide for students.

“I know that students are very capable and I believe that if given the opportunity, our UH Hilo students have great potential for self-development and personal growth.”

Of the nine students that have been hired, seven are focusing on accounting and two are focusing on marketing. Niibu-Akau says, “The cool thing is that the interns are so diverse in skill and background.”

The Akau Accounting interns hail from different areas of the globe including China, the Marshall Islands, Hawaiʻi and the mainland United States. They come from culturally diverse settings and bring expertise from various walks of life.

Niibu-Akau expects that the interns will also help a lot of small businesses in the community. “Interns bring a lot of great ideas, a high level of energy and will grow in their knowledge.”

Written by Lara Hughes, a UH Hilo business administration student and former intern in the UH Hilo Office of the Chancellor. The story was originally posted on her blog.

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