By Lara Hughes
University of Hawai‘i at Hilo alumna Claire-Ann Niibu-Akau has just launched an accounting firm of the future. Niibu-Akau graduated from UH Hilo in December 2015 with a degree in accounting. She opened her business Akau Accounting in the fall, and is looking to innovate her field.
She says, “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 Hawai‘i.”
Niibu-Akau 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 on-line accounting practice. This allows for remote anywhere-in-the-world bookkeeping for clients far and wide and also provides student-interns in the company with flexibility. Niibu-Akau, her employees and interns are able to work at the hours that best fit their schedules while meeting client demand from virtually anywhere in the world.
Internship program provides diversified and innovative environment
Niibu-Akau hired the nine 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,” she says.
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, Hawai‘i and the mainland United States. They come from culturally diverse settings and bring expertise from various walks of life. Niibu-Akau expects 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,” she explains.