Getting an accounting internship can be an extremely rewarding experience for you if you are a finance student or recent graduate looking to get their foot in the proverbial door. Accounting internships allow you to learn ‘on the job’ and apply the theoretical skills you’ve learnt in class while being exposed to all of the unspoken rules of working professionally.
Certainly, one of the best benefits of an accounting internship is the fact that you will get hands on experience with what working in the industry is really like and this can shatter your preconceived notions or predictions about what they will encounter. On the other hand, a poor placement that fails to engage you or exposes you to the worst parts of the industry may cause you to become disillusioned with the field as a whole and affect your future career aspirations.
In order to avoid disappointment and maximise the benefits of your placement, take a look at these following points for what you should want in an accounting internship.
1. A chance to do real work
Of course, the purpose of any accounting internship is to give you a chance to ‘learn the ropes’ of the industry by being thrown into an active work environment. While the experience may start you in the deep end and can be very scary, this sudden exposure is the best way to shock your expectations and mould you into the best practitioner you can be.
This means that whatever placement you pursue needs to actively engage you in real work tasks rather than mock activities or having you perform admin work on their behalf. Some of the worst stories from bad placements involve students being made to perform mundane admin activities and manual work (like cleaning the office) with a vague promise of eventually getting to the ‘big boy stuff’, which never comes.
There’s no point going with an accounting internship that’s going to make you a glorified assistant, and you probably won’t be very well respected by a firm that treats you this way. Make sure that whatever firm you choose to engage can reassure you you’ll get to do real work.
2. A chance of finding a mentor
One of the bonuses of a good accounting internship is when you form a relationship with a mentor who is able to give you invaluable advice and insight on the industry. These mentors can be incredibly influential as references when you’re looking for a job after your placement, especially when the ‘old guard’ of seasoned bookkeepers all know one another and trust each-other’s professional evaluation of you.
Keep in mind; not every accounting internship is going to give you the chance to find a mentor so you shouldn’t put all your hopes on it. While they can be very influential, you don’t absolutely need a mentor to succeed.
3. A chance of gaining employment after the placement
A good accounting internship is going to have opportunities for you to work full-time at their company once your placement is concluded. There are obvious advantages for both you and the firm; you already know how the office works, who everyone is and how an average day runs one your first official day as an employee which means less time and resources required to train you.
Hopefully the above information has helped you to learn more about what features a good accounting internship should have.