What Are the Marks of a Good Accounting Internship?

Thu, Jun 28, 2012

Internship Information

It doesn’t really matter what you study in college. Before you graduate, it’s always wise to participate in at least one internship. It’s a great way to see the real side of your major from outside of a classroom, plus it provides you with some of the experience that you’ll be required to have once you begin entering into the workplace.

If you are someone who is preparing to become an accountant, a good internship will not only assist you with putting your math, computer and analytical skills into action, but it will also support you in narrowing down the kind of company that you want to work for.

So, what are the marks of a good accounting internship? Here are five of them.

It will be a place that has had interns before. There are some places (like Deloitte & Touche, for example) that have hosted accounting interns for many years. As a matter of fact, many of the people who have worked for them during the summer have gone on to become an employee of their company following graduation. Finding a place that is used to having interns around is a wonderful way to be properly educated and nurtured in your field. It also may be a way to land a potential future job.

It will let you do some real accounting work. Being an intern that just gets a CPA’s coffee is not really going to teach you much about the real accounting world. A good accounting internship will provide you with hands on experience from filing and organizing client reports to keying in data and putting together tax returns.

It will be open to you trying some new things. If you have an attentive reporting supervisor, s/he will not be comfortable with you not expanding over the course of your time with their company. As you prove yourself to be reliable and efficient, you may be given additional responsibilities based on the amount of knowledge that you have. For instance, some interns that are in their junior or senior year are oftentimes assigned research projects. If they work for an auditing firm, they may prepare client tax forms. If they work for the government, they may be expected to do some monthly/quarterly financial reporting. You’re wanting an internship so that you can grow. Therefore, even if it is not offered to you, don’t hesitate to ask for more responsibilities if you feel you can accomplish additional tasks.

It will help you to figure out what area you want to work in. Say that you are close to having a master accounting online, but you’re not sure what field that you want to get into. A good accounting internship will provide you with enough broad experience to at least gain a bit more clarity as it relates to becoming a cost, financial, forensic, public or even internationally-based accountant. Again, if it’s a thorough internship, you shouldn’t leave it having more questions than you do answers as it relates to what to do next in the area of your professional life.

It will further develop some other vital skills. A reputable accountant is not just good with math or paperwork. They also are courteous, patient, detail-oriented, focused, cooperative and able to work on their own for hours at a time. In deciding if you should go with a particular company or firm, during the initial interview, assess if it will be an environment that will help you to sharpen not just your accounting skills, but the characteristics needed to be become the best kind of accountant that you can possibly be. You can do that by asking the person interviewing you if your overall performance will be reviewed and if not, if they would be willing to provide you with some critiquing throughout the internship. If you’re going to be working to gain some viable experience, you should try and get all of the training that you possibly can. After all, that’s what a great internship is all about.

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