There are good accounting internships and there are poor accounting internships. If you picture life as an intern in an accounting firm as a day full of fetching coffee, making copies, and taking trips back and forth to the printer, you are picturing life as an intern in the wrong internship. When you find a good accounting internship, your experience being an intern will be a lot like the experience of an entry-level graduate who was recently hired by the firm. Not only will you be given accounting duties and responsibilities, you will be expected to meet deadlines just like you would if you were an accounting employee. When you land a good internship, you are sure to have an advantage in the field as soon as you graduate and become a job seeker. If you want to learn the secrets of how to land the best internships in the accounting world, here are some valuable tips that you should know.
Understand the Numbers Before You Start Searching For an Internship
You might be wondering why you should even take the time to search for an accounting internship if it is not a requirement. Not only does an internship give you a sneak-peak view of the life of an accountant before you commit to the field long term, it will also likely yield you a full-time job offer by the time that you complete school. In fact, based on a survey conducted of the top 4 accounting firms in the nation, approximately 70% of the new hires hired through these firms were interns. While some interns do work for free, the 2233 interns with Deloitte internships in 2009 made an average of $24.50 per hour. If you find the right opportunity, you can gain experience and make a decent wage.
Tips on How to Land the Best Accounting Internship
Search for Opportunities Early
You might think that you should start searching for internships during your senior year in your undergraduate program, but it is best for students to start searching at least a year in advance. You should expect to interview for opportunities before you are ready to get to work. Most companies know their temporary and permanent need for staff 1 to 2 years in advance. They also understand that you need to finish your degree program and pass your CPA test before you can start working. If you show you are a forward-thinker, you will improve your chances of being selected. As soon as you complete your Intermediate Accountings class and you learn about industry jobs and firms, you can identify what you want to do and start searching for the right opportunities.
Practice Interview Will Pay Off
Your interviewing style can make or break your chances of getting an offer. Make sure that you visit the career services department of your school and you can get feedback on your interviewing style before you meet with an actual HR department.
Know the Interviewing Process
The recruiting process for internships is unique. You will probably be invited to a casual Meet and Greet session full of other students who are applying as well. This is a more casual interview where you can meet with interviewers without all of the tension. Your primary duty is to stand out before your interview. After this event, you will sit with a recruiter who will ask you questions to see if you are a team player and if you are skilled. Be sure to ask questions and show that you are trying to find the right fit for you and for the firm.
If you interview with several different firms, you might find that you have to commit to one of multiple offers after you impress several different firm recruiters. Consider the firm’s reputation, career mobility, and the likelihood to receive a permanent offer. If you have a quality resume and the enthusiasm firm reps want to see, you should land a good internship.