If you are a finance student who wants to get their foot in the door and accelerate their career upon graduation, pursuing one of the many fine accounting internships firms that like to offer young people could be the perfect opportunity. However, not all placements are created equally, and it is prudent for you to shop around rather than simply go with the first firm you come across.
Let’s take a look at some features you want the placement to have before you agree to do it.
1. Real work
The first and foremost thing you need to make sure of when investigating accounting internships is what kind of activities are entailed. Obviously, you want to avoid a placement that is going to have you spend most of your time fetching coffees or doing boring administration work that others have passed on to you simply because you’re the intern.
This kind of work is somewhat a rite of passage in the eyes of some, and if you are happy to tolerate it and be a ‘good sport’ you will usually be rewarded by the firm since the people supervising you would have had a similar experience when they were in your position. Ultimately though, you will be better prepared for the workforce when you take up an accounting internship that actually has you doing finance work on a routine basis.
2. Chance to find a mentor
Accounting internships should also give you a chance to network and connect with industry veterans who will teach you all of the unspoken rules and tips they have learnt through their career. No amount of book study or lectures are going to give you the insight a good mentor can, so finding one can be one of the most impactful things you do for your early career.
3. Chance for employment
Of course, the primarily utility of an accounting internship is to give you practical experience and a reference so that you can go and find an entry-level job. However, sometimes there will be a chance that the firm you did your placement at offers you a position at the end of your vocational period or perhaps even before it ends (depending on how much they like you).
The benefits of this are that you get to start working full-time at a firm you are already experienced working in. You already know everyone and how to do things, so less training is required before you can start making money for the firm.
This is not a guarantee at any accounting internship, even the ones that state explicitly there is a chance for employment. Sometimes just getting a reference from a good firm is enough for you to take somewhere else and easily land a job.
4. A meaningful reference
The reference you get at the end of your accounting internship will be the most important thing you get out of it in terms of landing interviews for jobs you want to apply for. Managers of firms tend to trust the opinion of their counterparts and will always give the job to someone with a professional reference than someone without one.
Hopefully you are able to draw on the information above to ensure that you are able to secure yourself an accounting internship that provides you with genuine value.