As an accounting student in college, it’s never too early to start looking for the right internship opportunity for you. Internships are very important for aspiring accountants . They can set your résumé apart during your job search after college, provide you with valuable hands-on experience and put you in touch with respected professional contacts with whom you can network throughout your career. However, not all internship opportunities will necessarily be equally beneficial to you. When searching for an internship, you should know what opportunities are available, what to expect in your new position and how to find the opportunity that is best for you.
Accounting Internship Opportunities
Accounting students can find internship opportunities in virtually any work environment where an accounting professional might work. Some students seek out internships with the prestigious “big four” accounting firms. Other students intern at smaller CPA firms, which though less prominent can still teach students valuable skills. It’s even possible for students to complete accounting internships with government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Some internships are part-time, while others are full-time but still temporary. While some internships are unpaid, many count toward college credits, and some are paid.
What to Expect as an Intern
In contrast to the popular view of interns as coffee retrievers or “gofers,” accounting internships are often much more interesting and valuable than you may think. Many successful accountants report having done real accounting work during their internships as students, complete with challenging responsibilities and deadlines. A good accounting internship will keep interns busy, not with “busy work” but with work of real value. An accounting internship shouldn’t be easy – but it should expand the scope of your knowledge and experience. You may be asked to choose whether to apply for an internship in tax or auditing. Ideally, your work as an intern will also help you determine your future career path, including whether work as a tax accountant or an auditor is right for you.
How to Find an Internship
When it comes to searching for an accounting internship, you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, it’s common for colleges and universities to help their students find internship opportunities with accounting firms or other businesses, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Often, students can get help through their school’s career center, through the accounting apartment, or through extracurricular clubs and events like mixers. You can also find an internship by searching job and internship websites online.
You don’t have to wait until late in your academic career to start looking for an internship opportunity to improve your résumé, education and professional experience. In fact, getting an early start will allow you more time to network, learn, and even complete multiple internships to broaden your experiences. Internships are available at a variety of possible workplaces, so getting one is all a matter of succeeding in your studies, taking advantage of your resources and deciding what opportunity is right for you.