accounting internships

accounting internships

The Importance of Accounting Internships

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1. Introduction

2. Student’s self-development Internships in differing businesses in your field give aspiring accountants the chance to explore their respective fields on a more personal level. This means that they will also be more likely to find jobs after graduation because they have been exposed to their field on a deeper level, ensuring that they understand the ramifications and challenges of their chosen career. Internships also allow students to see the accountancy issues that they study in a much more interesting light, as they can see how they are implemented to help the corresponding company. Lastly, an internship allows the student to develop greater attention to detail and helps them understand the accounting process of a company.

Internships are highly valuable to students. They provide real-world experience and allow you to put into practice what you have learned in the classroom in an environment where the stakes are not as high. An internship would help you become accustomed to your future profession while giving you a peek at what the real job would be like, and it can also be great for your resume. You would be able to gain valuable firsthand knowledge of the field, build the skills that employers want in a potential employee, and also increase your chances of getting hired once you have graduated from your degree. In accounting, you would work closely with a firm’s or company’s accountant to check what the expenses and income of the company are. Hence, internship students not only learn how to do an accountant’s job, but they also gain valuable firsthand experience in doing an accountant’s job itself. Internships in an accounting firm and within various business industries are highly important for college students for personal and educational purposes.

2. Benefits of Accounting Internships

The research literature presents many benefits of internships from the student perspective that justify the popularity of the internship experience with the students seeking it. Benefits to the student surpass the many benefits to businesses; both periods where the student and firm may not gain anything. Accounting internships provide an exciting opportunity for accounting students to gain real-life, hands-on experience with a CPA firm. Additionally, the internship aids in overcoming each of the Five P’s in marketing with regard to the employer benefits, and with networking and experience for the accounting student as well. Though scarce information exists on the advantages of internships for various accounting student segments, internships are beneficial.

Internships provide a mutually beneficial arrangement where accounting students receive real-life experience in accounting careers, and employers experience more productive employees. Accounting internships provide the opportunity for accounting students to make a smooth transition between college and their chosen career by providing the student several added benefits. An accounting internship provides students with hands-on experience in real accounting situations and contains a networking aspect of meeting potential employers that isn’t available within the classroom. Within this real-world work environment, a student may also discover that they don’t like the work and are able to alter their major a few semesters before they graduate. As an added benefit, paid accounting interns are able to earn the entry-level salary for junior accountants which patchy jobs won’t pay due to a lack of experience. Not only does an accounting internship grant several hands-on experiences and opportunities for students, but the long-term career benefits could also encourage organizations as the primary job source for entry-level accountants.

3. How to Find Accounting Internships

During the internship, use the resources given to you. If you find yourself with an internship that is with a smaller company and not what a large company could offer, be initiative in setting up and using what each person in the business has to offer, including the person whom you are under to learn and grow with. There are countless opportunities in smaller businesses. The student should also use this as an opportunity for networking. A smaller team means fewer equals in the world. Developing relationships with your mentors and learning from your bosses can assist in how you make your first impression, or how well you pitch yourself for a job in the nearest future. Working not only to perform well for the business but to grow and learn with each professional encountered is key when gaining experience through internships. Industries such as accounting provide hundreds of options to those who use the resources given to them to build a successful career. Understanding that an internship experience is what the student makes of it, the student can find valuable experience with any business. The accounting student may find that seeking opportunity through small businesses teaches them things they never even realized they could learn before.

Most universities work to partner with local businesses to offer students education through internships. However, many universities often miss out on opportunities for the students with local small businesses versus the Fortune 500 businesses. Depending on your interests, finding the right opportunity is relatively easy today. If your university cannot offer you opportunities through larger companies such as PwC, EY, KPMG, Deloitte, or another type of Fortune 500 company, then searching through databases such as Indeed, LinkedIn, or is effective. These portals offer searching and filtering, making the search for an internship customized to the student. Databases allow the student to search based on location, status, paid versus unpaid, and interest. One can also use their university advisors or career services to assist in finding the best route to finding the internship that will ultimately help with one’s career path! Knowing that the job market becomes more and more competitive every day, more students apply for internships to receive hands-on and real-life experience where their degree program may be lacking. A hot topic among professors is the need for hands-on experiences rather than ‘lecture and exams’. Internships offer real-life experiences in their career of interest, and countless life lessons are learned without knowing it.

4. Tips for a Successful Accounting Internship

Network. Even if you are happy with your current internship, always be prepared. The business community is a much smaller circle than you may realize. You will come into contact with professionals who can help give your career a boost. The key is familiarizing yourself with local accountants and looking for events where you can meet them. Whenever you can, exchange business cards and get to know local accounting professionals.

Establish good communication habits. Communication is at the heart of accounting work, so start developing your professional communication skills early. Keep your lines of communication open and deliver clear, concise messages both in-person and electronic communication. Professionalism and timeliness will help you make strong connections that you can carry beyond your internship.

Understand the role you will play. It’s important to go into your internship with an understanding of what will be expected of you. It’s likely that you’ll be providing assistance to either a CPA or another high-level professional. Understanding what duties you are expected to perform can help support you in successfully fulfilling these duties. If you are ever uncertain, do not hesitate to request guidance. It’s much better to ask for clarification than to carry out your task incorrectly.

5. Conclusion

The timeliness of accounting internships is expanding by providing a myriad of employment exposure opportunities. Employers, such as accounting firms, can use internships as a screening tool to identify future employees. Employers alternatively offer internships to provide significant exposure to their firm and to offer interns’ knowledge into specific industries or client acquisition opportunities. Accounting students realize this and some career planning and studies for their accounting examination 2 (CPA) to be eligible for internship opportunities. At Virginia Commonwealth University in the past several years, accounting majors were asked if they were employment bound upon graduation. If their answer was yes, a large portion of those offered the affirmative also presented plans to study and acquire their CPA. In our university, graduates who have successfully completed the CPA examination are certified as public accountants. The students’ awareness of the importance of the CPA certification is not a new phenomenon. The institute for higher education described outcome assessment for accounting degrees. For several years, the institute and the accounting program have used the CPA as an outcome measure for our accounting degree program. Ultimately, this research uses the general capital model to disentangle employment-bound Virginia Commonwealth University students’ perceptions of the differences in abilities, skills, and knowledge developed between those completing and those not completing an internship.

Employers look favorably upon applicants who have the real-world experience that internships provide, offering you the chance to gain work experience and demonstrating the practical skills you’ve gained in class. Internships will provide you with the experiences necessary to pursue your skill sets, both soft and hard skills. Internships will increase your knowledge of financial accounting concepts as well as study the forces operating the decision-making processes of organizations, both for profit and not-for-profit. Internships provide much in the way of teaching the technical skills necessary to reach your continuing professional education goals. Overall, internships can provide the individual with a good expositor to accounting as a whole, affording the opportunity to view the practical applications of your studies in the classroom, obtain valuable professional experience, and provide a stepping stone to a high-paying career in accounting. Employers look favorably upon applicants who have gained practical work experiences, and the employment opportunities for students to gain internship experience in accounting are expanding. Therefore, an internship will give you clearer insight into the real-world accounting, as well as offer college credits towards your accounting degree. Internships provide the opportunity to work with an organization that heavily relies on your end-of-month reporting for external financial statement users, other departments that use internally generated statements for decision making, and operations that use accounting systems. Internships can provide the opportunity to interact with a variety of personnel within the organization. It is not unusual for individuals with whom the intern interacts to become references for employment after they conclude their college studies.

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