Applying for accounting internships and getting interview for it is a major first step to take for graduates who are ready for the real world.
Having studied all of the intricacies and practices involved within the accounting world, it is time to put yourself forward and gain some genuine experience in the field.
However, like any internship program that markets itself as a direct pathway to a full-time position, there are some fundamental questions and points of discussion that have to be explored first.
There is little to be gained from jumping at the first listed opportunity if they have no intention of providing any value other than accessing cheap labour.
Stop and consider what options could be best for your own circumstances.
Let us walk through a few elements that will help inform your own decision on the subject.
Accounting internships are uniquely designed to bring the graduate up to speed on how an organisation works day to day and where their expertise can fit into a team dynamic. This is where mentors, managers and peers are in a position to lend guidance, issue challenges and test the boundaries of their capability. Should a young intern be brought into a business and emerge with no new knowledge or application of their skills, it will have been a waste of time and energy.
Open Communication and Encouraging Dialogue
Depending on the self-confidence levels of the intern, accounting internships can be a confronting and intimidating experience for individuals who have never be given an official position before. Here is where a policy that encourages dialogue and instigates open communication between peers becomes paramount. Feeling as though you are unable to ask questions or refer to colleagues on matters is a scenario that will lead to oversight and error. That will reflect poorly on the intern and the business, but it will always be the business that is free to cut ties and bring in another graduate.
Is There a Genuine Employment Pathway?
It is not enough to take a company at face value to see if an internship actually follows through with their promise of hiring these participants on a full-time basis. Accounting internships have to demonstrate which employees started out in these part-time roles before they were readily promoted from within. If there is no tangible evidence that this is the case, then it is hard to trust the organisation that such a pathway actually exists.
Added Logistical Incentives
Forget the money for one moment when assessing accounting internships on their merit and take note of any added logistical incentives that could be present. This can include transport assistance, accommodation services, lending of IT equipment, training regimes or other offerings that are used to compliment the program. A firm cannot hope to invest in young talent if they do not provide them with the resources to succeed, so keep an eye out for brands that extend themselves in this facet.
Does the Firm Match Your Goals/Ambitions?
When assessing suitability for accounting internships, it is important to gauge what your personal goals and ambitions are to see whether or not this firm matches those benchmarks. If you wish to take on major firms as part of a portfolio and end up running your own business, does this organisation have the resources and pathways to make that happen? An intern role is the embryotic stage of a grander journey, and there will be stepping stones taken along the way. The crucial element with these programs is to continue to take steps forward along those stones and not to be bogged down. See if they indeed match your ambitions or if they provide a link to the next phase.
Accounting internships are designed so that both parties stand something to gain from the experience. The firm has access to ambitious and hungry young accounting professionals eager to make their mark in the industry whilst those same graduates have an official company name to put on their resume and learn key lessons and behaviours along the way. If money becomes the overriding motivator and key metric on applying for these programs, the end result will always be disappointment. As anyone will inform you with years of experience in professional life, financial incentives only venture so far.