What Successful Accounting Internships Actually Look Like

So you have successfully applied for one of the internships that have been published from an accounting firm.

Perhaps an answer has been received or maybe this is still pending.

Whatever the scenario is for the participant, there are certain preparation steps that will gear young men and women for what will lie ahead.

There is often a lot of chatter and hearsay about what is involved with accounting internships in the lead up to the program.

None of that actually matters when it comes down to the tasks that are specified and how performance is assessed.


1) Researching The Firm

When graduates or postgraduates attend accounting internships, they have the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge about the business ahead of time. Who is their clientele? What is their annual turnover? What is their community reputation? Who owns the business? There is every chance that this information will not be asked for successful applicants, but it is information that can prove useful when submitting an application and cover letter as well as for attending interviews about the role.


2) Looking The Part

It is one of those subconscious biases that people have in professional settings, and as much as we would prefer to be judged on the content of performance and character, there is a need to look professional and represent the firm publically. Accounting internships are partly about fitting into the workplace culture and this is where dress and attire are an essential component. By having a well-designed suit that is either purchased or hired, it will be easier to integrate into this environment without appearing out of place.


3) Consistent Hard Work

The application will beat talent ten times out of ten with accounting internships and some graduates find this fact out the hard way. There is a fine line between showcasing hard work and being exploited for copious amounts of hours that are not paid, but when there are opportunities to be involved and to demonstrate initiative they have to be taken. After all, this is a small window and a glimpse into a possible future with employers and colleagues, so the more drive that is illustrated in these settings, the more appealing the candidacy happens to be.


4) Being Inquisitive

There are no stupid questions with accounting internships – only those questions that have to be repeated will come across that way. This is an industry that is incredibly diverse and multifaceted, so the more information that an individual has when walking away from the experience, the better prepared they will be to forge a career. Applicants have the chance to find out in-depth detail about financial accounting practices, the tax return process, management accounting, forensic and public accounting as well as auditing. Why do these professionals do what they do and what are the key lessons and takeaways from their duties?


5) Networking & Establishing Relationships

Preparing to rub shoulders with other colleagues through accounting internships should be high on the agenda. Even for those participants who are shy or not socially engaged in a work environment, a reserved approach won’t return the type of dividends that others will receive. These connections will often prove fruitful for young men and women who want to open a new door to an interview or to be available for a startup opportunity at a new firm.


For anyone who manages to tick these five boxes with accounting internships, they can proudly walk away from the experience to count it as a success. Notice that none of these examples actually discuss the offer of a full-time role because that is a decision that is out of your control.