3 Professional Accounting Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Accounting Internship
Overview: Smith Marion & Co.’s Joey Harding, Senior Associate, gives 3 pieces of advice for accounting interns to get the most out of their internship
An accounting internship is a great way to get practical on-the-job experience and exposure to the accounting industry.
Often you can get college credit for your internship, but there are additional steps you can take to maximize your internship. To get the most out of your internship, consider the following 3 steps.
3 RULES FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT AN INTERNSHIP:
- Socialize – Also known as “networking,” socializing in the accounting industry is a huge deal. Although you might find this concept intimidating, it’s just about building relationships.
The reality of accounting is that company culture is one of the top factors that people in our time are looking for in a job/career, so getting to know your coworkers is an essential part of that. Plus, it helps you to build a network of connections which will no doubt be useful to you later on.
- Be amicable and talk to as many people as possible in the office.
- You may gain new insight into problems or into work situations.
- You could also meet people who may help your career in the future.
What if your accounting internship doesn’t lead to a permanent position with that company? This accounting-based article makes a great point: While that could be disheartening, focus on the people you’ve met, and how they may have connections that will open up opportunities for you at other firms.
- Ask questions – If you’re stuck on a problem, reach out to your in-charge for some help. You don’t want to waste hours on a task when it could take you 30 minutes if you just seek the right help. Also, asking questions is one of the best proven ways to learn a concept better.
This article stresses the importance of not being afraid to speak up. This means that if you’re not sure how to do something, or want to know why a certain process is performed, you should openly ask your accounting department.
Pick people’s brains around the firm, from current staff members to accounting managers and even partners, is also beneficial.
Of course, you want to be mindful of everyone’s schedule (use common sense… don’t just barge into someone’s office with a question). Talk to all-accessible staff, especially if it’s a company that you’d really like to work for; this helps prove to them that you’re really interested in working at their organization by behaving professionally and confidently.
- Reflect on your experience – Set some time aside to observe yourself and the progress that you made during your internship – this also includes observing the challenges that you want to overcome in the future.
Similar to the previous tip, ask your coworkers and in-charges what they think your strengths and weaknesses are. This shows that you’re open to growth and development, not just a paycheck.
When I was an intern, I found that these 3 rules were the best tools for growth in my position. The results I achieved from implementing these tips was that I was able to:
- establish good relationships with my colleagues
- receive a full-time job offer from the firm before completing the 3-month internship
- develop personal goals for my career with the firm
Even if you choose to pursue other opportunities after an internship, these 3 rules will help you develop and bring good experience to the table.
Joey Harding, Senior Associate
Smith Marion & Co.