An accounting internship delivers an excellent opportunity for college students to develop their skill set and gain critical field experience before graduation. Most importantly, for college students aspiring to launch their careers in accounting, an internship provides countless networking opportunities and may even lead to a job. Whether you’re interning at a large corporation, regional firm, or small local practice, here are four essential tips to help make the most of your internship experience.
Keep An Open Mind
As a college student, you may have some preconceived notions about what your internship should look like. However, the workforce is very different from the academic world. Be ready to adjust to a faster pace than you’re used to, and be prepared to manage the challenges and adversity you will inevitably face. Keeping an open mind throughout your internship will help you successfully navigate through whatever comes your way.
Take It All In
Yes, an internship is a professional experience; however, it’s also a learning experience. Be a sponge, absorbing everything around you. Whether you’re learning how to use the accounting information system, how the firm runs their practice, or how the best employees interact with their clients, be mindful and watch what happens around you.
Be Patient (With Yourself)
It’s important to remember that errors are often an unavoidable part of the internship process. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Know that you will undoubtedly have various missteps during the first few weeks (or even months) at your internship – and they won’t make or break your future. Be patient with yourself, take risks, and show the firm you’re flexible and not afraid to attempt something new.
The biggest tip to a successful internship is to ask questions. Asking questions can help you avoid future mistakes and better understand the firm’s best practices. Remember, asking lots of questions doesn’t make you seem incompetent or incapable of performing to the company’s expectations. Your inquiries show you’re not trying to “plug and chug” the numbers and demonstrates your commitment to fully understand how an audit/tax return works. Asking questions can help impress the firm you’re working at as well as help you gain invaluable insight you can take with you after graduation at your first official accounting job.