If you are eager to get into the finance industry as an accountant, then you might have considered undertaking one of the many worthwhile accounting internships there are available. These opportunities are highly sought-after because of their tendency to help graduates and young professionals get a head-start in the industry and network with influential people, chiefly recruiters.
However, it’s entirely possible to wind up with a terrible accounting internship that does little to engage you and is a waste of time and resources for everyone involved, especially you. A bad placement can set your career back and in the worst possible case cause you to become disillusioned with an industry you were previously eager to get your start in.
The following will look at a few traits that the placement you pursue needs to have in order for it to be worthwhile.
Engages you with relevant work
The most important trait of any good accounting internship is that it actively engages you with work that’s relevant to the profession and is going to impart you with employable skills. There’s absolutely no point wasting your time doing a placement where all you do is grab coffee for people in meetings and complete monotonous administration work that others pass onto you because they can’t be bothered doing it.
If the attitude of the host company is that you’re an errand boy/girl and that they can’t be bothered training, you – you should go somewhere else. An accounting internship should give you things to do that are related to financial management and all other relevant skill sets you will need to succeed in your future career.
Embraces you in the company culture
You don’t want to end up with an accounting internship where you are alienated from the company culture and are always treated like an outsider. While the first week is always awkward as you get to know everyone, you should settle in and be privy to the inside jokes and invited out to group lunches.
Being a part of a corporate environment and interacting in it is essential for preparing you for the professional world. You need to be fully engrossed in order to get the best benefit of any accounting internship you decide to pursue.
Give you a chance to network
Another thing that a good accounting internship should provider you with is the ability to network and form professional relationships. Finding a mentor or just getting some career advice from people who have a lot of experience in the industry can be one of the most valuable things you get out of the placement, so it’s essential you are given the chance to explore this.
If you don’t end up getting a job from the placement, and don’t connect with anyone there, there may be very little to show for the time you spent. A friendship with a well-respected and experienced accountant is going to be more useful to you in finding a job than a stock standard recommendation letter.
Has a good chance of offering you a job
While it is never guaranteed (since your performance will matter), its best to go with an accounting internship that is advertised as having a chance for employment. Naturally, this kind of placement is also a pathway to a job at the company and can be considered as seriously an application.