How to Get an Accounting Internship in 7 Easy Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 19 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An accounting internship is a learning opportunity to improve your skills and make professional connections. An internship also makes a great addition to your resume and can help you find full-time employment. Learning how to get an accounting internship and what you may expect from this experience can prepare you for your professional career. In this article, we share steps of getting an accounting internship, explore the benefits and provide tips to succeed in your internship.

How to get an accounting internship

To learn how to get an accounting internship, consider following these steps:

1. Create an accounting focused resume

Regardless of your previous experience, you can create a resume that focuses on accounting-related skills. If you've worked in a position that involves communication, such as a day care assistant, tutor or retail worker, you can list some of your job experiences on your resume. Working with people and learning to communicate both orally and in writing can help you in your accounting future. Write any recent job experiences, emphasising any financial, communicative and data managing skills you've built during your time.

2. Develop accounting skills

Developing accounting skills can allow you to add more to your resume and show your competency to employers. Try to develop these skills by seeking opportunities, volunteering and attending workshops. Here are some accounting skills you might develop:

  • Communication: To learn from your mentors, it's important that you can communicate to ask questions and use your listening skills to understand their instruction.

  • Active learning: An internship is at its core, a learning experience, so to learn to develop your skills and learn about accounting duties, you can use active learning.

  • Critical thinking: Accountants use critical thinking to interpret data. As an intern, you can think critically when given accounting tasks so you can learn the trade quickly.

  • Basic accounting programs: Because accountants process documented information, understanding programs such as word processing, spreadsheets and presentation software can help you in your application process.

  • Attention to detail: Accountants handle high volumes of data and documentation, making attention to detail necessary for sufficient organisation responsibilities.

  • Mathematics: Accounting experts have a wide understanding of mathematics, and as an intern, you might both develop and use mathematical skills to progress in your career.

  • Collaboration: As an accounting intern, you may work with both accountants and employees from other departments to organise data and conduct meetings concerning departmental progress. Being able to collaborate and work with other departments and people can be a helpful skill to include on your resume.

Read more: 13 Accounting Skills to Include in Your Resume

3. Search for opportunities on campus

If you're attending a university, consider the internship experiences you may find on campus. Several universities have career opportunities on campus, such as accounting assistant positions or bookkeeping jobs. Talking to accounting faculty members or other experts in the subject may also help you progress in your internship search. Forming relationships with members of the accounting faculty may lead to gaining valuable contacts, which can help your search for an internship and further opportunities afterwards.

4. Apply to accounting firms

Look at accounting and other financial firms to find opportunities for interning. You can also research companies that may have an accounting department, such as a marketing firm or consulting business. Depending on your location, you may find postings for intern opportunities online. Check job boards and forums where companies may share open positions.

If you know a professional accountant, you may ask them if they accept interns or know of other professionals offering intern programmes. If you attend university, there may be a career centre that can help you find an internship.

Related: A Complete Guide to Writing an Accounting Assistant Resume

5. Prepare for interviews

Often companies interview for internship positions, so it's helpful to prepare for your potential interviews. During your interview, you might try to emphasise how the experience in your previous positions has prepared you for this internship. If you've worked with people, talking about situations and challenges you've handled in the workplace can show your potential employer that you understand how to communicate effectively. If you're currently attending college for an accounting degree, consider mentioning any current assignments or projects you're working on that relate to what you may do as a future accountant.

You can also research mock interviews for accounting and accounting internships to find questions the employer may ask. Having answers prepared can help you appear more confident during your interview and ensure that you don't forget to share relevant information that may help you get the internship.

6. Thank the interviewer

After an interview, consider showing your interviewers that you're grateful for the opportunity to talk to them. You can express this immediately after the interview by thanking them, with a phone call the next day or by sending them an email expressing your thanks for the session. Consider also sending them either a handwritten or printed note. Sending them a brief letter expressing your thanks may show them you enjoyed your time with them and that their session was meaningful to you. Gestures of gratitude may encourage consideration for your application during the later screening processes.

Following up after the interview can also enable you to highlight your qualifications one more time. Receiving communication from your post-interview can also express to the employer that you have a genuine interest in the intern role.

Related: Follow-Up Email Examples For After the Interview

7. Continue your education

Many accounting roles require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in accounting, finance or a related field. Being enrolled at a university can influence employers to consider you more seriously because pursuing a degree shows your dedication to your career. Some programs may require an internship to complete your degree.

Benefits of an accounting internship

Having an accounting internship can offer many benefits for your professional career, including:

Networking

Building a professional network early in your career can provide you a valuable resource for mentorship, advice, job opportunities and learning about industry trends. As an intern you may meet many professionals in the finance industry that may help you find employment after your internship or they may be good resources for advice. Having meaningful professional relationships may also improve your job satisfaction.

Related: What Is Professional Networking? (And Why It Matters)

Skill development

A major benefit of an accounting internship is that you can develop your skills and advance your knowledge. Interning gives you more hands-on learning experiences, which is great for resume building. You may also learn about your strengths and weaknesses during your internship, which helps determine what you may need more experience with and in which skills you're proficient. Ask your mentor or the manager of your internship to give you a performance review so that they can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Related: 11 Benefits of an Internship (With FAQs about Internships)

Exposure to specialisations

There are specialisations in accounting, such as forensic accounting, corporate finance, internal auditing and assurance. As an intern, you may receive tasks from different accounting departments and have an opportunity to experience more roles. This can be very beneficial in helping you determine your career path.

Tips for managing an internship

There are many aspects of being an intern that you may want to track to be successful in this role. Here are tips for managing your internship:

Set goals

You can organise the achievements you want to accomplish while interning by setting goals. Goals are specific and provide you with a timeline, measurable results and a clear result to achieve. It's good to set a few goals at the beginning of your internship so that you can focus on these objectives. Often, goals help you accomplish tasks more efficiently because goals provide focus.

Related: 9 Personal Development Goals and How to Achieve Them

Track your tasks

It's helpful to log your activities and track the progress of your tasks. This is a good skill to develop because it can help increase your productivity. As an intern, tracking your tasks also helps you to be more reliable and complete what your managers request.

Stay busy

Try to remain busy while you're at work. You can request additional tasks when you complete your assignment and this shows responsibility. While interning, it's good to show that you're responsible and eager to help because your managers can share this with future employers.

Meet with other employees

Make connections with as many employees at the company where you intern as you can. This helps build your professional network and may enable you to learn more about accounting and related careers. Meeting other employees may also make your experience more enjoyable.

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