5 Keys to a Successful Internship in Accounting

Did you just start your first internship in accounting? Follow these five tips to make the most of this valuable opportunity.
Before graduation and starting your careers, many of you will obtain an internship in public accounting at some point.
By BFBA, May 25, 2017

Below are five things to do while interning that will set you apart from others.  Additionally, most of these can also be applied at the start and throughout your careers.  

1. Be open-minded.  

This means no matter the task, team, or firm, do not dwell on the negative.  You might want to work with a certain team or in a certain industry, but what you want isn’t always what is most beneficial to the firm, others in the firm, or to your development.  Keep an open-mind and relish the opportunity of working in a different industry, with different people, or in different areas.  The more you can adapt, be flexible, and stay open-minded, the more valuable you are to the firm.

2. Show a willingness to learn.

The majority of interns say they want to learn, but they fail at making a lasting impression in this area.  Don’t just ask questions!  Formulate some sort of answers (even if they are guesses) to the questions you ask.  You want to show people that you are thinking about your questions before you ask.  Always think about what you are doing and why you are doing it.  This seems simple, but many times interns and new hires get bogged down in the details and forget the big picture of why they are doing what they are doing.

3. Connect with people.  

This is plain and simple. The more people that like you and connect with you, the better your chances are to land a permanent position and advance quickly in the firm.

4. Be humble.  

Many of you will be very qualified (compared to your peers) during college to obtain an internship and/or entry-level position in public accounting.  Do not let your prior success go to your head.  Even if people are telling you that you are doing a great job, be humble in your approach, and you will reap the benefits throughout your career.

5. Have fun!  

Interning is extremely stressful, as you are trying to make an impression with the firm and/or set yourself up for employment with another firm.  Try to have fun!  If you can keep it loose and have fun during your internship, you will positively contribute to the culture of that firm and leave a lasting impression with your superiors.  

This article is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for obtaining competent accounting, tax, legal, or financial advice from a certified public accountant, attorney, or other business advisors.  You should not act upon any of the information in this article without first seeking qualified professional guidance from your business advisors on your specific circumstances. The information presented should not be construed as advice or guidance from BFBA.