The Importance of Accounting Internships

by: Smith and Howard

May 22, 2017

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At Smith and Howard, we place high value on the internship process.  This is one of the primary ways we find and develop our talent at the firm. As you are going through your course work towards an accounting degree, you might be wondering if an internship is really necessary. The purpose of this article is to shed light on why it is so important for you to make an internship a priority in helping to lay the groundwork for developing your career.

Provides clarity in your future coursework

One of the advantages to working an internship while still in school is that the hands-on work you do during the internship will help understand concepts that are taught in courses you take as you complete your schooling.

Determination of your career path

There are numerous routes you can go with a career in accounting. Do you want to work in audit, tax or advisory services in a public accounting firm? Do you want to work in the private industry as a Controller or CFO for a company one day? Working internships affords you the ability to work in a couple of different roles before identifying where your true passion lies.

Resume building

If you work an accounting internship during school, once you get out, having an internship on your resume will provide you a competitive advantage when searching for a company where you want to start your career.

Evaluating an employer

As you go through the recruiting process at your school, you will have the opportunity to meet folks from various firms. If you are unsure if the firm you are interviewing with has a culture that aligns with your values, an internship is a great way to “test the waters” and make sure the company you are working with is the right fit for you.

As you can see, there are some significant benefits to pursuing accounting internships. As you are evaluating your options for how you approach your accounting major, one important thing to keep in mind is how an internship fits into your schooling. Many schools provide flexibility in their course offerings to where you can take a semester off to do an internship and once the internship is over, you can pick up where you left off.  Other schools have strict rules on when you can take certain classes, which can limit your opportunities. There are even some schools that provide course credit for students who work internships. Be sure to have these discussions with your college advisors as soon as possible so that you can make the decision that best suits you.

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