How to find accounting internships
Accounting is one of the top careers for college graduates — and if you come to the industry with some accounting internship experience, you’ll already be a step ahead of your peers.
A background in accounting can help you land a job in almost any industry. After all, everyone needs to track their accounts receivable, revenue, and accounts payable. So, finding an accounting internship could be your foot in the door of your first big role.
What is an accounting internship?
While you may not be tracking the books right off the bat, an accounting internship helps to prepare you for entry-level accounting roles. You’ll start with preparing and editing reports and other essential documents. To start, you’ll be working under an accountant or an assistant accountant. They’ll assign you tasks like preparing reports, filing documents, and editing existing reports.
Every company and industry is different, but any accounting internship should allow you to learn what an accountant does day-to-day.
How do you find an accounting internship?
There are so many ways to go about searching for an internship in a specific industry. Online tools like LinkedIn, Handshake, and GlassDoor allow you to search for keywords in one location so that you can narrow the search down. Choose from things like the industry, location, and even pay.
Your first step is to set up a great profile on LinkedIn (if you haven’t already done so) and start making connections with people you know. Whether it’s a professor you’ve studied under or a friend of the family, having connections on LinkedIn can help you land an internship without spending tons of time searching the internet.
LinkedIn Profile Basics
Since you’re looking for an internship in accounting, you want to highlight any experience or education you have that would interest potential employers. Great experience to highlight on your profile for accounting includes:
A solid understanding of programming languages
- Experience collaborating and working with other people
- Analytical skills
- Attention to detail
For instance, if you’ve taken accounting classes, worked on important projects in the math department, or even held roles where you were in charge of a budget — you’ll want to highlight these things on your profile.
Lastly, ask previous professors, supervisors, or mentors to leave you positive recommendations. If a future employer can easily see that you have fans, they’re more likely to put you at the top of the list.
Reach out to your career counselor or professor
If you’re taking classes associated with an accounting degree, you probably already know someone that works in the industry. You might just not realize it! Reach out to previous professors and see if they know of any internship opportunities. Your professors are a great place to start and can be excellent references for making it through the competitive process.
You can also go to your college career counselor. Counselors at colleges work with companies nationwide to give students access to internships. They’ll know about any companies in the area that are looking for internships in specific departments.
When should you start your accounting search?
Companies have different deadlines for internships, but it’s always a good idea to apply sooner rather than later. Internships are highly competitive, especially in the accounting field, and the sooner you get your foot in the door, the more successful you’ll be.
Generally, it’s best to start applying for internships three to six months in advance. That way, you’ll come prepared with your school schedule, and they can work around your education.
If you prepare in advance for the intern search, you’re much more likely to be successful at finding one that suits your interests. Reach out to the people you know, write your resume, and put your best foot forward!