The type of internship that will appeal to you as an accounting major will depend on the career you want after graduation. It’s vital that you focus on the areas of interest that will help you gain experience as well as act a good addition to your resume. Forbes also suggests that you learn your industry by reading trade publications.
1. Tax Preparation
Accountants who head into tax preparation exclusively will be preparing personal taxes for individuals as well as business preparation for entrepreneurs and small business owners. An intern can learn how to prepare a tax return in a real world environment working with the public. This would include preparation of both federal and state income taxes. While internships are traditionally in the summer, a tax preparation internship might need to be completed in tax season, which is prior to April each year. In some cases, the student can work over the summer to get an overall view of the business throughout the year. They might provide administrative assistance and contact clients.
2. Forensic Accounting
Accounting majors internships can happen at the office of a forensic accountant. They are often considered the investigators of the financial world. The forensic accountant will analyze financial evidence, which could include tracking and interpreting accounts for businesses and reporting their findings to legal authorities. They’re often retained by government agencies or law enforcement to track illegal payments or erroneous expenditures. An intern would see how the forensic accountant operates, help investigate and prepare reports.
A public accountant can prepare tax returns as well as audit certain areas of a client’s income through their balance sheets and statements each month. They’ll prepare financial paperwork and reports for client deadlines. Auditing is often the core of the accountant’s daily work because they are tracking ledgers and financial statements. An internship for accounting majors would include assisting with these duties on a daily basis, so they can learn from an experienced auditor.
4. Corporate Accounting
In a corporation, accountants will create budget forecasts, reconcile accounts, pay vendors and apply cash to accounts. They’ll oversee costs and pricing within the company based on reports and budgeting concerns. An accounting major who interns in a corporate setting might handle accounts payable, payroll for the company, preparation of budget reports and research pricing.
5. Independent Accountant
A self-employed accountant will have to find their own business clients instead of servicing ones already with the company. They’ll have to market themselves effectively and balance time with current clients with gaining new clients. The intern will be able to see first-hand how that marketing should happen as well as how they can provide accounting services to clients in a self-employment setting.
An accounting major can get an internship in a company that they want to work in after graduation. They’ll have to apply to it like they would a regular job, and they are competing with their classmates for a limited number of positions. It’s a great addition to any resume, so it’s important that students make every effort to find an accounting internship in the field they ultimately want to pursue.
Related Resource: 5 Careers for Graduates with an MBA in Accounting