So, the benefits of a summer accounting internship convinced you take action, you utilized helpful resources to find an accounting internship, and now that you have one, you may be wondering: what can I do to prepare? No matter how long your internship will be or how much it will pay, you should brace yourself for it like a new job. Therefore, in the months, weeks, or days before your accounting internship starts, you should take the following steps to ensure that you’re ready to make the most of it.
How to Prepare for an Accounting Internship
- Figure out the logistics
The key to maximizing your accounting internship experience is preparation, so address the details as soon as possible. You’ll be off to a better start and make a better impression if you can minimize surprises and setbacks during the first few days of your internship. Before you begin, find out who you’ll be working with and how to contact them. Then, speak to these individuals about what you will be doing during your first day or week on the job. Make preliminary efforts to be able to handle these responsibilities, such as mastering Microsoft Office, and seek help and clarification as needed from your internship provider.
- Get to know the company and industry
Hopefully, you knew a little bit about the company before you landed the internship. Now that you will be working there, you should get as familiar as you can with its history, its products and services, its leadership, its departments, its competitors, etc. To learn more about the industry, read such relevant trade publications as The Journal of Accountancy and Strategic Finance. Learn the names of major players in the industry, developments in applicable technology, and best practices for interacting with management and customers.
- Plan your priorities
This internship could be a very important stepping stone in your path to a prosperous career, so determine what you want to get out of it and how you will accomplish those things. List your goals and intentions for the experience, then strategize an action plan to guarantee that you’ll meet those goals. This plan should include indications that your goals have or have not been met and points of contact within the company who can help initiate any necessary changes for getting you on the fast track to success.
- Practice office lingo and etiquette
Talking the way you do with your friends and fellow students probably won’t help you sound very professional. You want to avoid sounding like a tweet or text, so try trading your hashtags and abbreviations for more polite and universally understandable phrases. Also, brush up on the accounting and industry terms you learned in college and in your research and start putting those into play. Finally, break any bad classroom habits before your internship begins so you can successfully sit through a meeting. Don’t eat food loudly; don’t chew gum; silence your cell; and use utensils at meals. These and other best real-world behaviors can prevent you from being a nuisance at the office.
- Do a test drive of your first day
How will you get to your internship? What will you wear? What will you need to bring? Get the answers to these questions squared away before the morning of. See to it that you are prepared for paperwork by bringing your driver’s license, Social Security card, and any other documents you will need, especially if you’ll be receiving college credit. Discover what the dress code is and how you will fulfill it. If necessary, go shopping so you can put together a look that means business. Make housing and transportation arrangements that will last for the duration of your internship, and practice your morning commute so that you’ll arrive on time your first day.
How to Impress at Your Accounting Internship
An intern who demonstrates forethought and initiative is sure to impress, and one remarkable move you could make before your internship begins is prepping your plan to pass the CPA Exam. If you’re already aware of the steps you’ll need to take to sit for the exam, your internship provider will see that you are motivated to be the best accountant you can be. This free CPA Exam guide details the process of discovering, preparing for, and passing the exam, so access it today!