In the accounting world, spring internships are typically what you hear about the most. However, I did my internship in the summer of my junior year of college and found it to be very advantageous for several reasons. In this blog post, I will share that less-traveled path with you as an alternative approach.
My Summer Accounting Internship Experience
Weinstein Spira was offering a rotational internship program, including both tax and audit, and I applied since I was not completely sure which area would suit me best. Given my class schedule, a summer internship fit best, but I was a bit concerned because it was not busy season, and I was worried I would not benefit as much. It turned out the exact opposite was true!
I experienced the following benefits as a summer accounting intern at Weinstein Spira:
- A slower paced, more relaxed atmosphere in which mentors were easy to work with and willing to spend time, answer questions, etc.
- The opportunity to work on employee benefit plan audits, something that is not taught in accounting classrooms (and not available to spring interns)
- Exposure to other aspects of tax, including extensions, prep work for busy season, etc.
- Lots of hands-on experience with the same accounting tasks as regular staff, with one-on-one instruction
- Application of taught material from college accounting classes
- A chance to get to know many people at the firm, as their doors were open
- More bandwidth to network and build relationships with supervisors and peers
- A good picture of the culture and work environment, i.e., what the firm stands for, without the stress of deadlines
On the flip side, because summer is slower paced, people had more availability to get to know me on a personal level, show me the ropes and welcome me with open arms. As an intern, the work I completed was minuscule among many other factors. Since you are not expected to know everything, personal values and qualities really matter like work ethic, willingness to learn, curiosity/asking questions, etc. It was against that backdrop that I received a full-time offer to work at the firm upon graduation. What a relief it was, going back to finish my senior year with a job already lined up!
Reflections on My Summer Accounting Internship
After the summer accounting internship, I walked away with more confidence and knowledge about what I wanted my career to look like. I had found a place where I would love to work, where people care about your ideas and really push for professional development. I could honestly say before working at Weinstein Spira full-time that it was a good fit for me based on the internship experience and the fact that they were willing to invest in me and my professional growth. It was more about the “way” they taught me, rather than what was being taught that made the biggest impression on me. Looking back, I have never regretted the experience and lessons I gained from doing a summer accounting internship.
It is no big secret that accounting internships are the foundation of a successful career, even summer internships. In my case, it was a clear advantage for both parties to really get acquainted and see if we were a good fit for each other. Additionally, it gave me a foot in the door because real connections were made.
I highly recommend scouting for an internship by attending on-campus career fairs, which is where I first heard about Weinstein Spira. When I delved into their internship program, employee benefits, and family culture with work-life balance, I knew where I wanted to focus my efforts. You may be advised to avoid summer accounting internships, but if it is at Weinstein Spira, then you have nothing to worry about.