By Denise Woods, Audit Director - Employee Benefit Plans
Having worked with a lot of accounting interns over the years has given me insight into the do’s and don’ts that can determine a successful internship. In this article, I will share some tips to keep in mind as you embark on your internship journey.
So, you’ve landed your first accounting internship. It’s important to be prepared and do your homework prior to the actual start date. Some things are obvious, like checking out the company website. However, there are less apparent things that you can do in advance, which include:
Be on time the first day and every day. Punctuality may not necessarily be applauded, but tardiness will always bring bad press. Now that you have arrived, take the time to say hello to people you have previously met. Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to others in the office, too. Even if they don’t know you, it will prompt them to ask, “Who was that?” It is never too soon to start building your network, making friends and keeping an eye out for the ideal mentor.
Remember that attitude is everything. Being pleasant, helpful, flexible, and genuine will go a long way.
Be brave and contribute to the conversation. Show your technical knowledge and interests. Remember to take moments to listen and learn from others.
More specifically, pay attention to the company culture (every culture is different). For example, take the time to initiate conversation while getting your coffee, say hello to people as you walk over to the printer or bring that extra muffin you baked this morning to your office mate.
Asking questions is an essential part of the learning process, but “what” and “how” you ask says a lot about you. There is actually an art to asking questions. Pause for a minute to make sure you have organized your thoughts, including what steps you have taken to get to this point, and you might offer a possible solution. Be prepared to listen, write down answers and learn from what you hear. This goes a long way in making a good impression, and you want to put your best foot forward!
Here are some additional tips to consider:
Accounting internships are key to helping you learn the ropes and experience the firm’s culture. Following these etiquette suggestions will help you get the most out of the experience. I wish all accounting interns good luck!