Date posted: 02/08/2017

5 reasons why your business should host an internship

Internships offer keen students a chance to peek inside an industry and see the ins and outs of the workplace. But it’s not just students who stand to benefit. Savvy employers are finding that they get some real benefits too.

In Brief:

  • Internships allow employers to discover potential young graduate hires.
  • Interns can provide fresh, up-to-date perspectives on accounting issues.
  • Mentoring can be mutually beneficial for students and host employer staff.

Internships offer keen students a chance to peek inside an industry and see the ins and outs of the workplace. But it's not just students who stand to benefit. Savvy employers are finding interns bring plenty of benefits of their own.

Surveys have shown that approximately 40% of employers that recruited graduates did so via undergraduate programs1. In a competitive environment for talent acquisition, internships could be an invaluable resource for discovering young talent while they're still studying. Successful internships involve a structured program that sets fair expectations for the success of both intern and employer. Fair Work Australia has clear guidelines for this process. So what are some of the key benefits employers stand to gain by running an internship?

1. Testing possible recruits

One of the strongest reasons for offering an internship is the opportunity to check out a potential young graduate hire without making a potentially costly long-term commitment. Students get the opportunity to find out which lines of work suit them best and make some important industry contacts. Employers get to find out whether a student is a cultural fit.

2. Building your employer brand

There's plenty of competition for the best new graduates. Recruitment of interns can help employers understand how to appeal to new recruits. Interns are also potentially an excellent word-of-mouth marketing source to build corporate reputation among potential graduate hires.

3. Take diversity opportunities

Taking on interns can allow companies to try out a student who might have a skill set or educational background complementary to those graduates that the firm has traditionally taken on in their permanent hires.

The 2017 Deloitte Human Capital Trends report notes that diverse and inclusive teams are more innovative, engaged and creative in their work2.

The report also found that shareholders, customers and suppliers are all scrutinising the diversity of their business networks3. Taking on a multiskilled intern could potentially empower you to provide your stakeholders with a wider variety of offerings.

4. Bringing fresh perspectives

Interns can bring a fresh outlook to longstanding problems in an organisation. Recent graduates have also usually had exposure through their university courses to the latest research and have up-to-date perspectives on major accounting issues, which can bring a new angle to daily dilemmas.

The HAYS Quarterly Report for June 2016 reports that accounting professionals with technology skills are in high demand4. Young graduate interns may come to your firm fairly inexperienced beyond their tertiary-level knowledge, but as digital natives they come with a wealth of technology skills which your business can easily leverage.

5. Staff development

Good mentoring is one of the keys to a successful internship.

Running the day-to-day mentoring for an intern is a great experience for a staff member who may be ready to move to a management role but has not had much hands-on management experience. Senior staff members can then "mentor the mentor", providing their staff with a development opportunity while also giving a new intern the opportunity to work with a keen and involved manager.

Despite the clear benefits of running a workplace internship program, many employers find the task of finding the right intern for their firm a significant barrier.

The Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Achiever Program gives organisations a fee-free* opportunity to choose from a pre-screened talent pool of potential interns, as well as advice, support and more.

* Student Participants should be remunerated fairly and, as a minimum, in accordance with all laws and relevant industrial instruments. As stated in our Achiever Program Employer Guidelines.