- Unsure of which type of accounting is for you? An internship can help you sample different areas of business and industry.
- An internship can prepare you for the workplace with hands-on experience and “on-the-job” skills.
- Use your internship to gain valuable careers advice and make important professional connections.
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The transition from school to work is a vital one, but your university years can do more than just deliver that crucial professional qualification.
It's also a great time to get the jump on your future career progression by getting some all-important work experience.
Here's how signing up for an internship could help you to kick-start your career:
Choosing a specialty
Accounting is a vast field. Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) represents 131,673 financial professionals working in a diverse range of roles, from Big 4, Mid-tier Accounting Firms, Small Accounting Practices, Corporate Organisations, Government and Not-for-profit companies. These members deliver professional services in taxation, audit and assurance, financial and business services, insolvency, corporate finance, forensic accounting, management consulting and many other areas of specialisation.
How will you ever know what you like doing - until you give it a shot?
An intern placement can give budding accountants a "tasting plate" of a few different areas of their future profession, potentially saving them time in future moving between jobs until they find one that's the right fit.
You may even be able to use the experience to help inform your selection of electives in your final years of study.
How many times have you heard successful people admit, "It's not what you know - it's who you know"? Industry connections can be a great way to find out about potential job openings.
An intern placement could give you the opportunity to meet a range of people within the firm, helping to broaden your professional network. You may also be assigned a mentor who could give you an "in" to meet plenty of people in the industry.
Learning critical skills
Getting top marks in your university degree is a real bonus - but, as plenty of new graduates quickly find out, uni assignments don't necessarily prepare you for life in the workplace.
The best way to find out what you need to know to prepare for the workplace is, well, to work there. An intern placement is a great way to get some real insights into what a future employer might expect from you.
It could also provide you with the opportunity to ask all the silly questions you want - after all, that's what you're expected to do. Somehow it seems far less embarrassing to admit you don't know something as a student - "we haven't done that yet!" - than as a new graduate who has completed their professional education.
During an intern placement you may get the benefit of an allocated mentor. You may also be assigned real work.
Interns often find that, as they master one area of work, they are assigned more in-depth projects that develop their skills further.
Having tangible hands-on experience is not only great to trot out at future job interviews - it could even be useful fodder for future uni assignments.
Invaluable career advice
Your intern mentor or supervisor will be able to observe you in the workplace, giving you the opportunity to show your capabilities, interests and skills. Don't be afraid to ask for some career advice - they could be the best people you'll ever find to share tailored, industry-relevant tips with you on where you should look to help find future opportunities.
How to best make full use of an internship
You've gotten that internship - congrats! But how do you make it so that you leave a lasting impression?