The webpage finished loading, and the words across the screen read “Congratulations! You’ve accepted the internship offer.”
Soon after you’re texting family members and updating social media news feeds to tell everyone of the good news. The excitement doesn’t last long though as fear about the unknown takes over. Thoughts and questions such as “I don’t know what I’m doing,” “This accounting stuff is confusing,” and “What will I be working on?” may consume your mind.
Change can be discomforting but it may lead to a higher level of self-confidence. What is even more important to know is that we may learn the most when we make mistakes. In my opinion, most companies don’t expect “perfect” interns. However, they do have a level of standard that is considered acceptable.
Below you’ll find some tips I believe every accounting intern should know. Hopefully by equipping yourself with these tips, embracing the discomfort of change, and accepting that mistakes make us stronger you can turn the internship into a full-time job.
Tip #1: Have a “Make their job easier” mindset
Most accounting professionals manage heavy workloads. They’re almost always strapped for time. You want to try your best to complete the assigned work without creating additional work. Do this and your team will rave about you throughout the entire internship.
Tip #2: Ask selective questions with failed solutions
Asking selective questions can show your interest in the work. However, if you want to impress your team even more, you can try throwing in this line “Hey, I’m having issues with problem X and so far I’ve tried solutions A, B, and C. Please for some guidance if you have some time.” Doing this saves the team member from retrying failed solutions and shows that you actively tried to solve the problem on your own.
Tip #3: Respect boundaries of team members
When approaching members of your team, it’s probably better to send an instant message (IM) first. You have no idea what that person can be working on in the moment. Walking over to their work space can often break their concentration. Sending an IM allows them to respond on their own time. Perhaps a simple reply could fix the problem.
Tip #4: Ask for a time frame on each project
Every project you work on probably has a time frame when it must get completed. Asking how long should the work take sets up a clear expectation, and it’s your job to try and meet or exceed that expectation. If you get stuck on the project and you’re getting closer to the deadline, it’s up to you to communicate with the team.
Tip #5: Seeking and accepting constructive feedback
Seeking and accepting constructive feedback after every project is very important. It allows you to make changes during the internship. You should actively ask team members how you’re doing or else all that feedback will be relayed to you at end of the internship. By then, it would be too late to adapt if needed.
Tip #6: Before leaving ask if there is anything you can help with
Before you leave work, it is always a nice courtesy to ask members of your team if they need help with anything. Helping a team member with a last-minute project can make all the difference when the team deliberates whether to extend you a full-time offer.
Tip #7: Do not mess up the team’s lunch order
Your team may ask you to order lunch. Writing it down on a piece of paper can lead to mistakes. My way of doing it was to email the menu to the team and have them reply with their order. Afterwards, I included it in a word document with their names. Then, I would timely call and make the order. It may also help if you can get the restaurant to label each order by name. If you do this right, your team will love you. I am not saying messing up will cost you a job but understand that this meal is very important to the team.
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