If you are a senior bookkeeper at a finance firm, then you might eventually confront the prospect of providing and facilitating an accounting internship for a young practitioner to learn from. This kind of placement is designed to give recent graduates and students the chance to apply their theoretical expertise in a practical setting so that they can have a well-rounded experience that prepared them for their first full-time job.
However, creating and executing good accounting internships is not as simply as supervising a junior employee and paying them peanuts. If you want to do the bare legal minimum then you might get some admin work done for you for free, but is that kind of placement really worthwhile for your company just so you can pass off a few spreadsheets to a kid and disillusion them about the industry they were interested in?
You should think about what you would have wanted from an accounting internship and try to provide that for them. The following will look at some tips you can follow to make sure you provide a good placement.
Preparing the next generation
You want to give the applicant a genuine hands-on learning experience so that they can be prepared to take on the junior roles that you have moved on from in your career. The accounting internship that you design needs to teach and reinforce employable skills in the applicant so that they can go out and find full-time employment in the industry they have spent so long studying about.
If you care about your job and your industry, then you should want to see the next generation of bookkeepers succeed so that the industry is in good hands when you and your colleagues retire. When lots of firms collectively share this attitude, it creates a healthy future industry.
Grooming a new employee
One thing you can do with an accounting internship is use it as a means of training up a new employee without the same level of risk. The placement will allow you to put them in the role and through the initial training without paying them the same as a full-time employee (or at all).
This will allow you to groom them into the perfect entry-level employee for your business and they will appreciate having a guaranteed role after the placement is over. Increasingly, people are going on accounting internships in order to boost their CV, so they have a better chance in the job market.
Public relations benefit
Of course, helping out the next generation of bookkeepers by offering high-quality accounting internships is going to have a positive public relations boost for your firm. This is because people appreciate a business that is forward thinking and (appears) to not only care about profit but about the next generation’s success.
Being a firm that has the free time and resources to take on vocational workers shows stakeholders that you are doing well and not struggling. It gives your firm positive publicity because people will associate your brand with helping young people get their first job.
As you can see, there’s plenty to think about if you’re trying to design a worthwhile accounting internship that will provide real value to a young practitioner and peak their interest in the industry rather than diminish it.