An internship in an accountancy firm
The scope of working in the accountancy industry is truly global, yet the early years can be challenging as you seek to balance working life with passing your professional exams. That’s why an internship with an accountancy firm before you graduate can give you a worthwhile perspective on what you can expect.
Name: Thomas Lawlor
Job: Accounting intern
Employer: JPA Brenson Lawlor
Degree DCU, BA in Global Business
As part of my degree programme, I have to complete a 4-month work placement in my second year. The placement is known as ‘INTRA’ (Integrated Training) and a requirement of this programme is that I find a job in an area that is relevant to my course. As I am studying Global Business, and as I was always interested in pursuing a career in the areas of accounting and finance, I became interested in this internship with Brenson Lawlor.
The placement was advertised on the DCU INTRA portal page, which is how I applied for and ultimately got this internship. I believe a good internship is indispensable for your CV. Nowadays it goes without saying that employers seek out people who have relevant work experience for the job to which they’re applying. In my case, I think that having completed this internship with Brenson Lawlor, I have certainly become more acquainted with working in a professional environment, as I had never previously worked in an office. My daily role involves working on the job to which I have been assigned in any particular week. This could entail preparing accounts for a client or conducting an audit of a client, for example. Sometimes an audit senior would be assigned to the same job as me, whilst other times I would be working on the job on my own, in which case my co-workers would be happy to lend a hand if I was stuck on any particular task.
This job was a challenge for me right from the start, as I had no previous experience of this kind of work and it was very different to what I had been used to in college (in terms of the accounting modules I had). The main thing I learned from is that, in the workplace, nothing is going to be handed to you on a silver platter and you have to work particularly hard when working in an area that you have no previous experience in.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced so far was going out on audit for a number of weeks. This involved going out to the client’s premises and auditing a number of entities within the company. This job was tough at first, having only done accounts prep until then, but I soon got the hang of what was required for an audit job and I was glad to be able to experience that kind of work. I think internships are great for students who may not be 100% sure what area they wish to pursue a career in. For example, I always had an interest in accounting at school and in college, but I was not sure if a career in this profession would suit me or if I would enjoy it. Thus I wanted to do my internship in an accounting practice.
Moreover, as I have said, I believe internships are important for students who haven’t worked in a professional environment before. Prior to starting at Brenson Lawlor I wasn’t sure what to expect in relation to what it’s like working in an office. However, now I am more acquainted with the ins and outs of office work, which will give me more confidence for going into a fulltime job after college.
After I graduate I hope to slowly work my way up the hierarchy in whatever area of business I end up in, whether it be accounting or indeed elsewhere. It will obviously take me a couple of years before I fully find my feet but I feel that once I’m settled I will strive to climb the rungs of the corporate ladder. If I do end up going down the accounting route, I will have a number of professional exams to sit before I’m fully qualified. Having spoken to my colleagues in Brenson Lawlor I have some idea of what to expect in relation to these exams and I would be prepared for the commitment that is required in order to succeed.