6 Things Every Audit Intern Should Know
You’ve been accepted as an intern at a Big Four firm. . . Now what?
Below are six simple tips, tricks, hacks, and mandates to follow if you want that offer letter at the end of this term.
1. Attitude is Everything
Simply, don’t be an ASSHOLE. This internship doubles as your last interview. Sure, these firms are paying you low and billing you out high, but all-in-all Managers, Senior Managers, and Partners are just deciding if they like you as a person. Be excited. Be eager to learn. Most importantly, stay positive. If you cannot handle “busy season” as an intern – maybe this career is not for you.
2. Dress Appropriately
I plan on dedicating an entire post to this topic soon to expand further, but here are the basics:
- Casual – nice jeans (no holes). Closed toed, nice shoes (no sandals/flip flops/sneakers). Nice blouse for women. Collar shirt for men.
- Business Casual – Basically business professional without the jacket.
- Business Professional – Suit. For women, it’s fine to wear a dress with a blazer over.
This should go without saying, but I’ve seen this ruin peoples chances too many times to not mention this. I am going to write a separate post on this soon, but basically there are 3 dress code options in the business world: (1) casual, (2) business casual, and (3) business professional. Make sure you understand your firm and client dress code, and from there research the options. I’ve seen an intern legitimately show up to work in club attire – do not let that be you!
3. Take Notes
Takes notes. Don’t be the waiter at the restaurant who tries to remember everything and inevitably screws up. The senior will get frustrated if they have to repeat things over and over to you – this can easily be prevented by writing things down. Plus, taking notes shows that you are motivated. I recommend using OneNote – it’s like a digital notebook, so you can have different pages for each client. A couple of great features for OneNote are (1) you can link any to do lists you make to Outlook and your work phone and (2) if you take notes during a specific meeting, you can link the notes to that calendar invite so that it’s easy to find later.
4. Ask What You Can Do To Help
How busy you are will depend on if you are a winter intern or a summer intern. Winter internships are during busy season, so you’ll most likely be very busy and probably work overtime (but hey, at least you get that time and a half overtime pay as an intern!). Summer interns are generally not too busy. I interned in the summer and there was just not much for me to work on. If you are slow, make sure you ping a few people and ask what you can do to help. Even if they say no, offering goes a long way.
5. Ask Questions
No one expects you to know anything going into your internship! As your senior is giving instructions, don’t be afraid to ask questions if you have any. Once you are working through the workpaper, give it your best shot to complete but also make a list of any questions you come up with as you are completing it. Then you can go to your senior with any follow up questions.
6. Accept The Mundane Tasks
Unfortunately, as an intern you are the low man on the totem pole. You will likely be the one responsible for going on coffee runs and picking up/ordering dinner for the team. I secretly liked it since it was some time to escape the office. Also, I need to stress the importance of getting your teams orders right. There is nothing more awkward than forgetting someone’s order or getting it wrong! A Senior Manager once told me that he rated interns based on an interns ability to get food orders correct. He called it “attention to detail”. Although I really don’t agree with this person, it shows that some people do think that way. Also – remember to get forks/napkins/straws/etc.
These are the most important things to know before starting your internship. If you follow all of these steps, you can almost guarantee a full-time offer. Good luck!!
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