5 Ways to Gain Practical Accounting Experience as a Student

Five Real World, Totally Doable Ways To Get Accounting Experience During College

  • Volunteer for Accounting Firms
  • Reach Out to Temporary Hiring Agencies
  • Find Entry-Level Jobs That Carry Out Basic Accounting Functions
  • Attend and Actively Participate in Career Fairs
  • Join Professional Groups and Actively Attend Meetings

According to the United States Burea of Labor Statistics, there are currently an estimated 1.2 million accountants and auditors – in principal, “backwards” accountants that verify other accounts’ assertions – across the nation.

Accounting is an attractive career to many because it has a high potential for promotion – in public accountancy, one can net six figures in less than a decade spent with one employer. Bookkeepers and accountants can find work virtually anywhere, as every person and business is required to pay taxes they earn income on. Also, as an accountant with certifications, degrees, and work experience, you’re likely to have the upper hand in the event your employer downsizes.

Getting work hours as a college student, unfortunately, is difficult for many. Here are five ways you can find valuable knowledge as an accountant, perform accountancy functions, or be trusted with finances – something accountancy firms look for.

Resource: Top 10 Online Accounting Degree Programs

Volunteer for Accounting Firms

While not all industries require entrants to have participation in accountancy functions prior to securing employment – including the field of accountancy – being able to tag real-world experience as an accountant will help beat out other applicants for the same position, or at least get your foot in the door. Volunteer to help accounting firms, especially during the busy season – January through mid-April – in which accountants are responsible for loads of tax returns.

Consider shadowing accountants, even if you won’t do anything besides observe them. You can find volunteering and shadowing experiences by simply reaching out to accountancy firms.

Reach Out to Temporary Hiring Agencies

Thanks to tax returns, both business and personal, being able to be filed starting no earlier than January and no later than mid-April, the field of accountancy inherently has a busy season. While this means there is also downtime throughout the year, it’s easier to find work through temporary hiring agencies – commonly referred to as “temp” agencies – from January through mid-April. As temp agencies only hire temporarily, it’s virtually a guarantee that you won’t be able to secure long-term tenure as an employee in any bookkeeping functions. However, securing time working in an accountants’ capacity for money will definitely pad your resume.

Find Entry-Level Jobs That Carry Out Basic Accountancy Functions

Although many accountants are able to command lofty, respectable salaries, it’s not always possible to find top-notch jobs as a student, especially those who haven’t worked in the industry yet. As such, search for businesses, firms, agencies, and other entities that might need help keeping books, paying bills, sorting payments, and more.

Even if you don’t feel that you add much value or take home any meaningful understanding of the trade, having worked – for money, especially – will demonstrate to employers that you understand what the industry asks of employees, you are more familiar with job responsibilities, and leaps and bounds more.

Attend and Actively Participate in Career Fairs

Career fairs are a great way to connect with employers, civic employees, and members of entities that might prove advantageous to your search for employment in the field of accountancy. Even better, it’s possible to attend career fairs of organizations that you aren’t enrolled in. As such, attending various schools and local job fairs independent of colleges will undoubtedly result in you spreading your brand across more employers than just attending one career fair, increasing your chances of finding employment.

Equally important as attending career fairs and other job-related events is actually participating them. Dress professionally, and consider printing resumes to provide to employers.

Join Professional Groups and Actively Attend Meetings

Joining professional groups at your university, college, or other nearby academic organization will demonstrate to future employers that you’re serious about being a professional, and are likely to take on more responsibilities than other employees who weren’t in such organizations in college. Being in these organizations can help add volunteering hours to your resume, as they are often minded civically and advertise themselves as putting work back into local communities. Plus, professional college-level organizations are cheap to subscribe to.

Simply paying the annual fee, however, isn’t enough for employers – be involved in meetings and attend on a regular basis.

Not having family members in the field of accountancy, any professional connections, or other steps ahead of others early in life spells “disadvantage” in no way – if you work hard enough. Reach out to as many hiring agencies, accountants, and businesses to see if you can find experience. Also, get with teachers and instructors to see if they can help.