Internship Guides

Remote Accounting Internship Guide

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Taylor Tabusa.001

By Taylor Tabusa | January 12th 2020
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Industry Overview

Accountants and auditors are responsible for preparing and analyzing financial records for individuals and businesses. They help ensure tax obligations are met, administrate complex financial transactions, and look for areas of opportunity and risk. Accountants are necessary for businesses to run smoothly. 


Accountants and auditors may specialize in a specific industry. Most choose to specialize in specific aspects of accounting. They may focus on tax, audit, or some other area. Other types of accounting specialization include government, management, forensics, corporate, external auditors and internal auditors.


Public accountants may work for large public accounting firms such as the Big Four (EY, Deloitte, PwC, KPMG). Some opt to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). Publicly traded companies need a CPA to sign financial records to submit to the Securities Exchange Commission. 


There are several other types of certification accountants can obtain after meeting professional and educational requirements. 


Accountants need to have analytical and critical-thinking skills, communication skills, scrupulous attention to detail, math skills, and organizational skills. 


This article will review what remote accounting interns do, what it takes to do well, and how to go about finding a remote internship in this vertical. We’ll provide a glimpse of current postings and talk about future possibilities, including career change.

What will I be doing as a Remote Entrepreneurship Intern?

An internship is similar to a first-year or entry-level position with the firm. One of the most important things to do at the outset is to book a meeting with your boss or supervisor to clarify what you want to learn from the internship, and what the supervisor expects from you. Identifying exactly what your supervisor needs from you, and what you need from them, will help. 


Multinational Firm

Some of the world’s most extensive internship programs are run by the multinational accounting firms known as the Big Four: Ernst & Young, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and KPMG. Many smaller accounting firms as well as corporations, organizations and financial entities of all kinds hire remote accounting interns.

Your tasks will be things that senior accountants will pass on to you in order to lessen their workload. That means you have to work hard, be reliable, and ask the right questions in order to perform the tasks as efficiently as possible. Finish your work on time, and always be on the lookout for things you can do to help other teams or groups. Only ask for as much work as you can do reliably, accurately, and on time. Ask for feedback early and often.

Managers and supervisors allow for flexibility in terms of work schedule, and there is an emphasis on mental health and self-care in light of the pandemic. If your remote internship takes place during the busy winter season overtime may be requested but you can choose whether or not to work overtime and there’s no pressure to do so. 

Communication with senior accountants and teammates is as open as possible though various chat and messaging tools. Online events, training sessions and webinars allow for interaction with other teams and service lines. Remote interns may be invited to give feedback about their experience, and mentors may be available to provide career advice and help you network. 


Local Firm

Smaller public accounting firms also offer remote internship programs, so make sure to check local firms! Work includes audit engagements, meeting clients, assessing business risk and compliance, and preparing income tax returns for a variety of organizations.


Accountant Department Position

Another option is being a, remote accounting interns at a non-accountancy firm. You will also be  assisting  with preparing journal entries, account reconciliations, and accounting analysis. You could also learn systems such as SAP and Blackline and participate in the monthly and quarterly account close for the company.

A remote accounting internship can take many forms. CareerUp will help you find one that works for you. 


Is this Industry Right for Me?

Accounting and auditing requires a mix of technical skills and personal traits. Clients need someone they can trust, so accountants need to be conscientious and have a highly developed sense of ethics. If you’re the type of person to dwell on the sort of details most people ignore, that’s an excellent skill to have as an accountant. Talent in mathematics, especially as it pertains to finance, is essential.


It has been said that a great accountant has a mind for business and the heart of an entrepreneur. Communication skills are important for explaining your analyses to clients, and for collaborating with people of disparate temperaments. Organizational skills are necessary to stay on top of complex projects and meet deadlines. An interest in legal matters is helpful, since accountants may need to know the latest tax laws and make sure financial transactions are legally compliant. 


Benefits of a Remote Accounting Internship

A remote accounting internship is an important stage of your career. It’s an opportunity to connect with others in the accounting community as you develop and apply your skills. The Big Four can offer prestigious remote accounting internships, but there are great internship opportunities available at all kinds of organizations. You will learn and grow no matter where you find a role.


Many firms use internship programs to recruit talent. An offer for full-time employment may follow your remote internship if you do well. Also, it’s a chance to experience the daily reality of an accounting career. You can gain valuable insight as to how you want your career to move forward, for example by picking a specialization, or planning for certification or graduate studies. Some internship programs offer extra-curricular activities, social events and fully funded career development opportunities. 


It’s a great way to broaden your network and find a place for yourself as a professional.


How Do I get one?

At this stage, while it’s important to have strong technical skills such as Excel proficiency, the main thing is to be open-minded and curious. Even if there is some aspect of the profession you’re already attracted to, keep in mind that you’re about to be introduced to many more options. 


The basic educational requirements to apply for a remote accounting internship are best obtained through an accredited school offering undergraduate courses in accounting. You can also learn more about the field and make valuable connections through accounting clubs or other affiliations. Improving technical skills can be done through coursework or through free online educational resources and tutorials.


Cover Letter and Resume

Use your application materials to highlight your skills. For example, you can list technical skills, projects and personal interests on your resume, and provide more details in your cover letter. Try to demonstrate that you’re willing to learn, and ready to take initiative and work hard. 


Excel proficiency is perhaps the most important technological skill in accounting. Take classes or find tutorials to understand it on a conceptual level. Learn how to make the kind of spreadsheets the company you’re applying to would need. Knowing how to process data in Excel, apply keyboard shortcuts or use VBA or Power Query will save time on difficult tasks. 


Alteryx and Tableau skills are good to have for ETL (extract, transform, and load), data manipulation and data cleansing. Tableau is a great way to present data. See if your school might provide free access to the software. Knowing how to write queries in SQL can also help you perform data cleansing and manipulate and prioritize large sets of data.


Email isn’t often included in resumes as a skill, but as a remote intern, you might receive a many new messages every day. Some of them will be related to tasks that are time-sensitive, so you need to know how to prioritize. Email folders help keep things organized. Combined with a regularly updated calendar, strong email skills will improve your performance and help your team stay on track. Organizational skills in general will help you do well. 


Adobe Acrobat skills are also valuable, as most firms will have the full version in order to create PDFs of complex documents. 


Critical thinking and problem-solving skills will help you during your remote internship and in general. Use creativity, knowledge, facts and data in your approach to projects or to resolve problems. 


Finally, good communication and interpersonal skills will help as you go about interacting with a broad range of personalities.


Indicating an awareness of the above skills, or showing how you’ve incorporated them into your work, whether at school, on the job, or in extra-curricular activities, will enhance your application. 


Whether you’re applying to do a remote internship in audit, tax, or other area, come prepared for a well-informed, professional conversation. Do your research ahead of time. Try to clarify for yourself why you want to do the internship and what you hope to gain from it. Indeed compiled a list of potential entry-level accounting job interview questions that may help you prepare. You could be asked about your career goals, your approach to work, or what you like about accounting. There may be technical questions such as your preferred type of software for different tasks or how you would solve a given problem. You might feel a bit nervous, but your interviewers will likely be rooting for you. Remember that they were once in your position.


Where Do I Apply?

Here at CareerUp, we specialize in getting you the best remote internship that you can use to further your career! We can help get your application into the right hands.

Look to trusted job sites such as LinkedIn and Indeed for current remote internship postings. Your accounting club or department coordinator can direct you toward campus recruiting initiatives such as the Big Four’s. Private equity firms and investment banks often hire remote accounting interns, as do businesses in many different sectors of the economy. There are roles available in the government through student programs. There are some remote accounting internship roles in the healthcare sector. You might consider remote internship programs offered through smaller or local accounting firms.


What Happens after my Remote Accounting Internship?

After your remote accounting internship, you might have a clearer idea of what you want to do next. You’ll be in a good position to apply for entry-level jobs or even accept an offer from the company that hired you as a remote intern. Some people opt for a graduate degree, either in accounting or related fields such as information systems or business administration. 


Those with an interest in management roles might opt to become Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). To qualify to take the exam, students must first complete 150 hours of education, by combining an undergraduate accounting degree with a master’s degree. You could also combine an undergraduate degree with a master’s in accounting or MBA with a concentration in accounting. There are also five-year programs leading to a master’s in accounting. Licensing requirements for the CPA usually also include work experience.


With five years of relevant professional experience, you can take the examination to become a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). Professional experience for CISA must be in information systems auditing, control or security work. There are five domains of CISA job practice: the process of auditing information systems; governance and management of IT; information systems acquisition, development, and implementation; information systems operations and business resilience; and protection of information assets. 


You can sit for the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam after two years of work experience. You also need a bachelor’s degree or related professional certification, and active membership in the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA). The CMA exam consists of two parts: 1) Financial Planning, Performance, and Analytics, and 2) Strategic Financial Management.


You can study to become a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) if you have a bachelor’s degree or higher, hold an active Internal Auditor Practitioner designation, or possess five years of internal audit experience. Minimum work requirements depend on your level of education.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for accountants and auditors as of 2019 was $71,550. Entry-level salaries are around $40k, with upper-level salaries potentially reaching six figures.


What Happens if it Isn’t for Me?

Should you decide accounting isn’t right for you, there are many transferable skills you would be able to bring to your next endeavor. There is a wide range of professional opportunities for people with an in-depth knowledge of finance. You could find a role in business administration. Budget analysts helps public and private organizations plan their finances. You could work on behalf of the government assessing tax obligations. Or you could turn your organizational and technical skills in a new direction, such as teaching high school. Ask CareerUp for potential internships in related fields.


If you enjoy the mathematical aspect of accounting, you might be interested in science or even medicine. If running a business excites you, look into different aspects of business such as marketing or administration, or consider entrepreneurship. There are many roles in finance that might be appealing. It takes a great deal of intellectual skill to do a remote accounting internship, so even if it isn’t for you, you can go forward knowing that you’re capable of major achievements. 

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