Take a step forward. Your life after graduation awaits.
You’ve spent time in school in various accounting classes, but how does this knowledge apply to the working world? What type of firm do you want to be with? Where is the right fit for you as you map out the next steps in your accounting career?
An internship is one of the best tools for you to gain this experience and align your values and personality with the culture of the firm you choose. At Smith Leonard, we rely strongly on our internships to fuel our next generation of associates. As such, you are treated like a staff member and given work similar to what you would do as a first year staff. This approach provides a strong internship experience that should leave you prepared for the next steps (and better prepared for your upcoming classes), comfortable for that first day on the job after graduation, and confident that you truly know what working life at Smith Leonard would be. You are part of the Smith Leonard family, so transitioning into the working world should be easy and natural.
So what does the day to day of an internship look like?
Whether it’s a spring or summer internship (we offer both) or a tax or audit internship, you will work and learn side-by-side with experienced team members from day one; and further, you will communicate directly with clients. While you are given training in the first few days and weeks as you begin your internship experience, we feel the best way to learn is by doing.
For 10 weeks, you will be out on client engagements with a team that will range from staff to partner. You will work alongside this team to learn about each client’s business and to begin to touch multiple portions of an audit, including certain sections where you will take ownership. You will grow week to week in your knowledge and confidence, including having the ability to interact with key client leadership, including the controller, CFO, or even CEO of the organization. Of course travel will be part of this experience (including the fun restaurants and traditions you will discover in the field) although most of our clients are within a few hours radius of the Triad, so you are never too far away from home.
Our goal is that you evolve and grow throughout the 10 weeks. We help facilitate this growth by giving you different experiences, increased responsibility as you learn, and weekly feedback so you know where you excel and where you need to grow. Ultimately, we want this experience to result in a full-time offer, so we encourage our interns to make the most of their internship and take it as seriously as you would the first day on a full time job.
What does an audit internship really look like? Hear from a former intern and current team member by reading Ten Things Every Audit Intern Should Learn.
You will spend 14 weeks in a tax internship with Smith Leonard, and during those weeks, you will be exposed to a variety of returns. Unlike many other internship experiences, you will not merely be placed in a path that focuses on only one type of return. You will learn, grow, and take ownership of the cross-section of returns that we prepare in our firm. You will see corporate returns, individuals, flow-through entities, partnerships, trusts, and others. In the summer, this experience can also include not-for-profits and employee benefit plans. While travel is definitely limited compared to an audit internship, you will still have client experiences and will be asked to communicate directly with our clients to gather information or clarify questions.
We provide weekly feedback regarding your internship progress, but you also will receive constant job-specific feedback as you prepare returns. Our weekly tax meetings allow you to connect with the entire tax team and be exposed to the day to day that you will experience in a full time position with Smith Leonard. And when you return as a full time associate, you’ll jump right into working on the same clients you already know and will be able to take on new learning opportunities with ease.
But wait, there’s more…
While you certainly will grow technically with our firm during your internship, the often unspoken benefit of this time is the ability to connect with your coworkers and envision what a life would look like with our firm. Part of this process for us is socializing and getting to know each other. Whether it’s during a lunch out at our favorite local Mexican restaurant, over one of the many catered-in lunches or dinners the firm provides, while out at a client and discovering the traditions of the audit team when they visit a particular area, or by following a few of our tax folks to the hidden gems for lunch in Archdale, you will have a good time and will leave this internship knowing your coworkers well beyond the work product they produce.
So how do I choose?
If you are debating between tax and audit, we encourage you to consider the perspective of your learning style.
If you are an avid reader, like research and completing puzzles in an independent setting, or tend to want to work individually on your part of a project, you may be a better fit for tax.
If you like group work and can envision yourself sitting around a conference table, working on your piece of the puzzle, and asking questions that result in an immediate answer of how to proceed, you’re probably a better candidate for audit.
Of course, this process of discovering where you fit is different for everyone. The beauty of being an independent firm is we are able to be flexible in our approach to internships. In an ideal world, you will know which path you want to take before you start, as you will receive the most immersive, true experience of that discipline if you can focus solely on that area for the full time of your internship. But if you simply don’t know where you fit in the tax or audit world (but are confident you fit at Smith Leonard), let us know. We may be able to structure an internship experience that provides a perspective on both.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Smith Leonard and beginning the process of securing an internship, we encourage you to apply to our 360° Summer Experience.