An Intern’s Perspective: The Right Path for Public Accounting

Author: Michael Anderson
Major: WLC Business Major
Internship Company: CliftonLarsonAnderson

I took an internship at CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA) in order to gain experience in the public accounting field. Specifically in regard to public accounting, the internship process is becoming the preferred channel of hiring new employees. Since tax season (January – April 15th) is the busiest time for public accounting firms, they are always in need of additional help during this time, which is when the internships take place. During this time, the firms typically select from the pool of interns to extend full-time offers.

The internship I took was not only to gain experience in the field of public accounting, but it is the common path to seek employment with the firm.

The internship met the expectations I had prior to working at CLA. I was expecting fairly long hours with a variety of work experience, both of which I experienced while at CLA. I had both audit and tax experience, going to clients and doing fieldwork, as well as staying in the office for tax preparation. I averaged around 60-65 hours a week, which could be considered light when compared to most of my supervisors. However, I have not worked these kinds of hours before, which made them seem quite long to me.

My favorite aspect of the internship was the variety of work I experienced and the social events that I experienced with my coworkers. As mentioned earlier, I worked on several audits during my internship. During the different audits, I worked with many different clients, which kept the job fresh and interesting. On the tax side, there was not as much client interaction, but working in the office was a nice change of pace from working at clients on audits. In regard to the social activities outside of work, I participated in the Milwaukee ABL (accountant basketball league) on CLA’s team on Sunday evenings. This was a fun way to get to know some of the people I was working with outside of the office.

I would strongly recommend this internship to other accounting students. Public accounting is a great way to start an accounting career. In this field, employees are exposed to a wide variety of work, concepts, and people. Having a background in public accounting is definitely an advantage further on in an accounting career.


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