1. Register your interest in one of Springpod’s Virtual Work Experience Programmes
At Springpod we’ve got the keys to the kingdom when it comes to online accounting work experience, exploring a career online is a great low-risk way of seeing if it’s right for you. In our Finance and Accounting programme, we cover it all with modules dedicated the ins and outs of accountancy (including the UK tax system, ethical obligations and what a day in the life of an accountant looks like), banking (we cover grad schemes!), insurance (including what the hell broking and underwriting is!) and the wider financial industry. You’ll get to take part in industry activities and quizzes, and get to question the professionals in live webinars. So what are you waiting for? Apply now!
2. Speak to your school or college
This may seem so obvious, that you don’t actually think to do it. Speaking to the people already in your network is an easy way to get started on your work experience journey. Careers Advisors and Teachers spend their careers developing lists of contacts who care about helping young people access opportunities, so they likely have some contacts that could help you get the work experience you’ve been dreaming of, ask them today!
3. Finance departments
Ok so you might not have a financial firm on your doorstep, who does? But chances are you know quite a few people that work in offices! Most if not all offices will have a dedicated finance function or financial department, and they are a great place to start when it comes to accounting work experience. After all, accountancy is the practice of recording, classifying and reporting on business financial transactions. It provides feedback to management regarding financial results and the financial status of an organisation. Ask your friends and family if their office has the capacity to offer you some work experience. We’ve even developed a template that you can use to get your name (and interest) out there!
4. Speak to a professional
There are roughly 6 different types of accounting; Public, Private, Fiduciary, Governmental, Forensic and Investment. This means that there are loads of different avenues to gain meaningful work experience and people to speak to who know their stuff! We’ve said it before (and we’ll say it again!) you can learn a lot from simply having a conversation with someone who works in the industry you want to be in. Speaking to a professional can help contextualise things you’ve learnt in your studies so far and give you a well-rounded view of what the profession really looks like. They might even know someone that could offer you work experience, it's worth checking!
To get the most out of your conversation, make a list of questions you want the answers to beforehand and reflect on what you’ve learnt afterwards!
5. Volunteer work
When you think of a career in finance, you might think of living the highlife in the city, but accounting and providing financial advice isn’t just about protecting the money of the already well-off. There are loads of charities that offer financial/accountancy advice to those who are struggling to keep everything in order, so why not use your knowledge for the good? By volunteering you’ll pick up a whole load of skills like communicating with clients from a wide range of backgrounds, you’ll master the ability to explain complex concepts clearly and you’ll learn a load about organising money. Look into volunteering at charities like the Money Advice Trust, the Money Charity and the National Debtline - you’ll likely learn some tips and tricks that make you even better at handling your own financial affairs too!
6. Use LinkedIn
In this article we’ve floated the idea of getting in touch with qualified accountants but how do you do that? LinkedIn is the answer! Use it to reach out to finance professionals, a good tip is to look at their career history to see if they list any internships or work experience they did when they were getting started, it’s an easy (and smart) way to explore opportunities relevant to you! Another big tick for LinkedIn is that you can join industry groups to stay up to date with the latest industry news.
LinkedIn has loads of global financial and accounting firms that put a lot of effort into their LinkedIn presence - with teams of technical writers dedicated to providing updates and thought-leadership articles; reading a couple of these a week will improve your understanding of how the sector really works, if you can then find ways to evidence this new understanding in your cover letters or job applications you’re definitely going to stand out.
7. Join talent pools
You might be thinking ‘what on earth is a talent pool?’. A talent pool is a list of engaged candidates who have showed the desire to work for a company in the future. Once you’ve spent some time on LinkedIn, take some time to shortlist some companies you’d like to work for then go one step further and see if they have a talent pool or invite aspiring accountants to open days - these steps will help you start building your professional network and you’ll likely be one of the first in the know when new opportunities arise!
8. Saving the best for last - try to secure a summer internship
You might be thinking ‘I’m reading this article because I’m struggling to get an internship?’ we know that securing a summer internship is a difficult task. That’s why we want to help, we’ve put together a template for you to start sending to finance and accountancy firms. Take some time to personalise it by adding personal experience and then get sending - what have you got to lose?Remember to keep trying, perseverance and resilience are your best friends when it comes to applying for internships and jobs. If you don’t get the results you wanted, get up and try again.