Why You Should do a Pre-CPA Internship Before Taking the Exam

To put it simply, the best reason to intern before anyone decides to take on the monumental task of studying for and taking the CPA exam is to see if accounting (and in particular auditing) is something that you want to do as a career.  While for many people auditing is just a means to an end, it still requires years of hard work and sacrifice to achieve that end.  And while we hear from recruiters and our undergrad teachers constantly what the “working world” is going to entail, we all have no idea until we experience it for ourselves.   Therefore, spending a summer in the world of auditing is the LEAST you can do to prepare yourself for the first of many difficult career choices you will have to make moving forward.


Intangible Benefits of a CPA Internship

Whether you are using the internship as stated above, or have already determined that a CPA life is the life for you, an internship will offer you an ocean of resources otherwise unavailable to you.  Primarily, it will surround you with people who have already gone through what you are currently speculating.  While it may be true that they soften the reality for fear of scaring their most promising recruits away, they will almost always paint a better picture of what you can expect over the next ±1 year of your life.  Furthermore, a company has databases full of free internal documents that would otherwise cost you money that your college budget would most likely not allow.


And more tangible benefits

If those two reasons are not enough to convince you to start applying right now for internships, slightly more tangible benefits include:

  1. Using the credit hours from your internship to count towards your experience requirement (a requirement that everyone will need to fulfill if and when they start working toward the CPA)
  2. After interning and signing up to work there full time, many firms will pay for your choice of study program materials (which can be very expensive)

There are benefits that exceed those listed above extending past the preparatory aspects used in the field of accounting.  We all need work experience to engage ourselves in what it means to have a real job and to decide what we want to do, and often just as importantly what we do NOT want to do.  At the end of the day, the question becomes why would you not intern before taking the CPA?


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