Accounting Grads Do Better With Work Experience in College

Gina Deveney
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Many colleges offer a variety of courses to help accounting grads gain the knowledge they need, but work experience can be just as invaluable for those looking to launch their accounting careers straight out of school. Accounting students may have programs available to them through their schools, and other options exist to help give students the experience they need to impress workers and perform well once they complete their degrees. Work experience is highly sought after in today's modern accounting world, and the benefits for students and companies alike cannot be understated.

Accounting professionals often gain their first experience with financial situations as examples on exams and homework problems. This theoretical experience is often enough for students to pass classes, but it may not provide the tools they need to handle real-world stress and changing situations. Work experience, through internships or outside employment arranged by schools, can give students access to more than theoretical knowledge. These programs can impress upon students the importance of their decisions as well as giving them a chance to demonstrate their mastery of the information they gain from classes.

Many businesses seek accounting majors who have work experience. Real-world experience translates into less time spent training, and students who graduate from such programs have already demonstrated the drive to succeed in a highly competitive business situation. More and more employers are looking for students who can demonstrate more than a mastery of the basic classes offered, partly due to the number of applicants they must sort through during the hiring process. Work experience stands out on an application. Companies that work with schools to create and maintain such programs gain first-look access to a network of experienced and well-educated future graduates.

Students can gain the experience required to succeed from a variety of sources. If a school does not offer work experience programs, students can still gain the insight they need from volunteer work or entrepreneurial enterprises. Volunteers can easily find work with nonprofits and other organizations that need intelligent and educated accounting majors but may lack the financial backing to recruit experienced professionals on a full-time basis. Students in these programs may work alongside one or more experienced accountants or rely on their book knowledge and access to experienced teachers for success. These resources can also prove invaluable for those who look to start their own businesses while still in college.

Employers looking for students who have real-world experience can benefit from starting or working with local schools to help ensure students gain access to internships and related programs. Students who do not have access to such programs can still gain the work experience they need through volunteering or entrepreneurial endeavors. Accounting grads are likely to find themselves with many more opportunities to work with the companies they choose and in the industries they prefer when they have real-world experience to bolster their educations.



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