I completed my internship with KPMG for eight weeks in the summer of 2011. The experience was invaluable and I was offered a graduate job at the end of the process which was an added bonus!
Why did you choose to do an internship?
I chose to do an internship as it is a great way to get work experience and I knew it would strengthen my graduate job applications. It was also a great opportunity to learn about what ‘audit’ entails and I hoped it would confirm my future career path of becoming an auditor. The internship would give me an insight into the day to day operations of the job.
There was also the added bonus of being paid for the internship with KPMG. For someone like me, who had always worked during the summer break between university years, this was the perfect opportunity to earn money but also gain experience in an area I hoped to get a graduate job in.
The university had encouraged us to do an internship. There were many KPMG representatives and flyers on campus explaining the internship process and the lecturers encouraged us to look for internships to increase our graduate job prospects.
How did it tie in with your overall career plans?
As I studied accountancy and finance at university, my aim was to use this degree in a relevant career. Once I had decided that auditing may be the career for me, an internship seemed like the perfect opportunity to find out more about the job and help make a final decision on whether or not this was the job for me.
The great thing about the internship with KPMG is the opportunity to be offered a graduate job at the end of your placement. At the end of my placement I had my final partner interview in which I was required to prepare and perform a presentation on a company of my choice. Once this was over, the partner asked me a few short questions and then I was offered my job.
What was the application process like – do you have any advice?
The application process is long and can seem quite daunting to start with, but each stage of the process can be broken down into smaller parts and overall it is not as bad as it seems. Make sure you are enthusiastic at all stages and show your interest in the company’s values, which can be found on the website.
What attracted you to your role?
I was attracted to audit because of the variety of the job. You will work on many different engagements and clients and the experiences
will be invaluable.
I was attracted to an internship in Aberdeen in particular because of the booming oil industry. It is a great city to work in as there are many opportunities.
What were your main duties?
My duties varied depending on whether I was in the office or out on a client site. During my internship I spent about three out of the eight weeks in the office and the remaining five at the client sites. This gave me a good idea as to how much time is spent in the office compared to out with clients.
Duties in the office included casting and checking financial statements, helping with graduate recruitment activities, expenses, and general admin. We also were asked to complete iXBRL accounts checking which involves a computer based tagging system where accounts are checked in great detail using a standard pro-forma.
The duties that I was asked to carry out at client sites varied depending on which job I was working on. You are given tasks by your ‘in-charge’ when you go out to the client site.
What were the most important things you learnt from the internship?
The most important lesson I learnt was to always ask questions. You are not expected to know everything from day one and although you may feel like you are irritating the in-charge by asking them question after question, it is the only way to learn how to carry the job out and they are expecting you to ask questions!
Do you have any advice for someone seeking any internship?
Be confident in your interview. When asked questions about past achievements or experiences, you should give them detailed explanations about how this showed your best qualities. They are looking for you to show them exactly why they should hire you. You need to give yourself the best chance by showing them the skills you have.
What skills did you acquire or improve during your internship?
Communication skills are ultimately required as part of the application process, however I feel these were improved by the internship. You are actively encouraged to speak to clients and start to build relationships with the people who you may be working with again in the future.
The jobs I carried out when in the office and out at the client sites helped me develop the basic skills for auditing. These simple skills made a significant difference when it came to me starting my graduate job as I did not have to begin from scratch, unlike some of the other graduates.