As you enter the accounting recruiting season, you have the ultimate goal of earning a Big 4 accounting internship, no matter what time of the year it may come. However, some students may be wondering if it is better to intern at Deloitte, PwC, KPMG, and EY during the spring (January through March) or the summer (June through July).
On the surface, it would appear as though interning during the spring is a better option since this is during the heart of busy season for both audit and tax employees. Accountants at the Big 4 work very long hours during this time period and adding an intern to the team can be a huge help. This also helps the intern because they are thrown into the fire and can see very quickly what it is like to work full-time at a Big 4 accounting firm. Moreover, there is a lot of work that can be passed down to the intern providing them with ample opportunity to learn and impress their superiors.
But the summer is quickly becoming a great time to intern as well. Long thought of as a dead period in the accounting calendar, the summer period is becoming increasingly busy for employees. The firms are adding more and more clients that have year-ends that are different than 12/31. Because of this, year-end audits start at all times during the year including the summer time. Like the spring time, interns can be a great help to the team during these year-end audits.
Further, July is a big month for quarterly audit reviews for the Big 4’s SEC clients. These reviews take place for two to three weeks and involve extensive review of the clients financials. Once again, this is a great learning experience for interns and is a part of the job of an auditor that is often overlooked.
Lastly, the tax group is also experiencing an increase in workload during the summer as well. Because a lot of clients file extensions, some of the work that used to be done in the spring is now being pushed back to summer and the beginning of fall. For example, I helped prepare a lot of state tax returns during this time period.
Given this, if your school does not allow for you to intern during the spring time, I think the summer provides a great learning opportunity for interns. You will get to work on a variety of clients and will be assigned tasks that vary greatly.
In the end, I still believe that the best time to intern at a Big 4 accounting firm is during the spring season because this is when the firms are the busiest. You get a real sense of the hours that you need to work and you also receive some valuable work. No often will you be twiddling your thumbs. Most importantly, the longer hours will lead to more dollars in your pocket as interns get paid for overtime hours worked. Something that makes full-time employees very jealous.