How taxing is an internship

Credit: USTax help

While most of my peers were out at festivals, working in summer camps abroad or travelling around Europe, I spent my summer working in an accountancy, audit and tax firm and I loved it.

Though I was often met with faces of perplexity and curiosity as to why I would do a ‘nine-to-five job’ for the summer, the internship is one of my best assets moving forward this year.

Previously, I only knew the basics of tax, such as PAYE, PRSI and USC. Taking a deeper look into these and other taxes made me realise how diverse this sector is. I was given varying cases of income tax for clients and was tasked with completing their returns.

Many believe that internships take advantage of students by making them do menial tasks but I could not disagree more.

No two cases were the same and the differing characteristics of each engaged me. With the guidance of the department managers and the help of fellow interns, I gradually completed these returns. Putting theory into practice brings out a sense of accomplishment, and that ‘hands-on’ learning proves invaluable to future employers. I was also delighted to develop my computer skills using the standard Microsoft Excel and experience unfamiliar software, Taxpro.

Though previous returns were sometimes completed by other interns, it was certainly a researching role finding client information. Communicating with co-workers, questioning how they did things, co-operating with them and initiating your own work, undoubtedly had a positive impact on me.

Compared to learning in college, this internship launched several rewarding skills I look forward to developing.

Students cannot expect to walk into a job and get the same tasks as a full-time employee. You’re unqualified and new, so the bottom is where we all start.

The longer I worked, the more responsibility I got. Filing and scanning were the least of my worries once I saw there was progress in my role. Once you show enthusiasm, even in routine tasks, you will be acknowledged and given more opportunities.

With that, it was slightly daunting entering a new professional environment. Being surrounded by successful qualified people did startle me, but I was fortunate to be placed in a friendly workplace. Getting a job in my chosen sector early in my degree played a significant part in my choices for future placements and career plans.

For anyone considering an internship next summer, or an INTRA placement in tax, I would recommend availing of the careers service here in DCU. I have them to thank for bringing this placement to my attention.

Additionally, you’re surrounded by numerous companies in Dublin, so do your research into finding a great place to work. A medium sized firm was fitting for my first internship.

Upgrade your CV by excelling in the skills you already have. Start prepping your language, writing, sports or creative aptitudes to become specialised, as it is much easier than starting a completely new skill.

Right now is always the best time to start.

Áine Campion