I am a French first year student, studying business and administration management. For the next academic year, I will specialise in accountancy, tax and finance and as part of this year’s course I must complete an internship.
I was lucky enough to be selected to complete an internship at Henderson Loggie Chartered Accountants. I was excited as this provided me with the opportunity to work abroad and discover the differences in business management between France and Scotland. It would also allow me to understand how accountancy was practiced in real life, beyond my course in my school and improve my knowledge in English, accountancy and finance. I had some preconceived ideas about chartered accountancy firms, but this internship changed my perspective for the better.
What I expected:
This was my first internship, and before my first day at the firm I was very nervous, I wondered how I would be welcomed, if my English would be good enough, if my tasks would be purposeful, or if I would just be making coffee for the employees. I had no idea what to expect. Finally, as soon as I arrived, Sharon, the firm’s HR assistant welcomed me and explained the intern programme for the month. I was assigned to work in the accountancy, tax, payroll, insolvency, HR and marketing departments. This programme was designed to allow me to learn about all the areas of an accountancy profession and the relationships between the different teams within the firm.
Discovering the firm:
Firstly, I was given a tour of the office and introduced to the teams I would be working with during my internship.
I was very pleasantly surprised about the working environment – everything was created for the well-being of the employees. From the lighting to the workstation ergonomics, there is even a recreational space for employees. The tour helped me to feel more comfortable and relaxed. My fears disappeared, to be replaced with excitement, eagerness, and curiosity.
The tasks that were given to me were interesting and had a clear purpose. All the employees I worked with trusted me to get on with the work allocated to me, which I really appreciated. At times, some tasks were too simple, lacking any challenge but I was never asked to do anything that I was not able to do. When I did face a challenge or didn’t understand what was asked, a staff member would always stop to help me, however this was rare as tasks were always properly explained to me and despite the language barrier, I managed to accomplish almost all my tasks.
The working atmosphere:
Staff were very open to my suggestions and were keen to get my opinions on certain tasks. Contrary to what I imagined, a lot of young people work in the firm and everyone was happy to have me working in their team. Quite often, I was asked how I was feeling, if I was enjoying the internship, how my day was, etc. The employees made me feel relaxed and valued, I really felt like part of the team.
What I learned:
I am very attracted to accountancy and finance as a career option. I did not spend as much time in the accountancy and tax departments as I would have liked which meant I spent more time in the HR and marketing departments. In class, I do not enjoy the HR and marketing aspects of my course and did not think that I would learn much from my time working in these departments, but I very quickly realised how wrong I was. From learning how to evaluate a candidate for a vacancy, the management of employee training, the marketing of recruitment campaigns and data management, everything turned out to be very useful for my studies. I also now have a much better understanding of recruitment and what is expected from graduates.
I really enjoyed the time I spent in accountancy, payroll, tax and insolvency. The most important aspect that I learned was that the tasks in these departments are not limited to analysis and calculations, staff have to be able to understand what the analysis and calculations will mean for the client’s business. Henderson Loggie work with very small micro business up to large international businesses and from one day to another, tasks can differ significantly, and this variety is the part of the job that attracts me the most.
The relevance of my internship:
It was great to have the opportunity to speak with a cross selection of employees. I was keen to learn about their experiences, their job and their everyday life in the firm and I now understand exactly what auditing is, which has never been addressed in class as yet.
I was also lucky enough to talk with an employee who had just finished his 3-year accountancy training with the firm. This was very valuable to me, beyond the theories studied in class, I wanted to know what it was like to go through the training programme and what working in an accountancy firm was like from the perspective of a trainee – to validate that accountancy was the right career for me – which it did.
This internship reinforced my passion for accountancy but moreover it allowed me to understand how accountancy firms really work in practice and what jobs employees do on a day to day basis. Thank you, Henderson Loggie, for the opportunity, I sincerely hope that any future internships run as smoothly as this one did.