Deep diving into data helps companies improve processes, prepare for tax season, or cut costs to increase profitability. The role of an accountant is crucial for all of these tasks to run smoothly.

In the business world, the finance department of a company is usually the one calling the shots and making the toughest decisions. Behind every colorful pie chart there was an accountant (or a whole team of them) crunching the numbers.

As the world becomes more connected, and as business becomes more global, going overseas for an accounting internship is not only a great way to improve your skills on the job, but is a unique opportunity to boost your credentials. For your future employers, this means you’ll be a valuable asset for the company and a gateway to doing business in foreign markets.

Corporate Accounting

If you’re not quite sure of what area of accounting you want to pursue as a career, an internship in corporate accounting allows you a broader vision of everything related to this side of the business.

Tasks can range from creating profit analysis reports and preparing budgets to getting a company ready for tax season. This is the perfect internship for future accountants who enjoy working in diverse teams and collaborating with different departments.

Tax Accounting

If you get excited about tax season but aren’t keen on spending time working on large teams, a tax accounting internship might be just what you’re looking for.

The work is very detailed-oriented and demands a high level of concentration, so working with different departments at a time would probably send you off track. In a nutshell, you aim for nothing less than flawless tax filing and are eager to show your supervisor all the money-saving techniques your clients will be amazed by.

Audit Accounting

Say the word 'audit' in a company meeting and chances are half the people sitting at the table will panic. For those in this professional field, however, audit accounting is all about planning and implementing processes that make your place of work the most compliant corporation in the world (or, well, close enough).

This is also the kind of internship that allows you to develop the proverbial thick skin. Planning and implementing new processes means change -- and that isn’t always welcomed by every department in the company with open arms. In the end, you will definitely be better at communicating with diverse teams.

What if a country you’ve never been to could benefit from your expertise or a foreign company could improve their processes based on your skills and experience? Or what if you could learn priceless skills overseas that allow you to revolutionize accounting as you thought you knew it? Here are four destinations where you can apply for an accounting internship abroad.

China

China has been experiencing tremendous economic growth in recent years and local investors are ready to do business with foreign companies. The East Asian country shifts between ally and competition within many industries in Europe and North America.

With many international companies having offices in the busiest cities in China, it shouldn’t be too hard to find an accounting internship here. Besides the cultural exchange and work experience, learning Mandarin Chinese will put you a few steps ahead of the competition. In the business world, this foreign language is increasingly valuable.

Estonia

Known as Europe’s Silicon Valley, Estonia plans to hit the magic number of 1,000 established startups by 2020. If you’re eager to test your accounting skills in a fast-paced corporate-but-cool environment, this Baltic country is calling for you.

The language barrier won’t be an issue because you won’t need to learn Estonian to work there (unless you want to) since almost all companies look for English-speaking employees.

Portugal

With a welcoming environment for startups (and great weather, food, and people), Portugal has grown as a hub for innovation and creativity in the past 5 years. This trend shows no sign of slowing down and, in fact, more and more foreign citizens are favoriting the Iberian country as an expat destination.

Deep diving into Portugal’s tax system, in particular, will help you develop skills that can either be applied in a regular corporate job or as a consultant for future expats.

England

If you want to mix a little adventurous spirit with your accounting internship, how about England? The question on everyone’s mind is what will happen to the country’s economy and businesses post-Brexit and, speculations aside, local companies are preparing for all possible scenarios.

Interning in a country that’s about to leave the EU and the impact that will or won’t have on the local economy opens the door to fresh perspectives and creative approaches to accounting.

So, you’re ready to take the world of accounting by storm and you can’t wait to start packing. But, before you take that leap, here are some tips to help you plan your trip.

How to Choose an Accounting Intern Program

If you have your mind set on a specific area of accounting, choose the best destination where you can best develop your skills, improve your resume, and guarantee faster job placement after you graduate, which can happen in the company where you choose to intern. Choosing a company you may like to work for after the internship ends is a good approach.

But you don’t always have to have it all figured out -- luckily, there are many different types of accounting internships to choose from. If you're still unsure, perhaps you can focus on a destination where you'd get the most out of that cultural exchange.

For those looking further into the future and wanting to start their careers immediately after graduation, look for intern programs that assist with job placement once the internship is over. Usually, companies prefer to groom their interns and employ them later on (if they perform well), rather than start the recruitment process from scratch.

Health & Safety

Depending on the company your working for, health insurance could be included in your contract. Your internship program provider should be able to clarify this and let you know if you need to look for private health insurance or not.

As for other health information, refer to the official websites of the Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of State to check for vaccinations you might need before traveling and other safety alerts.

Other Need to Know

Business and corporate environments change according to the culture of the country you choose as an internship destination. Once you've selected a program, reach out to the Go Overseas community for tips and advice on work culture and what to expect. It’s best to have as much information as you need beforehand rather than to jeopardize your internship over an easily-preventable cultural faux pas.

Guide Author
Photo of Sandra Henriques Gajjar
Go Overseas Writer

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