Who was your internship with?
My internship was with Drummond Laurie Chartered Accountants, an independent firm of chartered accountants, offering accountancy, taxation and general business advice, based in Grangemouth and Perth.
How did you find out about the internship?
I found out about my internship when I met representatives from Drummond Laurie at a careers fair held by the Career Development Centre. I then approached them independently about internship vacancies after this. I was offered a three-month contract for the following summer. I became aware of The Stirling Internship Programme when Drummond Laurie joined the scheme at a later date due to its position as an SME in the local community.
What do you see as the benefits of an internship with a smaller organisation?
I feel that at a smaller organisation, there is a much more personal touch when it comes to working with colleagues and most of all when working with clients. At Drummond Laurie, there was a strong emphasis on maintaining good client relationships. This was evident in the company’s strong community presence in the local area through their charity and volunteering efforts. At an SME, I think there is a wider range of variety in work; from the types of jobs you are exposed to as an intern, to the different types of clients who visit the office on a daily basis. Many of my colleagues came from a wide range of professional backgrounds and were able to take the experience they had gained at larger organisations and bring that to a smaller firm, of which we as students were able to benefit from as well.
How do you think the internship has helped towards planning your future career?
Going into the internship, I knew this would be the experience that would either secure my ambition to become an accountant or make me change paths completely - thankfully it was the former! I feel privileged to have been able to work with such a friendly team who have provided such a great introduction to the industry. The internship has encouraged me to work for an SME after university as it feels like the right size of company for me!
What did you enjoy most about the internship?
I particularly enjoyed being able to work through client’s work from beginning to end and see the finished product. It highlighted how the essential accounting skills we learn at university can be applied in a working environment. I also enjoyed being able to speak to my colleagues, who were all at varying stages of their careers. It was a great experience to be able to speak to trainee accountants about their lives after university and also to be able to get advice from managers and partners who had worked in the industry for many years. Without the internship and working with these people for three months, I would never have been able to get such a wealth of information in the same capacity.
What skills do you feel you gained from the internship experience?
The internship has definitely improved my communication skills and my ability to work with others. I feel confident with accounting software packages, which I had never seen before working at the company, and even my basic accounting knowledge has improved! I feel more prepared and at ease to go back to university and tackle my final year.
What advice would you give students considering applying for an internship through this programme next year?
Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone and take on challenges which you would normally shy away from. Working at an SME can mean busy days and a lot of responsibility, but it is very rewarding at the end of the day.
Please summarise your experience as an intern.
I was warmly welcomed into the company by the team and they were all very enthusiastic to pass on their knowledge to us. I worked with various managers over the ten-week period and picked up a variety of practical accounting and communicative skills. I was able to work on clients’ books from the initial planning stage until the actual drawing up of the accounts to be presented to the client. During this time, I received continuous feedback and guidance on my work. The internship was a great insight into the profession and into the daily working life at a local SME.