(Closed) Should I intern in Audit or Tax Accounting?

posted 5 years ago in College
Post # 2
Member
3470 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA

Well, I would choose audit since I HATE tax accounting… but it really depends on what your long term goals are.  Do you know where you want your degree to take you? Are you planning to get a CPA? 

Post # 4
Member
3470 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA

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karmalkween:  Well… why are you getting the degree? That’s the first question to answer because that will dictate which internship is more valuable to you.  If you really don’t know, then it’s a coin toss and you can just pick one to see if you like it.  In that respect, auditing will likely give your more virsitle exposure while tax accounting is pretty single-minded.  

I’ve done a variety of accounting/audit/bookkeeping work and for me a CPA is useless because of the type of work I’m interested in which is more office management/full charge bookkeeping type stuff.  

If you want to do anything tax related, you’ll likely be wanting to go after a CPA, but I dispise doing taxes of any kind (I don’t even do my own anymore!) so for me, there wasn’t any point.

I enjoyed working as an auditor (only did it for about a year) and a CPA wouldn’t have advanced me much in that goal either although it CAN if you end up at the right firm.

 

The big question you need to answer is why are you getting the degree – that will help dictate your answer to the original question.  

Post # 5
Member
3470 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA

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karmalkween:  P.S. What is your current degree in? 

Post # 8
Member
112 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Well I recommend tax because that is my career! I had to blindly make the choice between tax and audit very early in college and I chose tax. I worked in public accounting for a while (the hours aren’t ideal during busy season but the benefits and comraderie with coworkers are great), then I transitioned to a tax department in a manufacturing company where I got my Master of Tax and CPA. I’m in a manager role now and do really well for myself. My husband is on the partner path at a CPA firm but I know I chose the right path. 

I recommend taking an audit class and a tax class and then reevaluating. it depends on what you want to do – do you want to be out face to face with clients doing audits or working behind the scenes doing tax? I’m a more introverted person so tax worked well for me. I will say that they are totally different though!

Post # 9
Member
3470 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA

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karmalkween:  In that case I’d recommend audit because that will give you more variety into the various aspects of accounting – basically what you’re auditing will all be accounting documents so you’ll hopefully get some exposure into a variety of stuff, including a bit of tax work.  

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abl13:  These are some great points, but audit doesn’t have to be face to face (for example working for a large company as part of an internal auditing team) and tax work can sometimes even have more client interactions (if you go the CPA route and do personal or small business returns), so I don’t know that I’d use that as the best difference between the two fields.  But I definitely second the advice of taking courses in each before you devote too much time to one focus or the other.  

Post # 10
Member
90 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I’d also say audit. If you aren’t sure, tax can be so niche and there are only so many places you can work since its specialized. Audit gives you a well rounded view of everything and you get to see all the accounting practices at work and learn how and why companies mess up. It will make you more valuable to any employer.

Post # 11
Member
174 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

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karmalkween:  Audit! But I’m biased, I’m a full time auditor. Got my CPA two years ago. I’m not too fond of tax, so many rules. I only work on taxes about 2 weeks out of the year and it’s just not long enough for it to click. 

Auditing is definitely a lot of analytical and logical thinking, I do crunch a lot of numbers but I do a good deal of paperwork too. To me, tax is just dropping numbers into a confusing program that seems smarter than me, but yet you have to know all these ever-changing laws and code and it’s just too much.

As far as the introvert thing PP posted, I’m definitely an introvert and while its sometimes hard to go talk to clients (I feel like I’m always bugging them!) I really really enjoy going out and doing fieldwork. It’s a nice break from the office. Also, the team environment helps, whereas with tax it’s more of an on-your-own thing so you may actually be face to face with clients more.

Another difference is that audits certainly get drawn out more, they can last for months and you will have several going on at a time, so organization and some multitasking is key. 

I work for a small firm so from the very beginning I was jumping into all aspects of an audit; I know at larger firms you’re usually on a team that just audits cash, and that may be all you do for your first year. I enjoy working on the entire thing start to finish. BUT there’s more opportunity to move up at a larger firm.

And finally, the worst part about my job is busy season! Don’t get me wrong, the comraderie and all that is fun and I do enjoy the OT, but MAN it sucks that I essentially will never get to take a spring vacation as long as I’m in this field. I’ve missed out on two good friends bachelorette parties already! (Can you tell I’m upset haha?

Good luck with whatever you decide!

Post # 12
Member
255 posts
Helper bee

Another vote for Audit! I’ve been an auditor for 5 years and with the variety of audit (I function more like an internal consultant), you also get to do some tax assignments. You can be successful in Audit without a CPA (although it helps) but you can’t really be as successful in tax without a CPA. 

Audit gives you the variety to meet lots of clients and typically you’ll either want to stay in audit or use it as a ‘launch point’ when you find a group you really love. If you desire to get hired into that group, it’s normally easier since you will already know the business heads from your audit work and they’ll be familiar with your skill set.

Post # 13
Member
1262 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: City, State

I agree with the last couple posters. Audit gives you more general knowledge of how businesses/accounting works. Especially if you are leaning toward moving to a general accountant role at a company post internship, audit will give you better experience. I’ve been an auditor for 5 years. 

Post # 14
Member
54 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

May I ask what type of company you would be interning for?  If it is a Big 4 accounting firm, you really can’t go wrong with either internship.  I was in audit for 6 years at a Big 4 and now work in private, but I interned in audit and it was a great experience.  I would highly recommend getting your CPA, and many accounting firms will finance the entire expense of the study materials and the test.  If you do get your CPA, you will need a certain number of auditing hours in addition to passing the test, and your internship will count toward those hours.  I believe that many tax professionals need to do a rotation in audit to get those hours (I could be mistaken on that fact and it also may depend on the state).

But anyway, the great thing about an internship is that it’s an internship!  You can use that experience to figure out what you like and what you don’t like, so that when it is time to get a full time job, you know what you want. And while you may not be thinking about future years down the road, having a background in audit is an excellent foundation for any finance/accounting roles.

By the way…many accounting firms will extend full time offers after a successful internship 🙂

Feel free to PM me about anything accounting/audit career related – I’d be happy to help!

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