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What is an internship?

An internship can be an exciting part of your education that supplements your academic knowledge, promotes personal development, and provides professional preparation. While on an internship, you can learn more about your chosen profession, meet new people, and gain self-confidence. Having an internship will also aid your job search as many companies use an internship to pre-screen prospective employees.

An accounting/finance internship is a part-time or full-time work experience. Many full-time internships are completed during the summer, or during tax season the spring semester. Part-time internships are often completed while taking classes.

Most accounting and finance internships are paid experiences with salary and benefits determined by the employer.

You may take an internship for academic credit or elect to have it recorded on your university transcript as a non-credit learning experience. Internships taken for credit may be used to satisfy accounting or finance degree requirements.

Accounting and finance intern projects

  • Participated in internal financial and operational audits for corporations, state and federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations 
  • Assisted with preparing audit working papers and reports 
  • Prepared state and federal corporate and individual income tax returns 
  • Computed contingent liabilities, reserves, and long-term debt requirements 
  • Helped develop accounting and financial policies
  • Accumulated accounts payable and receivable information 
  • Developed spreadsheets and other applications using a personal computer 
  • Helped develop an analysis of manufactured products
Trung Nguyen

How to Enroll in an Accounting or Finance Internship

STUDENTS: You are required to view this video prior to requesting an internship experience. 
Please note: the video is only the audio of the presentation and will be updated soon.

The internship form takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.  Handshake does not have a “save” feature.  You must complete the required questions on the form before submitting the experience.  If you have any questions about submitting an internship experience on Handshake, please contact Alyssa Slaby, Note:  Alyssa Slaby can only assist with the Handshake software.

Before you complete an internship experience request, you must have first set up an account on Handshake.  You can do that at the start of the process using the link below:

  1. Go Handshake and login with your UW-Eau Claire credentials.
  2. Under “Career Center” at the top right of the screen, click “Experiences”.
  3. Click “Request an Experience” on the top right of the secondary blue menu bar.
  4. Under “Experience Type”, choose “College of Business-Accounting and Finance Internship”.
  5. Select the term in which you are completing the internship.
  6. Fill out the information in the reporting form and complete the departmental questions (some may be duplicative).
  7. When finished, click “Request Experience” at the bottom of the page.
  8. What will you need to complete the internship experience?
    1. You will be required to upload a copy of your degree audit.
    2. You will be required to upload a copy of your offer letter.
      1. Your offer letter should be a signed document on the company’s letterhead and should include the dates of your internship, anticipated hours, and rate of pay.
    3. You will need to be specific when documenting job responsibilities.
      1. You may want to copy and paste the job description into this box if it is still applicable.
      2. Otherwise, you MUST be very specific about the responsibilities related to your experience (accounting or finance).
    4. You will need to have the human resources contact information. This will include name, phone, and email.  Be very careful when typing in this critical information.  It is what triggers the next steps. 
    5. You will need to have the company information documented accurately as well. This will include their website. 
  9. Once complete properly, the experience will be routed to the Internship Coordinator in the accounting or finance department for approval. If you have missed anything in the application, it will NOT be forwarded to the internship coordinator.  If you have submitted the application and it does not meet the department requirements, it will be returned to you and you will need to start over with a new application.
  10. Once approved, it will be sent to the human resources contact you indicated on the form. This individual will be required to approve your internship as well.
  11. You will be notified from Handshake, directed by the department ADA, and given permission to register for the course if completing the internship for credit.

STUDENTS: You are required to view this video prior to requesting an internship experience. 

How to check the status of an internship application

  1. Go Handshake and login with your UW-Eau Claire credentials.
  2. Under “Career Center” at the top right of the screen, click “Experiences”.
  3. Click “View Details” on your internship.
  4. Scroll down to the approval section to view the status.

Are there any pre-requisites for an internship?
Yes, you must complete the SPDP (Student Professional Development Program) requirements for both accounting and finance internships.  In addition, there are specific requirements for the Finance major:

Finance: You must have completed FIN 320 before your application will be approved. 

How do I know if my internship will be approved?
If you are unsure about whether your internship would be considered, contact the internship coordinator to set up a meeting to discuss your internship.  This is a great opportunity to get your questions answered prior to completing the Handshake experience request. 

When should I submit my application for an internship experience on Handshake?
We do not want you to submit an internship experience until you are scheduled to register for classes.  You may receive an offer several months in advance.  We recommend that you file or scan your offer letter to retrieve at registration.

Can we upload an email instead of an offer letter on Handshake?
No, you cannot upload emails.  You must upload a signed offer letter on the company’s letterhead.  The offer letter should indicate the start and end date of your internship along with the pay rate. 

If I made a mistake on my application, can I go back in and change it?
If you need to change anything on an application that has been submitted, you need to start over with a new application. However, if you need to upload a document, you will be allowed to go back into the application to upload documents.

Can I submit an application to more than one employer?
No, you cannot have two different applications in process simultaneously.  You are responsible for finding your own internship.  Many internships are posted on Handshake. Once you have ‘accepted’ an internship, complete the Handshake experience as soon as registration opens.

Once my internship has been approved on Handshake, does that mean I am registered for the course?
No, it does not.  Once your internship experience has been approved within Handshake, you will be notified to register for the course.  You are responsible for registering for the designated course as provided to you by the department ADA. 

How can I follow my Handshake application?
If you want to know where your application is within the internship process, be sure to set up your “notifications” in Handshake.  You are responsible for following up to ensure your application is still in process.  If you make any errors within the Handshake application, your application will not be processed further.  There is no way for the internship coordinator to make that determination.

How many hours do I have to work for each credit?
You must work 45 hours for every credit you are applying for.  Those hours must be completed between the start of the term and the end of the term in which you are enrolled for internship credit.  The maximum number of credits that can be earned are as follows:

            Accounting:    Maximum 12 credits (540 hours)  

            Finance:          Maximum 3 credits (135 hours)

Can I take finance and accounting internship credits?
Yes, you can.  You can earn up to 12 credits in ACCT 495.  For those that hold a double major in accounting and finance, you can also earn 3 credits in FIN 495.

What course and section?
The number of credits you have applied for determines the course section.  For example, if you applied for six credits of accounting, you would enroll in 495.006.  If you applied for three credits, you would enroll in 495.003.  The same goes for finance.  You will be directed by the department ADA as to which course and section to enroll.

Can I take my internship credits over more than one semester?
Only for Accounting internships.  For example, you can take three credits per semester over the course of two years.  We have some employers who hire for a two-year internship.  You decide what works best for your schedule.  You must re-apply for the internship experience each semester.  You cannot apply once for an internship that takes you through multiple semesters.   You will be required to go through the same process for each semester you are requesting internship credits.

How do my credits apply?

Accounting: You can take a maximum of 12 internship credits.  You can use up to 5 credits toward electives, and the remaining 7 credits toward the 150-hour requirement.  Overall, you cannot exceed 12 credits of ACCT 495. 

Finance: You can take a maximum of 3 internship credits.  They can be applied toward finance electives.

Is there anything else I am required to do for my internship once it has started?
Yes, you will have an internship course in CANVAS.  Your course syllabus will describe the additional requirements of the internship course. 

What if I work full-time on my internship but only need three credits? How can I be considered a full-time student?
Many students who go this route, need to maintain full-time status for financial aid purposes.  In that case, you would complete a full-time equivalency form.  While on Handshake, you will be asked if you need the form.  Once you select yes, you will be directed to the appropriate page. 

How many hours do I have to work to get the full-time equivalency form?
You MUST work 540 hours at your internship site during the semester to be considered full-time for the purposes of the FTE.  Your hours begin on day one of the start of the semester and must be completed by the last week of classes (not finals week).  The 540 hours are required to be worked within the regular semester.  For more information on the full-time equivalency requirements, see the following webpage:

Can I accept an unpaid internship?
Internships are required to be paid work experiences.   The rate of pay depends on the internship site.  We follow the department of labor guidelines.  However, you can accept an unpaid internship for credit with a nonprofit organization.

Accounting Internship Coordinator

Finance Internship Coordinator

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