The Texas State University Department of Accounting offers a sound conceptual foundation in all areas of accounting with certain critical skills, such as computer proficiency, included in every accounting course. Although it may not be obvious to a student overwhelmed by the demands of a semester, the overall accounting experience offers a solid base upon which to build a successful career.
In spite of the faculty’s best efforts, it is difficult to convey in a classroom the full experience of working in the accounting profession, particularly the practical wisdom and perspective that one gains only by spending time on the job. Because of this, the Department of Accounting offers an internship course during which students work in accounting for part or all of a semester and thereby receive a more complete education.
Credit for an internship is given only for a minimum of 320 hours in total via (a) a full-time accounting job of at least 40 hours per week that lasts at least 8 consecutive weeks or more or (b) a part-time accounting job of at least 20 hours per week that lasts 16 consecutive weeks.
- An internship may continue for a full semester, but special permission from the faculty coordinator is necessary for a longer period and such permission is granted only in unusual circumstances. An internship has a definite beginning and end and is not viewed as a part-time or full-time job that continues until graduation.
- No credit is granted for work that a student has already been performing. An internship must convey a completely new viewpoint.
- The employer may be a public accounting firm or an accounting department of a company or not-for-profit/governmental entity, but in every case the employer and intern are held strictly to the Specific Requirement listed below.
- A student may take no more than one three-hour course, apart from the internship, during the term of full-time internship and no more than six hours or two three-hour courses during the term of a part-time internship. Certain compressed courses may be available during the portion of a semester remaining after an internship ends. Student whose scholarships, grants, or other financial assistance require them to enroll for at least 9 semester credit hours during the fall and spring semester should consider summer internships if available.
- Each intern is expected to receive compensation equivalent to that earned by accounting interns statewide, except when working for some non-profit entities. Generally, such compensation (except perhaps for fringe benefits) is about the same as that earned by a new accounting graduate.
- Internships are graded on a credit (CR)/fail (F) basis. Three to six semester credit hours are granted to an intern who receives credit.
- No one may register for an internship without first receiving the approval by signature of the faculty coordinator and the department chair on the Internship Application.
No exceptions are made to these general requirements.
The Department of Accounting internship is designed to meet the criteria promulgated by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA). Thus, the following specific requirements (from Section 511.57 of the State Board’s rules) also apply:
- The knowledge gained from an internship must be equal to or greater than the knowledge gained in a traditional classroom setting. Only jobs offering a variety of intensive accounting work assignments qualify.
- The student may not earn more than three semester credit hours towards their upper level accounting hours requirement for any amount of internship work.
Before the internship:
- The employing firm must provide, both to the faculty coordinator and to the student, objectives to be met during the internship, including a description of a formal training program (see 5. below) the intern will receive.
- The faculty coordinator must approve the internship.
During the internship:
- The employer must provide a formal training program.
- The student must keep and submit weekly a diary comprising a chronological list of all work experience gained in the internship and must provide a copy to the faculty coordinator.
After the internship:
- The employing firm must provide to the student and to the faculty coordinator
- (a) a written description of the duties performed by the student and the supervision given to the student and
- (b) a written evaluation of the student’s performance.
- The student must write a paper demonstrating the knowledge gained from the internship and submit it to the faculty coordinator no later than two weeks after the internship ends or by the last class day of that semester, whichever is earlier.
- The student must keep a copy of all documents submitted to provide to the TSBPA. Since the student and/or faculty coordinator must provide evidence of any and all items of documentation requested by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, no exceptions are made.
Additional Items to Consider
Each student should consider the following before registering for an accounting internship:
Scholarships, grants, and/or other financial assistance might be reduced or eliminated because of the decrease in course load required by an internship or because of compensation received from the employer, or for other reasons. Each student must determine the possible consequences and weigh the advantages and disadvantages before applying for an internship.
- The required paper must be a formal composition demonstrating the knowledge gained from the work performed and the employer’s training program. It should describe various tasks assigned, how the entire experience integrates with the intern’s academic work, how academic work prepared the student, what academic work could have helped prepare the student, what the student is bringing back to academic work from the internship, and also contain the intern’s evaluation of the internship. The paper must be a minimum of 1,500-2,000 words (about 8-10 pages) in length and include a title page, a table of contents, headings and subheadings, and footnotes as appropriate. Organization, spelling, and grammar are important. Because the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy may request a copy, the paper must meet high standards.
- If the student and/or the employer do not complete the requirements specified by the last day of the semester, the student will be given a grade of “incomplete” or “fail” for the internship. In certain cases, this may cause graduation to be delayed until a later semester, even if the student has already applied for graduation. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the faculty coordinator receives all documentation in a timely fashion and in acceptable condition.
- In the unfortunate event that a student is unable to meet all of the above requirements, it is the student’s responsibility to drop the class by the regularly scheduled date for withdrawing from classes during the semester.