What Does an Accounting Intern Get Paid?

by Michael Owens ; Updated September 26, 2017
Intern salaries

Internships serve various purposes for college students. They provide students with a way to earn summer money, earn additional college credits and build on an otherwise blank resume. Interns fill the lower ranks of companies. Students have the opportunity to practice their interviewing skills and build relationships with industry insiders and staff. Learning on the job is a powerful experience — and an internship is a great way to break into corporate America.

Accounting Intern Details

Accounting interns file documents, open and process mail, and complete other general administrative tasks for accounting, audit or tax departments. An intern may also be permitted to perform basic routine accounting tasks under direct supervision. They're usually expected to write and draft correspondence on a regular basis. Companies often require that accounting interns are enrolled in a bachelor’s degree program, with accounting as the declared major. Interns usually must have a minimum of two years of college completed — internships are generally open to junior and senior students.

College Credit

Compensation can come in a variety of forms. Compensation through college credit is one way that companies, especially large companies and organizations, compensate their interns. Students work for a semester without monetary compensation and, in return, earn college credits that they can apply toward their degree. The intern’s manager completes forms and reviews of the intern’s work and turns that into the college or university. The scores and competencies are reviewed, and college credits are awarded accordingly. The student takes advantage of this opportunity by gaining experience while earning course credit.

National Average

Companies that pay hourly wages to accounting interns generally don't provide college credit opportunities for their interns. The national range for accounting intern wages is between $8.66 and $21.23 per hour. The national average overtime pay for accounting interns at time and a half is $12.24 to $35.48, according to PayScale.com as of 2011. Indeed.com shows that the average accounting intern salary nationwide is approximately $20.19 an hour, or $42,000 if the intern worked an entire year. According to Indeed.com, “Average accounting intern salaries for job postings nationwide are 43 percent lower than average salaries for all job postings nationwide.”

Industry

Industry plays a large role in what an accounting intern candidate is paid per hour. Large companies often don't pay the highest intern wages. Larger, well-known companies don't have as difficult of a time in locating top graduates. Large companies such as Microsoft, Nike, Apple and Ford don't have to look far for a flurry of accounting intern candidates. However, smaller, less well-known companies pay toward the top of the salary range to attract the best candidates. CPA firms are always looking for new talent and have a difficult time in recruiting and retaining talent. It's common for CPA firms to pay between $18 and $22 per hour for accounting interns according to PayScale.com. The Big Four firms — Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers — pay in the $22-per-hour range. Ernst and Young recently paid its interns as much as $27 per hour, according to Glassdoor.com.

About the Author

Michael Owens is a corporate recruiter and business owner in Houston, TX. He joined Demand Studios in 2009, writing for eHow Money and eHow Business & Personal Finance. Michael has a master's certificate in accounting from Keller Graduate School of Management.

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