In your first year at university you have access to plenty of opportunities to find out about accounting and accounting employers. These include chances to meet and gain work experience with accounting employers that are targeted specifically at first years.

On campus your options include careers fairs and presentations from graduate employers in accounting. Many graduate employers in accounting also offer short courses, open days and internships specifically for first years. Some even offer you the chance to get to know them and what they offer graduates through online games.

Here's a guide to some of these opportunities that will help you most as a first year interested in accounting:

Careers fairs

You'll typically find that a good spread of graduate employers in accounting will have a stall at a university careers fair and here you'll find both graduate recruiters and other employees.

Careers fairs are a great way for first years to find out about careers in accounting and accounting employers, meet accounting graduate recruiters and other employees, and take a few significant steps forward on the path to a career in accounting.

Employer open days

An accounting employer open day gives you the chance to get beyond their website or brochure and find out what working life at the organisation is really like. 

On an open day at an accounting employer you’ll usually meet employees at the organisation, see their working environment, and be given invaluable information about applying to accounting employers and being an accountant.

First year internships 

These internships are available to first year undergraduates and take place in the university holidays over a short period of time, typically one or two weeks. 

They give first year students an insight into what it’s like working for an accounting employer and often pave the way for a career there as successful students may be shortlisted for a longer penultimate year internship and subsequently a place on an accounting graduate scheme.

First year internships at accounting employers usually involve a mixture of workshops, case studies, presentations, work shadowing and networking opportunities, where you can meet employees and find out more about the organisation's culture.

Short courses

As building your skills is such an important part of a career in accounting, some accounting employers offer short skills-based courses for first years.

These are designed to help you find out about yourself and develop your abilities in areas such as team working or leadership, while also introducing you to the work accounting firms do.

Online games

Some graduate recruiters in accounting are integrating game playing into the recruitment process, which is a great way to find out about accounting and build up your skills while in your first year at university.

For example, leading accounting firm KPMG recently offered students “80 Days”, a game in which players competed to circumnavigate the world in a virtual hot air balloon in the quickest time, while tackling 10 challenges along the way.