Tax or audit? That is one of the most asked questions when you are interviewing with potential employers and networking accounting professionals in general. It’s a tough question to answer because most of the time, when you’re recruiting for accounting firms, you will have no idea. I know I didn’t. So, to help you get a better picture of both, I’m going to give you my sales pitch for tax and Tue Tran, another TA and blogger, will be giving you a better picture of audit in a later post.
Plot Twist: I actually went through recruiting in audit and signed my initial internship offer in audit too. I had been told that if I was a social person, which I am, then audit was for me, so I decided to go audit and eventually signed my offer in audit. However, I had already signed a summer seasonal offer to help out in the tax practice at PwC. At the time, I just thought it was going to be good work experience and that I would just power through tax busy season and then go into audit.
However, as the summer went on, I started to really enjoy the work and love the people I worked with. So, fast forward, I switched my internship offer to tax, completed another tax internship in the winter, and am now about to finish up my third seasonal internship. From all my internship experience, here are some things about tax that you usually don’t hear about.
One of the most common things that people will tell you is that if you are social to go audit, but really tax is for social people too! One of the things that I really like about tax is that not only are the people on your group or team really close, but you also get to know everybody from other groups because you’re on the same floor every day, and you also work closely with various groups to complete client work. In comparison with audit, where you have the potential to jump from client to client and consistently have a completely different team from month to month. Another common misconception that you will hear is that tax professionals do not have much interaction with the client. Although, it is true that audit will definitely have more interaction with the client, in my experience, we actually have quite a bit of client interaction through conference calls and even going to the client site on a weekly basis.
With all this being said, what actually drew me over to tax was the work. I think one of my seniors put it best when she said “in tax you have more ownership of the work earlier than audit.” I have found this to be completely true. As I have gained more knowledge throughout my internships, I have also gained autonomy and been given more discretion when preparing work papers and have also started to be able to participate in some discussions about problems that arise and the plans to fix them.
I hoped this has given you some insight into tax and will help you make a well-informed decision. However, whichever way you go, internships are rewarding and, while it is to your advantage to make a decision between the two while going through recruiting, you can always switch if you pick audit or tax and find that it is truly not for you!