By Jim Wong, CPA | August 26, 2015

This week, we have guest blogger, David Jackson, Managing Director at Brilliant™, taking over for ‘A Brilliant™ Blog — Check In With Jim’ to give insight into best practices for your project flow after accounting, finance and IT interns go back to school.

How do you pick up where the interns leave off?

Accounting, finance and IT internships are an integral part of a young professional’s career development. Budding accountants, auditors and analysts alike use their summer breaks to demonstrate responsibility as they catch a glimpse into the real corporate world they’ll be entering once graduation time comes.

As a hiring manager, I know the value of hiring students for accounting, finance and IT internships and the success that can come as a result. Students learn the ins and outs of the business and job-specific skillsets that they’re likely to carry throughout their professional career. In addition, hiring managers hope the students learn the basics of professional business etiquette.

The businesses benefit from the student’s time while they’re with the company, as well.

Interns help with short-term or new projects, or fill in for any colleagues out of the office. They also take on lower-level tasks that don’t fall into the descriptions of many on the team. However, interns head back to college as summer draws to an end. What can you do to maintain the extra productivity and project load for the remainder of the year?

I find there are a few important things to keep in mind in order to successfully orchestrate the transition period after an intern leaves. Below are a few options to consider.

Redistribute the Workload

Depending how involved the intern was in significant day-to-day operations, there may be projects that need to be continued. It’s common for companies to turn to current staff in order to finish up where the intern leaves off. There may be junior-level colleagues who are looking to take on a bigger workload or learn new skillsets to move ahead in their career. Find out who on your team is looking for such a challenge and assign the responsibilities appropriately. It’s also important to keep morale up whenever there’s a change in the staff and roles. Be sure to stay in tune with what motivates your team and implement incentives, events and communications that lend to a positive environment.

Bring in Interim Professionals

Temporary professionals can be a good option for filling any gaps left after an internship ends. These professionals are hired on an interim basis and can be part-time or full-time team members. Temporary professionals are typically utilized for a specific amount of time but can also be on a temp-to-hire basis if you’re looking to test the person out first before hiring them permanently. No matter the length of time of the contract, it’s key to look for temporary or interim professionals who have the experience and skills for the projects that need completion. It’s also important to look for temporary professionals who will fit into your company culture. Even if the temporary professionals are working for a certain timeframe, you want to be sure not to disrupt your workplace too much by hiring someone who may not hold the same values as the company as a whole.

Not having a plan for your team following the end of an internship could reflect poorly on business and operations. For example, poor morale may ensue and lead to eventual turnover. That’s why, if you do plan to consider hiring temporary or interim professionals it’s a good idea to connect with a specialized staffing firm to help you do so.

Reevaluate Need for New Hires

Sometimes during the span of an internship you uncover additional responsibilities or needs within the company that need to be tackled. At that time, you may want to reexamine whether a new position should be created all together. In fact, you may already have this in mind during the internship and use that time to assess whether the added position is necessary, and if the intern has potential to be a permanent team member after he or she graduates. The intern can also give your company added exposure when they return to school and discuss their internship with fellow students. So, it’s best to have a plan of action. Whatever your end goal is be sure to look at the vision, goals and overall strategy of the company – and where the intern and internship fall within that scope.

What are some other ways to pick up where an accounting, finance and IT intern leaves off? Comment below and let us know!

Interested in hiring temporary professionals to offset unfinished work left from interns? Email and mention David’s guest blog.

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