Typically, the accounting recruitment process looks like this for 4-year students. All of the opportunities listed below require applications during their corresponding recruiting seasons.
Freshman Year: Freshman Programs
Sophomore Year: Summer Leadership Program (SLP)
Junior Year: Internship
Senior Year: Full Time Offer
Entry into a Freshman programs can influence your chances of obtaining an SLP, which in turn can result in an internship and ultimately a full-time offer, but the programs are not definite prerequisites for one another: Many students still get internships without participating in a Freshman Program or SLP, and as such, they also can get full-time offers without completing an internship, so don’t be discouraged if you feel like you’re falling behind.
UCSB is a huge target school for Big 4, Mid-tier, and local accounting firms, so this is generally the structure they follow. Many accounting students also look into FP&A opportunities, but unfortunately, we are less catered for FP&A or industry recruitment.
Freshman programs are 1-day programs where you visit the firm’s office, usually during Winter or Spring quarter. Participation in a freshman program doesn’t guarantee an SLP offer, but it does increase your chances of getting one the following year since it’s a great opportunity to network with professionals. Each freshman program is structured differently, but all are beneficial in getting the firms to recognize you as a possible candidate to work with in the future.
How do I apply? Apply during Winter. or Spring quarter. Attend our weekly UAS meetings to find out how. Each firm has a different application process. Generally, the applications can be found on Handshake. We highly encourage freshmen to attend Winter Meet the Firms to develop professional connections prior to these programs.
A few firms that offer freshman programs: PwC Explore, Deloitte, KPMG, EY, Crowe, among others. Not all firms offer freshman programs.
Summer Leadership Programs (SLP)
Summer Leadership Programs are offered for Sophomores on a 4-year track or Juniors on a 5-year track. The point of these programs is for each firm to show you what they are all about and to meet their employees. Their goal is to meet students who want to work in the accounting industry. The programs are typically 2 days and the firms will do fun bonding activities and presentations. Some firms even fly you to different locations, such as Arizona and Texas. These programs are such an amazing experience! Summer Leadership Programs often come with an internship offer as well.
How do I apply? Apply during the beginning of Winter quarter. Meet the Firms in the Winter is geared towards SLPs. Networking is key! Talk to the firms at Meet the Firms in January and then apply on their website and Handshake, depending on what each individual firm specifies.. Make sure to follow instructions carefully on these applications. If you miss something, there is a chance they will not even look at your application.
Most firms that UAS is affiliated with offer SLPs.
Internships are programs that last between 8-10 weeks. During this time, you will be working with the firm of your choosing and working while getting paid. You will be choosing a practice (Audit, Tax, Advisory, etc.) and you will be placed on a client with a team of professionals that have already been assigned to that client. Generally, the most common time to participate in an internship is summer, but you can also apply for winter internships.
How do I apply? Apply during the beginning of Fall quarter. Some firms' application deadlines might even be before Meet the Firms, so keep an eye out. Applying can usually be done through Handshake, but you may also need to apply externally on the firm's respective website. Each has their own applications, deadlines and processes. If you are unsure about anything to do with the recruiting process, reach out to a recruiter for more information.
All the firms we work with offer internships. More are located on Handshake.
Full Time Offers
If you are interested in a career in accounting then you are in luck. The biggest professional service firms in the world recruit directly from UCSB. You can work in service lines such as Tax, Audit or Advisory and start times for full time offers are often in the fall around September. Typically graduating seniors or newly graduated students will apply for full time positions during the application period which is early fall during the same time internship applications are being accepted.
How do I apply? Applications open during early Fall and are found in Handshake. Each firms application process is a bit different so be sure to contact the recruiter for each firm directly to receive all the deadlines and forms to be turned in along with any socials the firm may be having.
All the firms we work with offer full-time offers. More are located on Handshake.
Deadlines and important dates change yearly. They are usually available online or through firms’ Key Date Cards that we send to our mailing list, but it is best to hear about them from the professionals themselves, so be sure to come to our weekly meetings!