You are almost there in getting the offer. Now the tricky part: would they ask about salary expectation? What should you say, or not to say?
The good thing is that accounting internship salary is rarely discussed in the interview especially in Big 4 or other companies with a standard internship program.
You don’t really have the ability to negotiate until at least after your first year as an associate, and only if you are some sort of “super” employee.
What You Should Do
Stop worry about it! Focus on how you are going to wow your interviewers and land an offer first.
What You Should NOT Do
Bring up the salary discussion during the interview. It could be awkward because the interviewer is not prepared to talk about it. Or worse, if they thought you are trying to negotiate a higher salary, they might just change their minds and move onto the next 100 candidates who hope to get the position.
If It Does Comes Up…
There is still a chance that you are asked to suggest a salary level. This is especially the case if the partners/owners in a small firm are interviewing you and they no idea which level they should pay.
I’d probably be vague and say something about how you are more interested in the experience than getting a specific dollar amount.
Just to give you a perspective, I’ve asked my readers and the accounting internship per hour rate ranges from $12 to $28.
It varies due to the nature of the work, for example, non-profits tend to pay lower. The location and the cost of living is another important factor. It also depends on your educational background and how respectable your accounting program is.
At the end of the day, the priority should always be getting the experience, and hopefully an extension of offer for any accounting internship. Good luck!
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!