A review of the typical accountant interview questions, likely to come up, is a vital part of the through preparation required to shine at your next accounting interview.
A prepared candidate with a solid and proven background is more likely to land the position than an equally qualified candidate who has not taken the time to review typical interview questions and prepare answers related to their professional accounting background.
Have a go at developing your own answers to the following questions:
Past Experience in Accounting:
– What has your relevant accounting experience been in the past?
– Is there anything that you would define as a special skill, unique to you?
– Why did you decide to enter the field of accounting?
– What are the trainings and certifications you have in accounting?
– Describe your career highlights in accounting?
Managing Financial Risk:
– Describe the fundamentals in financial risk management?
– Describe your previous experience in financial risk management?
– Describe a time when you were instrumental in improving the efficiency of an accounting system, which resulted in reducing financial risk?
Preparing Management Reports:
– Do you have experience in preparing accounting reports for management?
– What do you think the primary focus should be on accounting management reports?
– What accounting management report systems have you used in the past?
Involvement in the Budgeting Process:
– Describe your previous experience and the duties you carried out in the budgeting process?
– Describe how you would go about preparing a complete budget for accounting purposes?
– What is your understanding of accounts payable?
– What is your understanding of liabilities?
– What invoicing experience do you have?
– What information would you seek to possess before you process an invoice?
– What is the maximum number of invoices you have handled in a week?
Using Data to Improve Productivity:
– Describe a time when you used accounting data to improve the efficiency or effectiveness of a business?
– What specifically do you look for in accounting data to help improve productivity?
– In your opinion, how does data play a role in evaluating the productivity of a business?
– Describe the accounting packages you are most familiar with?
– What accounting packages would you describe yourself as expert in?
– Describe how you typically prepare for and cope with pressures associated with the tax season?
– What are the ways that you have found to keep abreast of the endless changes in tax law and regulation?
Continuous Professional Development:
– What is your view on continuous professional development?
– Are there any specific accounting certifications that you are working towards achieving?
– What benefits have you found in pursuing further education in the accounting field?
Accounting Interview Questions and Answers
The accounting interview questions and answers below cover some of the most popular areas in an accounting interview.
The interviewer logic below provides insight into the hidden ‘question within the question’. Top performing candidates always pause before leaping in with an answer to make sure they have fully understood the intent within the question they are being asked. If you do this too, you will give the interviewer the answer they want and set yourself apart from the competition.
Accounting Interview Questions and Answers on Attention to Detail:
What are the steps you go through to check your accounting work before submitting it? Give an example of this.
Your role as an accountant may involve; analyzing data, ensuring compliance, interpreting and evaluating results and preparing financial reports and other related documentation. Therefore your attention to detail is critical in accounting. The interviewer wants to see the systems you have in place for checking the accuracy of your work.
Demonstrate that you are both thorough and efficient in how you approach your work. Show that you habitually check your work and are aware of the specific areas that should always be re-evaluated for accuracy.
Provide evidence of specific systems you employ to check your work, this is what the interviewer is after.
Describe a time where you found an error in your work after it has been submitted to another party?
The interviewer wants to know that you are comfortable addressing errors. They know you are human and mistakes happen. What they really want to find out is – are you are proactive in correcting them?
Your answer should show that you have a proven success record with minimal errors but when they have happened you took action to correct them. This answer requires an honest response. We all make mistakes, the interviewer is interested in the steps you take to correct them.
Whatever you do don’t talk about a mistake you made which had critical consequences for the company, the point is to show your human side, but end on a positive note which demonstrates you minimized damage by acting quickly.
Accounting Interview Questions and Answers on Building Relationships:
How do you go about building relationships with work colleagues? Provide an example of this.
The interviewer wants to know if you have the ability to establish effective working relationships with colleagues in your own department and the wider business that foster organizational effectiveness.
Providing evidence that you can aid your co-workers to operate in the company at maximum efficiency through the effective utilization of financial resources, i.e. budgeting and financial planning, will be a key component of scoring well with this question.
It is also an opportunity to demonstrate the value you place on building relationships with colleagues. If you provide evidence that shows you work in a highly collaborative manner you will score well with this question.
How do you build long lasting relationships with company clients?
This interview question is designed to see if you are motivated to actively build on and strengthen relationships with current clients. These clients may be internal clients or external depending on the role.
If your role involves offering consultancy services to clients, then building good relationships is at the heart of this type of work. You will need to demonstrate in your answer that you are very good at getting to the core of what it is the client wants to achieve.
Provide evidence which describes how you delivered value and created opportunities for improving the bottom line, cost – cutting, or creating efficiencies that would benefit the client’s department/company. Back all your answers up with solid examples.
For extra bonus points, demonstrate that you enabled business growth through developing professional relationships beyond the companies’ current client pool.
Accounting Interview Questions and Answers on Planning and Organizing:
Describe a time where you were handling multiple deadlines. How did you prioritize the tasks to complete them successfully?
The interviewer wants to find out how you function under the pressure of a deadline. Your organization skills are the best way to show you can stay focused on the important tasks and those that need urgent attention.
Show that you have found proven methods that help you stay more productive and less stressed when it is crunch time.
Make sure you describe specific methods, i.e. at a minimum, mention you have a system such as the ‘eisenhower method’, to organize tasks into important & urgent verses non important & non urgent tasks.
Tell me about a time where you took the lead on an accounting project. What steps did you take to make sure that everybody remained focused on the goal?
The interviewer wants to find out how effective you are at supervising and coordinating a project.
This is a great opportunity to show that you are comfortable with sharing your knowledge, abilities and ideas with co-workers.
Demonstrate you have a solid understanding of project management principles, such as being able to develop a plan that everyone can buy into as well as being able to encourage ownership of that plan, devolve responsibility and effectively manage the project through to completion.
Accounting Interview Questions and Answers on Problem Solving:
Describe a time when an accounting project you were working on did not add up. Outline the methods you employed to analyze and evaluate the problem?
This question is focused around one main point. The interviewer wants to know your thought process for troubleshooting.
You will need to ensure your answer is direct but not narrow in scope. In other words, you need to demonstrate that you have a specific evaluation process that you’ve found to be effective in the past. If that process does not work in a situation you start evaluating other methods of analysis.
Your critical reasoning abilities are a crucial component in effective accounting, make sure your answer provides ample evidence of this.
Describe a time when you reached out for assistance when trying to solve a complex problem?
The intent behind this question is to find out whether you are likely to waste excessive amounts of time by not acknowledging that you could use assistance.
Many problems become harder to solve the longer you look at them. Fresh eyes and perspective are often just what problem solving needs. Show that you do not feel demoralized if you ask for assistance with a problem. This question also will reflect on how well you truly do build professional relationships in the office.
Make sure you demonstrate a strong ability to break down complex problems into their component parts and that you only ask for assistance from a stand point of already brainstorming a number of possible solutions.
Accounting Interview Questions and Answers on Commercial Acumen:
Describe a time when you implemented a change in accounting protocol or procedure that provided a commercial benefit to the organization you were working in?
Are you someone who is going to be part of the solution or part of the problem? In other words do you take the initiative to seek out and implement process improvement, without necessarily being directed to do so?
Your answer should be thoughtful for this question. Describe an occasion where you designed and implemented specific accounting procedures/systems which were more efficient and resulted in significant process improvement or savings for the company. Show that these changes were based on best practice accounting principles and were thoroughly researched in advance.
If you can provide evidence that these new systems were adopted companywide even better, describe your role in providing training and consultation related to new systems.
Describe a change project that resulted in greater efficiencies for the company that you championed? How did you use your financial skills to make key decisions? What was the outcome?
The interviewer is exploring how well you use your skills and financial know-how to help inform strategic decisions.
This is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that you have the ability to analyze complex financial statements and make a risk assessment, implement a more effective system or make suggestions for improvement that will create efficiencies for the company.
Show that you thoroughly analyzed the financial statements and current processes before suggesting adjustments. Remember, the interviewer is assessing your research abilities, ability to work with complex data and your ability to break down complex information in a way that can be easily understood and used to inform strategic decisions.
Accounting Interview Questions and Answers on Leading a Team & Communication
Describe a project that you were designated to lead on. How did you rally your team together?
The interviewer wants to know that you have the ability to show authority comfortably and be an effective team leader.
This question can tie many candidates up. You want to show that you are comfortable being a leader and asserting some authority. Provide ample evidence of your ability to lead on a project.
Hot tip! Make sure that you demonstrate that not only can you make decisions comfortably on your own, but you also focus on gaining in-put and buy in from all parties and that your leadership is inclusive not exclusive.
Describe a time when you gave advice to a co-worker who was leading an accounting project for the first time?
The interviewer wants to see that you derive a sense of fulfilment from mentoring and coaching others.
Provide evidence which shows you see the value in training and empowering co-workers to lead accounting projects in their own right. Your answer should reflect that you value leadership skills and understand that helping co-workers is a valuable for everybody.
Demonstrating that you enjoy assisting in the development of colleagues will score you the big points with this question.
Describe a time when you used your communication skills to convey complex financial information to a member of the senior management team?
Accounting interview questions on communication usually want to find out if you communicate complex financial information in a clear, concise way which makes it easy to understand.
Provide an example which shows you regularly consult with senior management in order to communicate on issues of funding, cost allocations or related financial issues. Describe in detail how you go about these conversations, make sure you point out that your method of communication varies depending on who you are talking to and you are careful to adjust your style to the audience.
Provide the interviewer with a solid example of where you have adapted your style and approach to different situations and people. Make sure your answer shows you relate well to people of differing styles, across all levels in the organization.
The process of learning about accounting interview questions and answers is exciting. When you understand why questions are being asked and their specific purpose you will be able to have exciting accounting interviews. Those exciting interviews will often lead to exciting job opportunities!
Originally posted 2016-09-06 19:04:00.