Top 10 Accounting Interview Questions & Answers To Crack An Interview
Accounting is a wide choice of careers in the finance field. If you have your interview scheduled for the same, then this blog is what you need. We will cover the most important and popular accounting interview questions here.
Feeling daunted and nervous before an interview is but obvious. Yet, to ace an interview, you need to be confident with your personality and answers. Hence, this blog is a practical no-nonsense guide to accounting interview questions along with the answers- that will let you grab your dream job.
Before going through the accounting interview questions, let’s have a look at what employers look for in accountants like you?
What do employers look for in accountants?
As per the notable recruiters, an essential component for selection is the work experience in public accounting for a prominent firm. Notwithstanding, if you don’t have that, don’t let it dissuade you from your goal. Fortunately, there are other skills, which you can demonstrate to show your worth.
An accounting job profile demands a resonating blend of both technical acumen and soft skills. Together with them, they make you ready to take the role. Consequently, bearing in mind the stated skills in the job description and the ones you possess- you can devise your skillset.
Unfortunately, people are of the notion- that accounting is a sit behind the computer job, whirling through numbers and formulas in Excel. Evidently, that’s just another myth created by people. True to its essence, accounting is an all-encompassing domain of portraying myriad skills.
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Have you heard the word skills too many times now? So, let’s get to know which are the real pre-requisite skills for accounting interview questions. Here we go:
Being a client-based community, accounting demands having regular contact and discourse with clients. You have to have verbal contact- with both internal, as well as external clients. Hence, strong verbal communication is what you need.
No, your job doesn’t end up with verbal communication; written communication is equally essential. Do you want to know why? As an accountant, you are supposed to audit reports, and financial statements, update your clients about the matter, and more! You got to be good at this skill too!
Accountancy is all-inclusive of a slew of clients, most specifically at month-end, quarter-end, and year-end. With so many clients pestering you with details, recruiters ensure you can well-handle prioritization of clients and time management.
Not to scare you, but you may see a day when clients move in and out. You are extremely busy drafting documentation, workers, reviewing statements, and seeing through clients’ account processes all at once. Deciding upon deadlines and managing work is what you should be good at!
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As professional as it seems, accounting is a technical profession concerning the usage of tools and software. There are tasks such as financial statements, client reports, account reconciliations, and more! Manually taking down all these tasks is next to impossible.
As a result, employers expect you to be familiar with the up-to-date tools and software of accounting. With the help of these tools, not only do your tasks become achievable, but also chances of committing errors dwindle.
Keen to detail
Working with numbers and formulas requires a keenness for detail. A single misplacement of a digit can capsize the report and cause massive troubles for your clients. That being said, attention to minute detail should be your work-through process.
Apart from the 5 competent skillsets, also work upon the job-specific skills. And, you are good to go!
Moving on to the popular and inherent accounting interview questions, which will save you from a setback in the interview.
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Top 10 Accounting interview questions
Accounting Interview Question & Answers Q 1. Tell me about yourself and/or your background?
On the face of it, it may be considered an ice-breaker, yet deep down recruiter wants to acquire a clear perception of you. What is your personality like, why did you choose this profession, or what triggered you to take up this profession. Primarily, you can expect such important accounting interview questions, which will set the bedrock for your whole interview.
How to answer it?
While it may seem a simple question, the real richness is far from easy. Don’t blabber your life story, which can do you more harm than good. Instead, stick to the relevant dots that connect your life till the day of the interview.
Speaking of which, talk about the crisp details that lead you to this professional career. Moreover, add a hue of the specific company- what features of the company triggered you to apply for it. Gaining their trust is the icing on the cake.
If experienced, you can share the experience that prepared you for the current position. However, if you are a fresher, talk about the skillset and how you can prove profitable for the company.
The answer has to comply forthright to cast an optimistic impact on the recruiter. Also, remember this is the foundational question that will colour the trail of the down-the-line process. In simpler words, the recruiter may ask questions based on your description of yourself.
My interests in numbers date back to my childhood. This keenness for numbers and formulas was enhanced further in high school and college. As soon as I stepped out of school, I knew this was the path for me to follow.
After volunteering for internships in my college days, I started my public accounting career with a big firm. Audit enabled me to explore clients of all sizes and domains. I was entrusted- to prepare audit reports and oversee the work of audit teams.
I have also got the opportunity to mentor new hires and interns. Notably, it did boost my confidence. Moreover, I have loads of experience in handling the auditing of complex accounts such as a statement of cash flow and derivatives.
The most enthusiastic and enjoyable thing in my career journey was building relationships with clients. Likewise, helping them to finance better made me feel accomplished.
I am up-to-date with my CPA license and recently acquired my master’s in accounting. I seek a position that will persuade my auditing financial statements to experience creating financial statements.
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Accounting Interview Question & Answer Q2. What accounting processes are you most comfortable with?
The intention behind this question is to know what accounting programs you have worked on a prior basis. Recruiters would want to know if your experience in accounting programs is relevant to the upcoming role. Hence, in the gamut of accounting interview questions, you should be well-prepared for this one!
The functions vary from department to department and company to company. Hence, this question. Also, they would be interested to know if you can learn new accounting programs swiftly?
How to answer?
To answer this question, scroll back to your past roles and what you did there. What responsibilities stood on your shoulders? For example, if you were an auditor, then you probably audited financial statements and other reports.
Otherwise, if you held an accounting professional role, what procedures and work entailed. All that will be specific to your pertinent job role.
While being clear and concise, delve deeper into your job profile and make the recruiter construe the process. Try to include the accounts, financial statements, and whatever else you were responsible for.
Apparently, this is a time where you can demonstrate the processes that you improvised or implemented. If you have something to say in this realm, support it with examples and numbers.
In my previous job (or current job), I concentrated on regulating accounts, ledges, journal entries, and more. Moreover, I also took care of analytics and out-of-the-way fluctuations.
Being a part of a large organization, I have been working with internal clients and business heads to request documentation essential for processing my tasks.
Alongside plying technical acumen, there are instances of communication with clients, supervisors, and my team. It involves both verbal as well as written communication.
You can further elucidate a bit about your day-to-day responsibilities.
Accounting Interview Question & Answer Q3. Tell me about your technical experience with accounting software and tools.
Technology and software are mandated for efficient and effective working. Thus, through such accounting interview questions- the employer wants to know what software you are up-to-date and comfortable with? At the same time, he may also enquire about your adaptability and assimilation of new software.
How to answer?
The key to answering this question is to not only focus on one particular software (that you are most familiar with) but to speculate on other software as well.
You will want to delve deeper into the roles and responsibilities you performed by putting the recruiter face-to-face- with your abilities. Taking a step- further, you can also explain(or may be asked to elaborate) your views on the best program as per your conscience.
You can prepare yourself by getting yourself acquainted with the recent developments in accounting programs that you administered.
I have more than 3 years experience of working with QuickBooks and over two years with a custom accounting program in my last job. Other than that, I have also worked on NetSuite, Brightpearl, and ProfitBooks
in distinct roles. Also, recently, an accounting friend recommended ZohoBooks, so I am giving it a hand.
Accounting Interview Question & Answer Q4. Talk about three financial statements.
Cash flow statements, balance sheets, income statements, and stakeholders’ equity statements are the manifestations of the accounting profession. To make a real impact, walkthrough through detail, each statement and its working.
How to answer?
Begin with the importance of financial statements in a line or two followed up by any three statements. Talk about what each statement alludes to and how it works.
Though financial statements may differ from company to company, their manifestations in operations, performance, and cash inflow are inherently essential. Firstly, a balance sheet demonstrates company assets, liabilities, and stakeholders’ equity.
Secondly, cash flow statements highlight the inflow of cash and where it is coming from- constituting operating, investments, and financing actions.
Thirdly, the income statement sheds light on in-depth knowledge of the company’s revenue and expenses.
Accounting Interview Question & Answer Q5. Do you have a CPA license?
CPA or Certified Public Accountant License is the MasterCard certification that beckons your devotion to the profession. Having a CPA makes you stand out among the rest. See how important it is! Given the interview, you might get hurled with accounting interview questions like this one!
However, don’t be belittled if you don’t have it. CPA is one-way; there are other certification avenues that you can embark on in the accounting profession.
How to answer?
This is a close-ended; yet one of the important accounting interview questions. Without much ado, you can straightforwardly say yes, I have it. Otherwise, tell them about your progress toward it or other certification in a sincere manner.
If you have a CPA, a possible answer could be:
In the first two years of my career, I acquire my CPA certification and have sustained it since, by and large. I have maintained its prominence by continuing with the CPE annual requisite by attending training and workshops.
In case; you don’t have it, a possible answer could be:
In all honesty, I don’t have my CPA license yet. However, I am in relentless pursuit of the certification. I have already acquired two parts of it- AUD and BEC, the other two will be procured in the next six months.
Accounting Interview Question & Answer Q6. How do you manage to handle difficult circumstances and conversations with the clients?
This next question in the queue is one of the most crucial accounting interview questions, which is reminiscent of problem-solving skills.
As you already know, accountants work with internal as well as external clients, and facing challenges becomes inevitable. From confronting discrepancies with clients to inaccurate account reconciliations, you can encounter challenges.
Here recruiters want to witness how you manage such worst-case scenarios and practice problem-solving techniques without panicking. A little piece of advice here would be not to slag off your former company as this could have adverse implications in the offing.
How to answer?
The STAR method is the best approach to revert to such behaviour-oriented questions. Start with shedding light on the problem, and state your emphasis and contribution to handling the problem. Indeed, don’t forget to propagate the prolific outcome.
Once, it so happened that a long-term client was unhappy with the changing nature of audit teams now and then. I, being the head of the audit team, approached the client for a one-to-one meeting.
During the lunch meeting, I assured him of the dedication of our audit team in performing audits before the deadline. Further, to build up his trust in us, we had weekly checks; where we would share the progress report of the audit with him.
By the end of the audit, we had formed a healthy relationship with the client. Altogether, it was satisfying to see an estranged client so much happy with our services.
Accounting Interview Question & Answer Q7. How do you manage and prioritize your work on a daily basis?
Any day of an accounting professional involves more than one type of work and managing a slew of clients. Reviewing which, the employer would want to know how you get going with your daily task.
He is checking on your value of time management and prioritization of tasks at hand.
How to answer?
There is no refined right or wrong answer for this one; you can say what works best for you. As far as an accountant is concerned, one day sees multiple processes, client interactions, impending deadlines, and team collaborations.
Taking all of it, time management, work organization, communication, and collaborations become the driving force of your answer.
As a matter of fact, I am extensively proactive when it comes to work-load times such as month-end, quarter-end, or year-end. Even on normal days, I try to finish up work before the deadlines.
There is a simple strategy to it that I follow- to set up personal deadlines before the actual deadlines. Thus, in worst-case scenarios, I get a buffer to accomplish work on time. Indeed, I devise this checklist in the form of a to-do everyday list and calendar list.
Talking of the prioritization of tasks at hand, I make sure to mark them as low, medium, and highly urgent tasks. These signs keep me on the run as per the priority of tasks.
Last but not the least, I have assigned end-of-the-week review time with my team- to conceive potential delays and risks at hand to finish up any specific task.
Accounting Interview Question & Answer Q8. Elucidate on a situation when you got stuck with the deadline and how you managed out of it?
It doesn’t matter how hard you try to keep things in line with checklists and deadlines and everything, yet there is no escapade to unexpected short deadlines. What will you do in such a situation-sorry say blaming others is not an option. You have to swim out of it and impress the recruiters.
How to answer?
This hot interview question is your perfect opportunity to outlay your ingenuity in handling unfavourable circumstances. Clicking a story at once in the interview room is difficult; therefore, it is always better to be prepared in advance.
That was a challenging yet enlightening experience, which remains unforgettable till today. There was this client who switched the accounting professional at the quarter-end filing time. Whatever issues he had with his erstwhile accountant, he was in dire need of help.
Comprehending the gravity of his situation, our company took up his work. It was assigned to our team on a primal basis. At first, it came as a shock as we all were loaded with our tasks.
However, I aligned the team for a meeting, and we equally took up the charge of the work. This special-case deadline was reviewed by us twice a week to check on difficulties, lag behinds, or more. Through these meetings, we brainstormed ideas for solutions to bubbling problems.
Although I had to put in an extra hour or two to meet the deadline, it was one heck of a lesson and experience. Following this, the team came much closer and formed a special bond.
Accounting Interview Question & Answer Q9. How can you mitigate the errors in the accounting profession?
Accounting is an exclusive play of numbers and formulas, which necessitates keenness to detail on your part. A single digit, here or there, can capsize the whole report.
How to answer?
Here, the paradigm of your detail orientation is the formula for success. Again, here you can apply the STAR technique to guide employers through the process. An in-depth explanation of the situation, task, action, and result will solve the purpose.
As per my conviction and experience, ensuring the mitigation of errors aligns with the workload on the employees. If one can handle the workload, the chances of erroneousness dissuade eventually.
As the team lead, I try my best to oversee the work each teammate is handling and if there is any excessive workload beyond their limits. Through the process of weekly meetings, I delegate tasks as per their strengths and weaknesses.
Accounting Interview Question & Answer Q10. Why do you want to work in our company?
Come to the most integral accounting interview questions, which will show up in any company you apply for. Without any doubt, accounting brightens plenty of avenues to chase. From a non-profit organization to a specific corporation, you have a slew of opportunities to opt.
Culling downing from a wide variety, an employer would want to know why you want to affiliate with their company.
How to Answer?
This is the point when you bridge the gap between your professional goals and the company’s ethics. Indeed, the answer to this question fluctuates from company to company. For this very purpose, thorough research about the company will empower you to weave an incredible answer.
How to carry forward with the research part? It’s quite simple! Skim and scan their website, social media, work commitments, and any more relatable data you can find. Converge their expectations and work ethics with your own career goals. You are ready to roll!
Ultimately, you have to portray how you are a precise fit for the job. Concerning this, you show your best 3-4 skills, which will prove provocative as an asset for the company. At any rate, make sure to indoctrinate a prudent answer for such accounting interview questions.
I have been following the ABC company for quite some time, waiting for a suitable opportunity. The level of integrity and work ethic at your company makes me want to be a part of it. When I saw an opening for an audit accountant, I just couldn’t let it go. With my experience and competence, I believe I will prove a worthwhile asset to your company.
Wrap it up!
Preparation and confidence are the determinant pre-requisite factors to crack any interview. These most important accounting interview questions will help you sail through the interview process and let you embrace your dream job.
Wish you all the luck with the interview!
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