How Do You Handle Challenging Situations Or Difficult Conversations With Others
Accountants dont work in silos and will be working with internal or external clients to get the books in order. There may be times when you encounter a discrepancy with a client or when an account reconciliation is inaccurate and you have to confront your colleague about the error. Recruiters want to see that you have no issue handling difficult conversations and are efficient at quickly solving problems that may arise, especially if youre under a tight deadline. Be sure to avoid badmouthing your company or colleagues as this could reflect poorly on you as a future employee or coworker.
Top 3 Accounting Interview Questions
Now that you have a strategy to answer accounting interview questions, you might be feeling pretty pumped. Having a great approach feels good, no doubt about it. But that doesnt mean a few examples wont help.
Here are the top 3 accounting interview questions youll probably face and tips for answering them.
What Is Your Management Style
This is designed to establish that you are more than just numbers oriented. The interviewer wants to know what you have done to contribute to the team environment. So, give examples of teamwork, such as where youve stepped in to help others, how you communicate to team members and/or how youve motivated them in difficult times.
Its also good if you can show that you can work with different teams. You may be pulled in to work with other teams operating in a very different field.
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What Is The Top Challenge Facing Those In The Accounting Field
The interviewer wants to assess your knowledge of the accounting industry, including the challenges that accountants face. There is no right or wrong answer, but it is important to provide a reasonable explanation for your answer. It can be helpful to read recent news articles or industry publications on this topic to form an opinion.
Example:”While technology definitely enhances our ability to automate various tasks, the never-ending advancements can be challenging. As new advancements take place, it can sometimes be difficult to integrate new accounting functions with other operational processes. I have extensive experience in helping software developers customize various accounting programs to ensure the integration is seamless and results in minimal to zero downtime.
I would also have to say that the ever-changing tax codes have always been and will continue to be a major challenge for those in the accounting field. It seems that as soon as we become familiar with one set of codes, new ones are implemented. However, this is a challenge that any true accountant understands is a part of the job.”
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Why Should I Hire You
Of all accounting interview questions, this is a great one to end on. The candidate is put in the spotlight to show their self-confidence and clearly break down why they are a cut above the rest and deserve a job in your business.
Communication skills will be put to the test here, the candidate should manage to explain their accounting accomplishments without boasting.
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Common Accounting Interview Questions
1. How do you manage explaining complex financial concepts or simplifying data for stakeholders?
Whether youre applying for a corporate, government, or tax accounting role, theres a high likelihood that youll need to be able to break down complex financial information at some point so its easy for managers, colleagues, or customers to understand.
With that in mind, explain how you extract key information and concepts and present them in a simplified format, such as a graph or chart. If possible, talk about a specific time youve done this in the past and the steps you took to make the information simple to comprehend by all stakeholders involved.
2. Which accounting tools and software are you familiar with?
There are hundreds of accounting tools and software programs out there, and its impossible to know them all inside and out. However, you should be able to show that you have a solid understanding of some of the most widely used tools and which ones are most effective for different situations.
Even if you havent used a specific application that is included in a job listing, research its use and test it out yourself before the interview so that you can show you have a basic understanding of how it works.
3. What processes would you put in place to ensure the accuracy of your data?
4. Tell me about a time youve developed or improved an accounting process.
5. How have you helped reduce costs or better use available financial resources in the past?
What Is Your Technical Experience With Accounting Software
The interviewer will ask this question to assess your experience using accounting tools and software in your day-to-day work. Bonus points if you have experience using the specific software that the company youre interviewing with uses. Some companies use common industry software while others might have customized softwarethis varies by company size and industry.
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If A Client Emails You Asking For Something That Is Outside Of Your Skill Level How Would You Handle It
What are you assessing?
Teamwork, client focus.
How do you handle this question?
Their answer will give you insight into the type of accountant and team player they will be. How will they communicate with clients? How will they respect and communicate with your team?
I always ask candidates to describe their pantry at homeit sounds like a very weird question, but asking this helps me to understand whether they are a organized person or not. Steph HindsGrowthwise
How Do You Feel About Working With Other Accountants On A Daily Basis Can You Give Me An Example That Demonstrates Your Teamwork Skills
Accountants perform mathematical calculations that contribute to paychecks, tax returns and financial statements. Being able to work with others and ask for assistance is an important trait for accountants, as it helps them catch and correct accounting errors. This question helps interviewers verify whether a candidate can work well with other accountants to uphold the accounting operations within their company. The candidate’s answer should emphasize:
- Team-oriented mindset
“I enjoy working with other accountants and finance professionals as we can check each other’s work and investigate discrepancies when comparing the total assets on the company balance sheet to total liabilities and shareholders’ equity. In my previous job, I worked with four other accountants. We divided accounting duties and took on additional work when someone was out sick. During tax season, we worked long hours, and it was super helpful to be part of a team as it made the processes faster and more efficient.”
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How Have You Led An Accounting Team To Success
Interview questions that identify hard and soft skills show you several aspects at once of your candidate. Finding someone who can easily work with and lead others is always going to one of the most important parts of the hiring process.
You should also expect a list of metrics and deliverables from past jobs in the candidates answer. Working well with a team is only valuable if you can prove it brought in money and was good for business.
What’s The Difference Between Private And Public Accounting
An interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your accounting knowledge. Give examples of each type of accounting, and highlight the differences between them. Consider mentioning the experience you have with both.
Example answer:’Private accountants generally work with one company and focus on internal affairs. A public accountant, however, works with multiple clients, including both companies and individuals. I have experience with both, and I enjoyed the unique challenges of both. In fact, I believe my time as a public accountant helped me become the successful private accountant I am today because I learned about so many industries.’
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Tell Me About A Time You Had A Measurable Impact On Your Previous Accounting Firm Or Last Job
What are you assessing?
Self-awareness, technical skills.
How do you handle this question?
You want staff who can think deeply about their role, can understand how what they do, and how they can drive your practice in the right direction.
Did they play a key role doubling client referrals? Or did they single-handedly redesign the client onboarding process to reduce the time it takes to under one month? If your candidate does not give you want, you need to ask for a concrete example so that you can assess the whole situation in context.
Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years
It is smart to ask accounting interview questions that cast a wide net. Ambition can be a great motivator for good work.
Someone who answers filling out more financial statements might not work with the same zeal and vigor as a candidate that is eager to start their own firm.
But be careful don’t hire someone who will leave your business at the first hint of a new opportunity.
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Do You Have Any Other Questions For Me
What are you assessing?
How much thought your candidate has put into the role, and how well they have prepared.
How do you handle this question?
This question is deceptively simple and ubiquitousbut you should not finish any interview without it. This will show how much thought your candidate has put into the role, how much they have researched your practice, and how badly they really want the job. If your candidate has no questions for you, that is a bad sign.
No interview should include all of the questions outlined here. The exact questions that you ask should depend on the position you are recruiting for. Think about the particular skills and characteristics that you want in your ideal candidate, and select the questions that will help you assess that. If you are recruiting for an admin role, your questions might revolve more around organization style, while if it is an accounting role, you would include more questions that are technical in nature.
It is important that you ask the same main questions of all your candidates. This will enable you to compare answers and decide on who will be the best to proceed to a second interview, and eventually hire.
As you ask these questions, pay attention to their body language and communication style. If they get nervous, would they be suitable for a client-facing role?
You can to keep, print, or upload into a Karbon piece of work.
What Processes Are You Most Familiar With In Accounting
Because accounting responsibilities can vary from one company to the next, hiring managers sometimes ask this question to understand exactly what type of work you have done and how that compares to the work you would do in a new company. A great answer is one that goes into depth about your past responsibilities. You should include the accounts that you’re responsible for or which parts of the financial statement you’re responsible for. This is also a great opportunity to share with the hiring manager any processes that you were involved with improving.
Answer:”In my last role, I was responsible for reviewing the general ledgers, posting closing journal entries and reconciling accounts. I also work closely with the leaders in my department to evaluate any unusual fluctuations in spending, particularly for high-risk accounts. While I do work for a large organization, I have developed strong working relationships with a group of our internal clients and I’m responsible for facilitating communication between the finance department and those clients.”
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Tips For Answering Accounting Interview Questions
Let us take a look at some important tips to answer accounting interview questions.
Accounting standards: Before the interview, ensure you are aware of all the basic accounting standards as knowing them is a basic requirement that a company has even when recruiting a fresher.
Accounting software: Today all the companies, big or small, make use of accounting software for a speedy and reliable process. Hence, it is important that you are well aware of how to use various accounting applications.
Narrate your experience: Utilize stories or your previous work experience to tell the employer about how you have helped your previous company reduce costs or gone out of your way to advise the management.
Be well prepared: Apart from preparing for the common interview questions, do some company research and read the job description carefully to understand if you meet the basic requirement of the tasks/skills required to get hired by the company.
Comprehension: Listen to all the questions carefully before answering. Dont jump on to answering before actually understanding what the recruiter is trying to question you on.
For further details, check out this article on interview preparation.
List Of Commonly Asked Accounting Interview Questions:
#1 Walk me through the three financial statements.
The balance sheet shows a companys assets, liabilities, and shareholders equity. The income statement outlines the companys revenues and expenses. The cash flow statement shows the cash flows from operating, investing, and financing activities.
#2 If I had only one statement and wanted to review the overall health of a company, which statement would I use and why?
Cash is king. The cash flow statement gives a true picture of how much cash the company is generating. That being said, its important to note that all three statements truly are required to get a full picture of the health of a company. Learn more about how the three financial statements are linked.
#3 What happens on the income statement if inventory goes up by $10?
Nothing. This is a trick question. The only impact will be on the balance sheet and cash flow statement.
#4 What is working capital?
Working capital is typically defined as current assets less current liabilities. In banking, working capital is normally defined more narrowly as current assets less current liabilities .
#5 What does having negative working capital mean?
#6 If cash collected from customers is not yet recorded as revenue, what happens to it?
It usually goes into Deferred Revenue on the balance sheet as a liability if the revenue has not been earned yet.
#7 Whats the difference between deferred revenue and accounts receivable?
#9 Under what circumstances does goodwill increase?
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What Strategies Do You Use To Detect Fraudulent Entries In A Journal Or Ledger
Accountants need to remain vigilant in fraud detection to protect the companys finances and values. The applicant should have familiarity in using a combination of software features and their own judgment to identify unusual or fraudulent patterns. What to look for in an answer:
- Understanding of common fraudulent behavior
- Familiarity with fraud monitoring tools
- Appropriate ethics
I use proactive monitoring features in the enterprise resource planning platform I use, alongside manual spot checks. The automated monitoring catches errors and anomalies that may indicate fraud. I conduct a thorough investigation and double-check the numbers to discover what happened.
What Would A Typical Workday Or Workweek Look Like For This Position
Asking this question during an interview can help you understand the role beyond what’s listed in the job description. As an accountant, your responsibilities may include preparing financial statements and tracking the financial progress of a project, so it may be helpful to know how much time you’re spending on each task during a normal workweek. This way, you can make sure that the part of the job you’re the most excited about is a part of your typical workday. You may also find this question helpful for having clear and outlined expectations before accepting the position.
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How To Make Your Big Opportunity Count
Generally, accounting interview questions will be a combination of queries about your specific skills and accountancy issues in general. If you are preparing for a job interview, its important to check out how your skills match the accountant job description. While the list of questions youll face depends on the sector and job title, we have complied a useful list of accounting questions and answers which are commonly asked.
If You Could Invite Three People Dead Or Alive To Dinner Who Would They Be And Why
What are you assessing?
Personality, ability to think quickly.
How do you handle this question?
This question will give you an insight into their interests and passions, and as a bonus, will help you assess how well they can think on their feet. This is a good question to ask early in an interviewit can help a candidate relax and allow you to find some common ground.
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What Methods Or Strategies Do You Use To Identify And Locate Fraudulent Entries
As an accounting major, you provide the company protection against fraud. A hiring manager may ask this question to ensure your ability to defend the business’s values and finances. To answer this question, show that you’re familiar with financial monitoring software and capable of identifying fraudulent patterns.
Example:”I always use a resource planning platform to monitor our functions and ensure that we’re catching anomalies. It is very important to me that we avoid fraudulent actions, accidental or otherwise. I also perform frequent manual checks to help guard against fraud in the accounting system.”
Can You Prepare A Budget Forecast If So What Is Your Process
A budget forecast is a tool used to determine the growth and optimization of a company. The interviewer is testing your knowledge of accounting principles with this question. Your response needs to be confident and assertive. You need to give a detailed answer and overview of your step-by-step process as evidence of your experience.
Example:Yes, I have prepared many budget forecasts. I understand the importance of being able to prepare one and have developed a comprehensive process to follow. In my previous firm, I helped prepare quarterly budget forecasts to monitor its growth and goal marks. My process is quite straightforward. It starts with.
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