How to Answer the 10 Most Common Accounting Interview Questions
So your brilliantly composed resume, professionally written by experts, has landed you an interview for your dream accounting job. Job interviews are difficult and stressful no matter the position, and you’ll be competing against lots of other aspiring accountants, as well. While each interviewer will ask different questions, we’ve compiled a list of the ten accounting interview questions you can expect. Answer them honestly, but preparing your answers in advance should give you an edge.
1. Are you familiar with accounting standards?
If you have familiarity with some standards, answer this accounting interview question by specifying which ones and further explaining the depth of your knowledge in the standards, as well as their relevance to the position you’re applying for and how you plan to keep your knowledge up to date.
If you’re not familiar with any standards, don’t just say no. Instead, inform your interviewer that while your experience is limited, you’re eager to learn.
2. Which accounting applications do you have experience using?
Given the abundance of accounting software, no one has mastered every program. However, this accounting job interview question is an opportunity for you to display a wide range of knowledge and familiarity with different accounting software packages. It’s better to have a solid working knowledge of a few rather than basic skills in many or complete mastery of only one. So if you can use only one accounting program, take some time before the interview to learn about which programs are highly reputable and dabble in learning some new ones. Your eagerness to learn should impress the accounting interviewer.
3. In your estimation, what is the biggest challenge accountants face these days?
You could answer this question in any number of ways, and the accounting job interviewer asking the question isn’t looking for a specific answer. Rather, this question is your chance to demonstrate a sophisticated and polished familiarity with accounting and its current landscape. Take some time before the interview to formulate an articulate answer that highlights your expertise in the field.
4. Tell me about a time you helped reduce costs at your job.
One of the key reasons businesses hire accountants is to reduce costs, so your answer to this accounting interview question is critical. Use it to emphasize innovative approaches you’ve taken to benefit your employers. Show the interviewer that you rise beyond your job duties to creatively solve company problems. Have the figures ready should the interviewer request details.
5. What measures do you take to ensure accuracy and minimize errors?
In accounting, precision is a top priority. Accounting job interviewers ask this question to gauge your dedication to error-free work. Describe in detail the methods you use to maximize accuracy, explaining any situations where you averted a potentially major error. Emphasize your commitment to double-checking your work.
6. Describe a situation where you had to explain complicated accounting matters to a colleague in another department.
By asking this question, accounting job interviewers wish to determine your communication skills and how well you can explain complex accounting matters to laypeople. Here, you should highlight your communication and storytelling skills, as well as your capabilities for teamwork, patience, and teaching. The interviewer wants to know if you can reliably and cooperatively work with colleagues who have little to no accounting knowledge.
7. Tell me about a time where you took the lead and worked particularly hard to deliver exceptional service to a client.
Take some time to reflect and recall an ideal response to this accounting interview question. Companies are interested in accountants who can address problems before they arise and who take measures to ensure the best possible experience for the client. Describe instances in which your superiors implemented suggestions you offered and the actions you took to make the client happy. Emphasize your dedication to the perfect customer experience.
8. Describe a situation where you met a demanding deadline to finish a financial report.
Through this question, your accounting job interviewer is trying to determine how well you work under pressure. Reflect carefully on the question before the interview and make sure not to exaggerate details, as doing so could make you appear ingenuine. If you don’t have a suitable work example, you can use a story from university or another area of your life—any story where you emerged victorious against intense time pressure is appropriate.
9. What was the scope of your work at previous firms?
The nature of your work depends on the size of the firm, so there’s no right or wrong answer to this accounting interview question. At bigger organizations, accountants typically specialize in more narrow domains, while accountants at smaller firms may have to juggle a wider range of responsibilities. Whatever your answer, make sure to emphasize your skills more than simply the scope of your work.
10. What kind of work environment do you thrive in?
The “right” answer to this interview question depends on the company, as some businesses prefer accountants who work well in a team, while others look for candidates who can provide superb accounting services independently. Of course, either type of recruiter would be thrilled about an accountant who can do both. Make sure you understand the nature of the position you’re applying for so that you can best highlight your relevant skills.
An interview for an accounting position will likely include general job interview questions, as well, so be sure to study up on typical questions so you can field them expertly. We offer mock interview services as part of our job success packages to help you prepare. If you’re still at the resume stage and are just dreaming of getting an interview, work on polishing your resume to best highlight your skills. Need professional assistance? ProofreadingServices.com’s expert resume writers can draft a top-notch accounting resume for you.