20 Accountant Interview Questions and Answers
Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from an accountant, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.
Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from an accountant, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.
Are you looking for a job in accounting? Do you want to make sure you are ready for the interview? In this article, we will go over some of the most common questions asked in an accountant job interview. We will also provide some tips on how to answer these questions.
The questions in an accountant interview can vary depending on the level of the position you are interviewing for. For example, if you are interviewing for an entry-level accounting position, you may be asked questions about your experience with bookkeeping or your knowledge of double-entry bookkeeping. If you are interviewing for a more senior-level position, you may be asked more in-depth questions about your experience with auditing or financial analysis.
No matter what level of position you are interviewing for, you will likely be asked about your experience with accounting software, such as QuickBooks or Peachtree. You may also be asked questions about your experience with tax preparation software, such as TurboTax or H&R Block.
In this article, we will go over some of the most common questions asked in an accountant job interview. We will also provide some tips on how to answer these questions.
Employers ask this question to learn more about your interests and personality. They want to know if you have any accounting experience outside of the classroom, so they may also ask what classes you took that were related to accounting.
Example: “My favorite class was Intro to Accounting because I found it interesting how all the numbers fit together. It’s like a puzzle, but there are so many pieces that make up the whole picture. My second-favorite class was Business Law because I enjoy learning about laws and regulations.”
This question can help the interviewer determine your experience with accounting processes and procedures. Use examples from previous work to highlight your budgeting skills, including how you prepared budgets for clients or companies and what steps you took to ensure accurate financial records.
Example: “In my last position as an accountant at a small business, I helped prepare monthly budgets for our company’s operations. We used these budgets to track our spending against projected revenue so we could make adjustments if needed. I also worked with management to create annual budgets that included projections for revenue growth and expenses. These long-term plans helped us understand where we were financially and plan for future needs.”
Employers may ask this question to see if you have the credentials they’re looking for. If they don’t require a CPA, they might want someone who has another certification in accounting or finance. They may also be trying to determine how long it took you to get your credential and whether you are likely to stay with their company for a while.
Example: “I do have my CPA license. I passed both parts of the exam on my first try. I am also an Enrolled Agent, which means that I can represent taxpayers before the IRS. I’ve been working as an accountant for five years now.”
Interviewers ask this question to see how you handle conflict and work with others. They want to know that you can collaborate with your coworkers, even if they’re not always agreeable. In your answer, try to show that you have the ability to communicate effectively and resolve conflicts.
Example: “I once had a coworker who was very critical of my work. I tried to be patient with them at first, but after several weeks of their criticism, I decided it would be best to talk to them about it. We scheduled a time to meet in person so we could discuss our differences without interruptions. After talking through our issues, we were able to come up with a compromise where I would do some things differently and they would stop criticizing me.”
Accountants often work with clients and other members of their team. Employers ask this question to make sure you have strong communication skills. Use your answer to show that you can write clearly, speak confidently and listen actively.
Example: “I always try to communicate in a way that’s clear and concise. I know that sometimes accounting terms are confusing, so I take the time to explain things thoroughly. If someone still doesn’t understand, I’ll find another way to say it until they do. I also make sure to be available when my colleagues or clients need me. I respond quickly to emails and phone calls, and I hold weekly meetings with my team to stay on top of projects.”
Accountants often have a lot of tasks to complete in one day. Employers ask this question to see if you can manage your time well and prioritize the most important tasks first. Use your answer to show that you know how to plan your workday effectively. Explain what steps you take to make sure you get all your work done on time.
Example: “I always start my day by checking my email inbox, calendar and any other notifications I may have received overnight. This helps me stay organized and ensures I don’t miss anything important. Then, I review my daily task list for the day and decide which assignments are most urgent. I try to tackle those right away so they’re out of the way. After that, I move onto the next-most urgent tasks and continue working through my list until it’s time to leave.”
This question is a great way to test your communication skills and ability to simplify complex information. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think of a time you had to explain something complicated to someone who wasn’t familiar with the terminology.
Example: “When explaining accounting terms to non-technical audiences, I find that using analogies or examples are the most effective ways to help them understand what I’m talking about. For example, when working on a client’s financial statements, I would explain how assets, liabilities and equity work by comparing them to a family budget. This helps my clients better understand the process and gives them an idea of how their finances compare to others.”
Accountants need to stay up-to-date on the latest accounting policies and procedures. Employers ask this question to make sure you have a passion for learning new things in your field. In your answer, explain that you are always looking for ways to improve your skills as an accountant. Explain how you use online resources or attend conferences to learn about these developments.
Example: “I am passionate about my career as an accountant. I love learning new things every day. To keep up with the latest developments in accounting policy and technology, I subscribe to several professional journals and newsletters. I also take advantage of free webinars offered by many companies. I find that these resources help me understand the most recent changes in tax law.”
This question is a great way to show your interviewer that you have the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in this role. It also shows them that you are willing to go above and beyond for the company, which can help you stand out from other candidates. When answering this question, make sure to highlight some of the most important aspects of accounting and how they relate to the success of the company.
Example: “I would start by making sure all financial records were organized and up-to-date. I would then ensure that any reports or documents needed by management were completed on time. Finally, I would work with management to create new ways to save money and increase revenue.”
This question can help the interviewer understand your perspective on accounting and how you approach challenges. Your answer can also show the interviewer that you are aware of what is involved in being an accountant, which can be helpful if this role is new to you.
Example: “The most challenging aspect of accounting for me is when I have to work with a client who doesn’t understand why they need to follow certain financial procedures or rules. It’s important to educate clients about their finances so they know how to manage them effectively, but sometimes it can be difficult to explain complex processes in ways that are easy to understand. To overcome this challenge, I try to use analogies and examples that my clients can relate to.”
This question is a great way for employers to learn more about your experience and how you’ve overcome challenges in the past. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe an error that was relatively minor but still required some effort on your part to fix.
Example: “In my first year as an accountant, I made the mistake of entering data into the wrong column when calculating a client’s taxes. This led to them owing much more than they should have, which caused me to spend several hours re-entering all of the information correctly. While it was a simple mistake, it taught me the importance of double-checking everything I enter.”
The IRS tax code is a set of rules that govern how taxpayers file their taxes. The interviewer may ask this question to see if you have any ideas for improving the current system. In your answer, explain what you would change and why. Show that you understand the current system and can use it effectively.
Example: “I think one thing I’d do is make sure all businesses are required to report their financial information electronically. This would help the IRS save money on printing costs and ensure they get accurate information from companies. Another thing I’d do is create more specific guidelines for small business owners who need to hire an accountant. Right now, there’s no clear way to determine which expenses should be reported as deductions.”
Employers ask this question to make sure you can balance your work and personal life. They want to know that you will be able to complete all of your tasks while also maintaining a healthy lifestyle outside of work. In your answer, explain how you plan to manage your time so you can meet deadlines without sacrificing your health or relationships.
Example: “I have always been someone who prioritizes my health and well-being. I find that if I am feeling energized and happy, it makes me more productive at work. To maintain a healthy balance between work and home, I try to leave work by 5 p.m. every day. On weekends, I like to spend time with friends and family, but I also use the time to relax and recharge for the upcoming week.”
This question is a great way to see how an accountant thinks about their role in the business world. It also shows that you are aware of what’s going on in your industry and can adapt to changes as they happen. When answering this question, it’s important to show that you understand the importance of accounting and how it affects businesses.
Example: “I think the role of an accountant is changing because more companies are moving toward automation. This means that accountants will have less work to do but will need to be able to use new technology to complete tasks. I am excited for this change because it means I’ll get to spend more time with my family while still being able to provide value to the company.”
Accountants often need to manage multiple projects at once. Employers ask this question to learn more about your project management skills and how you plan out your work. Before your interview, think of a time when you used effective project management methods. Explain what steps you took to ensure that you met deadlines and stayed organized.
Example: “I use the SMART method for planning my projects. This stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. I find this method very helpful because it helps me stay on track with my goals. For example, if I’m working on a budgeting project, I will set clear objectives for myself. These objectives should be measurable so I can see whether or not I am making progress. I also like to make sure that these objectives are relevant to the overall goal of the project. Finally, I always try to keep my tasks within a reasonable amount of time.”
This question can help the interviewer assess your critical thinking skills and ability to analyze information. Use examples from past experiences where you assessed credibility, evaluated data or determined whether financial reports were accurate.
Example: “In my last role as an accountant, I was responsible for reviewing all incoming invoices before they were entered into our accounting software. If there were any discrepancies between what the invoice stated and the actual delivered product, I would contact the vendor to resolve the issue. This helped me ensure that we only paid vendors for products that were actually delivered.”
Accountants are responsible for maintaining the accuracy of financial records, which can be a complex process. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience with preventing errors in your work and understand how important it is to maintain accurate records. In your answer, explain what steps you take to ensure you’re not making any mistakes when working on accounting tasks.
Example: “I always triple-check my work before submitting it to clients or managers. I also use software that helps me catch common errors like transposed numbers or incorrect math equations. Another way I prevent errors is by taking time to thoroughly read through documents and spreadsheets before entering data into them.”
This question is a great way for employers to learn about your experience level with accounting software. If you have previous experience using specific programs, be sure to mention which ones and what kind of work you did with them.
Example: “I’ve used several different accounting software in my past positions, including QuickBooks, FreshBooks and Xero. I find that each program has its own unique features, but they all help me complete the same tasks. For example, I use QuickBooks to manage client accounts, create invoices and track expenses. With FreshBooks, I can send out estimates and record payments. Finally, Xero helps me keep track of inventory and sales.”
Accountants often work on multiple projects at once. Employers ask this question to learn more about your organizational skills and how you prioritize tasks. In your answer, explain the steps you take when starting a new project. Explain that you plan out your time so you can complete all of your work in a timely manner.
Example: “I always start by reading through any documents I receive from my manager or client. This helps me understand what information I need to record and calculate. Next, I create an outline for each task I need to complete. This allows me to stay organized while working on several different projects at once. Finally, I set aside time every day to work on these tasks. I find that this method ensures I am able to complete all of my work within the deadline.”
Accountants often work with clients, so employers ask this question to make sure you have experience interacting with clients. Use your answer to highlight a few ways you’ve helped clients in the past and explain how those experiences benefited them.
Example: “I once worked with a client who was having trouble understanding their financial statements. I met with them one-on-one to go over each line item on their statement and explained what it meant. This allowed them to understand their finances better and gave them confidence that they were making good decisions with their money. They ended up referring me to several of their friends because of my helpful advice.”