Interview

22 Accounting Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from an accounting professional, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Every business, regardless of size or industry, needs accountants to keep track of its financials. From small businesses that need someone to handle their day-to-day bookkeeping to large corporations that require a team of accountants, the need for accounting professionals is always there.

If you’re interested in becoming an accountant, it’s important to start preparing for job interviews now. One of the best ways to do this is to familiarize yourself with the most common accounting interview questions and answers. In this guide, we’ll provide you with a list of questions and answers that will help you shine during your interview.

Why are you looking for a new position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your career goals. They want to know if you are looking for a new position because you’re unhappy with your current job or because you want to advance in your accounting career. Before your interview, think about why you are looking for a new job and what you hope to achieve by getting the role. Try to show that you have clear intentions for applying to their company.

Example: “I am looking for a new position because I feel like my current employer is no longer challenging me. I would love to work at a company where I can use my skills to help the business grow. I also believe that I could be an asset to your team because of my dedication to accuracy and detail.”

How did you learn about this job opening?

Employers ask this question to learn about your research process. They want to know that you are actively looking for accounting jobs and not just waiting for them to come to you. In your answer, explain how you found the job listing and what attracted you to it. If you have a background in accounting, mention any connections you may have with the company or recruiter.

Example: “I saw this position on the Accounting Degree Jobs website. I was immediately interested because of my background in finance and my interest in working for a small business. I noticed that you were hiring someone with five years of experience, so I reached out to the recruiter to see if they could send me more information about the role.”

Do you have questions about the company?

This question is a great way to show your interest in the company and how much you know about it. Before your interview, research the company thoroughly so that you can ask intelligent questions. Your interviewer will likely be impressed if you have thoughtful questions about their business.

Example: “I was looking through your website before my interview, and I noticed that you are a fairly new company. I am curious as to why you decided to start this business. Also, what do you think has been the most successful aspect of your company?”

What is your current salary?

Employers ask this question to determine if you are asking for a salary that is too high or low. They also want to know how much they would have to pay you in order to attract the best accounting professionals. When answering this question, be honest about your current salary and explain why it’s appropriate for your experience level. If you’re looking for a higher salary, emphasize your value as an employee.

Example: “I currently make $50,000 per year at my current job. I feel like this is a fair salary for someone with my experience level. However, I am hoping to find a new job where I can earn more money.”

Are you currently in talks with other companies?

Employers ask this question to make sure you’re not currently in talks with other companies. If they offer you a job, they want to be the first one to tell you about it and have you accept their offer. They also want to know that if they hire you, you won’t leave them for another company.

Example: “No, I’m not currently in talks with any other companies. I’ve been looking for an accounting position for quite some time now, so when I saw your listing, I applied right away.”

How long have you worked in accounting?

This question can help the interviewer determine your experience level. If you have a lot of experience, they may ask more advanced questions. If you are new to accounting, they might ask simpler questions. Use your answer to highlight your relevant skills and experiences.

Example: “I’ve worked in accounting for five years now. I started as an entry-level accountant at my current company where I learned how to use financial software and perform basic bookkeeping tasks. After two years, I became a junior accountant and was responsible for helping senior accountants with their projects. Now that I am a senior accountant myself, I lead teams of other accountants.”

What kinds of accounting software do you have experience using?

This question can help the interviewer determine your level of experience with accounting software. It’s important to show that you have a basic understanding of how different types of accounting software work and what they’re used for. You can list out the specific software programs you’ve worked with in the past, but it’s also helpful to mention which ones you prefer over others.

Example: “In my last role as an accountant, I primarily used QuickBooks Pro and Xero. I find both of these systems easy to use and understand, so I would be comfortable using either one. However, I do prefer working with QuickBooks because it has more features than Xero.”

Can you explain some of the common terminology you use in your work?

This question is a great way to test your knowledge of accounting terms and the processes you use in your work. When answering this question, it can be helpful to list some of the most common terms and explain what they mean or how you use them.

Example: “Some of the most common terminology I use are debits and credits, which are used to record financial transactions. Another term I use often is journal entries, which are recorded in journals that show all the financial activity for a company. A trial balance is another important concept I use when working with accounts receivable and payable.”

What accounting qualifications do you have?

Employers ask this question to see if you have the necessary qualifications for the job. They want someone who has a background in accounting and can do the work required of them. When answering, list your education and certifications. If you don’t have any formal training or certification, explain what experience you have instead.

Example: “I have an associate’s degree in accounting from City College. I also passed my CPA exam last year, so I am now a certified public accountant.”

What is an audit, and how often have you performed one?

Audits are an important part of accounting, and the interviewer may ask this question to see if you have experience with them. Audits can be a large part of your job as an accountant, so it’s important that you’re comfortable performing them. In your answer, try to explain what an audit is and how often you’ve performed one in the past.

Example: “An audit is when I examine financial records for accuracy and compliance with regulations. At my last job, I performed audits twice a year. The first was at the end of the fiscal year, and the second was after we filed our taxes.”

Describe a time when you identified and solved a problem at work.

This question can help the interviewer determine your problem-solving skills and how you apply them to your work. Use examples from previous jobs that highlight your ability to identify a problem, research its cause and implement solutions.

Example: “At my last job, I noticed our accounting software was taking longer than usual to process transactions. This caused delays in reporting financial data to management and shareholders. After discussing this with my supervisor, we decided to upgrade our software. We also hired an additional accountant to help manage the increased workload while we were transitioning to the new system.”

Tell me about a time you made a mistake at work. How did you fix it?

Employers ask this question to see how you respond to mistakes. They want to know that you are willing to admit your errors and learn from them. In your answer, try to explain what steps you took to fix the mistake and prevent it from happening again in the future.

Example: “When I first started my accounting job, I was responsible for entering all of our company’s financial data into a spreadsheet every night. One day, I forgot to enter one piece of information into the spreadsheet before submitting it to my manager. My manager noticed the missing information when she reviewed the spreadsheet later that day. She asked me why it wasn’t there, and I explained that I had forgotten to add it. She told me not to submit any more spreadsheets until I fixed the error. I went back through all of my previous spreadsheets and found the same error on each one. Then, I entered the missing information into each spreadsheet and submitted them to my manager.”

How would you handle working with difficult clients and coworkers?

This question can help interviewers assess your interpersonal skills and ability to work with others. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific situation where you had to work with someone who was difficult or challenging.

Example: “I have worked with many different clients in my career, some of whom were more challenging than others. I always try to remain professional when working with them, but if they are being particularly difficult, I will speak with them about their behavior. If the client is upset or angry, I will listen to what they have to say and offer solutions to their problems. If the coworker is acting out, I will also talk to them about their behavior and ask them to stop.”

How would you convince a client to see things your way?

This question is a great way to test your problem-solving skills and ability to communicate with clients. Your answer should show the interviewer that you can be persuasive without being aggressive or disrespectful.

Example: “I would first try to understand why they disagree with my assessment of their financial situation. I would then explain how our accounting services have helped other businesses in similar situations, and I would offer to meet with them again after we’ve implemented our plan to see if there are any improvements. If they still disagree with our findings, I would ask for permission to discuss the matter with senior management.”

If you saw something suspicious on an account ledger or report, what would you do?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you would react to a challenging situation at work. Use your answer to highlight your critical thinking skills and ability to make decisions in a timely manner.

Example: “If I saw something suspicious on an account ledger or report, I would first try to find out if it was just a mistake. If I couldn’t resolve the issue quickly, I would bring it up with my supervisor so they could decide what action to take. In some cases, we may need to contact law enforcement depending on the severity of the issue. As an accountant, I understand that it’s important to maintain accurate records for our clients.”

How would you help a new employee understand complicated accounting terms and concepts?

This question can help interviewers assess your ability to communicate with others and explain complex ideas. Use examples from previous experiences where you helped coworkers or employees understand accounting concepts, terminology or processes.

Example: “When I first started working in accounting, I was confused by some of the terms my manager used during our meetings. She noticed that I was having a hard time understanding what she was saying and offered to give me an overview of all the important accounting terms we would use throughout the year. We met for 30 minutes once a week so she could explain each term and its meaning. This helped me learn more about the company’s financials and prepared me for future meetings.”

How do you stay calm during high-stress situations?

Accounting is a high-stress job, and employers ask this question to make sure you have the right personality for their company. They want someone who can stay calm under pressure and focus on getting the work done. In your answer, explain how you manage stress in accounting situations. Share some techniques that help you remain focused and productive during stressful times.

Example: “I find it helpful to take short breaks throughout the day. I also practice deep breathing exercises when I feel stressed or overwhelmed. These small things help me get through tough days at work. Another thing I do is set realistic goals each day. This helps me prioritize my tasks and makes sure I’m always making progress.”

What steps would you take to improve our accounting processes?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you would apply your skills to benefit their company. Use examples from your experience that show you understand accounting processes and are willing to make improvements where needed.

Example: “I recently worked with a small business that had no formal accounting system in place, so I helped them set up an accounting software program and trained employees on its use. This allowed the company to keep track of all financial transactions and provided valuable information for budgeting purposes. In my previous role, we also used this same accounting software, but I noticed it was taking longer than usual to generate reports. After some research, I found out that our server was running low on memory. So, I updated the server’s settings to increase the amount of available memory.”

How important is teamwork to you?

Teamwork is an important skill for accounting professionals. Employers ask this question to make sure you understand the importance of teamwork and how it can help you succeed in their company. When answering, explain that teamwork is essential to your success as an accountant. Explain that you are willing to work with others to achieve common goals.

Example: “Teamwork is extremely important to me because I know it’s a key factor in my success. In my previous role, I worked on a team of five accountants who all had different strengths. We would often collaborate to solve problems or complete projects. I enjoy collaborating with other professionals to find solutions to challenges.”

How do you balance work and family responsibilities?

Employers may ask this question to learn more about your work ethic and commitment. They want to know that you can balance multiple responsibilities while still performing well at work. In your answer, share how you plan your time so you can meet all of your obligations. You can also mention any strategies you use to help you manage your time effectively.

Example: “I have a planner where I write down my daily tasks and appointments. This helps me stay organized and on track with everything I need to do each day. I also set aside specific times during the week when I focus solely on work-related projects. For example, I try to complete all work-related tasks before 3 p.m. each day. This allows me to spend the rest of the afternoon focusing on family activities.”

What’s the most challenging project you’ve worked on?

This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of your problem-solving skills. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a project that you were able to complete successfully despite its challenges and how you overcame those challenges.

Example: “The most challenging project I’ve worked on was when my company wanted me to create an accounting system for their new online store. This meant I had to learn about ecommerce accounting software and integrate it into our existing accounting software. It took some time to figure out how to do this, but once I did, I created a spreadsheet that allowed us to track all of our sales and expenses in one place.”

When was the last time you took on a leadership role?

Employers ask this question to see if you have experience leading a team. This can be especially important in accounting, as many accountants work with other financial professionals and need to lead them through projects. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention any leadership roles you’ve had in the past. You can also talk about what skills helped you succeed in that role.

Example: “In my last job, I was one of two senior accountants. We both worked on different aspects of each project, but we often collaborated to solve problems. I found that being organized and detail-oriented were key skills for me when working with my colleague. These skills allowed me to help my colleague understand complex issues and find solutions.”

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