Top 10 Questions for an Accounting Job Interview
During your accounting interview, it’s important to show off both your job-related skills and your knowledge of the accounting field. Employers who are interested in hiring you want to know how you work and how you might fit into their company. Questions for an Accounting Job Interview
Before your interview, look at the job description to find out what kind of person the employer is looking for. If you do this, you’ll be able to talk about any needed skills, qualities, or experience in your answers. To show that you’re the right person for the job, give examples that show not only your professional skills and accomplishments but also your personality.
In this article, we look at 10 common accounting questions and give examples of how to answer them. You can use these examples to help you come up with your own answers that best show off your qualifications for an accounting job.
Top 10 questions for an accounting job interview
We have put together a list of common accounting interview questions and sample answers to help you get ready for your interview.
1. Do you know how to use different kinds of accounting software?
The interviewer may ask you this to see if you have used their accounting software before or if you can quickly learn new software. Instead of just talking about the software you know the most about, choose a few to talk about. Include the programs you’ve used most recently or the ones you’re most familiar with.
Example: “I’ve used FreshBooks for more than five years and a custom accounting program for more than two. Both of these were used by my last employer. I’ve also done other things with Zoho Books, NetSuite ERP, and FreeAgent. A friend in accounting recently told me about Gusto, so I’m finishing up an online training program for it right now.”
You may also be asked to say which program you think is the best and why. Studying new things that have happened with the programs you have worked with is a great way to get ready for this question.
Example: “When I worked for my last company, we had trouble with FreeAgent, so we switched to FreshBooks. It made my job so much easier because it was easy to use and I could make invoices that fit my needs, send automatic payment reminders, and add automatic late fees to invoices that were past due. After we started using FreshBooks, I was able to pay more attention to other important accounting tasks.”
2. What is the biggest problem that people who work in accounting have to deal with?
The interviewer wants to find out how much you know about the accounting field and the problems that accountants face. There is no right or wrong answer, but you should explain why you chose the answer you did. If you want to form an opinion on this topic, it can help to read recent news stories or trade magazines about it.
Example: “Even though technology makes it easier to automate more tasks, the constant changes can be hard to keep up with. As new technologies come out, it can be hard to figure out how to combine new accounting functions with other business processes. I have a lot of experience helping software developers change accounting programs so that they work well together and cause as little downtime as possible.
I would also say that the constantly changing tax codes have been and will continue to be a big problem for people who work in accounting. It seems like as soon as we learn how to follow one set of rules, new ones are put in place. But any real accountant knows that this is a challenge that comes with the job.”
3. Have you ever made up your own way to do accounting?
This is a yes or no question, but you should explain more. If you say “no,” talk about a process you helped create or change in a past job to show how creative you are. If you say “yes,” be ready to explain the process you made and how it helped the company. If you can, try to measure your impact with numbers.
Example: “When I was the accounting manager at XYZ Company, I noticed that we missed late fee payments all the time because we were too far behind to pay them on time. Even if a client paid their bill more than 30 days late, there was no late fee.
I put together a group to figure out how to solve this problem. We decided to switch to FreshBooks, which lets us add late fees to invoices automatically. This not only made us 1% more money, but it also made our cash flow better because clients were more likely to pay their bills on time.”
4.Can you explain what the three financial statements are and what they mean?
Balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements are the most important parts of accounting. In your answer, describe each statement and how it works in detail.
Example: “Different companies’ financial statements can look very different, but they all show the same kind of information. A balance sheet shows what a company owes, what it owns, and what its shareholders own. A cash flow statement shows where the money comes from, such as from financing, running the business, and making investments. On the income statement, there is a detailed list of how much money a company makes and how much it spends.”
5. Give an example of how you cut costs in a previous job.
Accountants know more about how a business is doing financially than anyone else in the business. So, they can find operational costs that are too high. A good answer to this question shows how you have used your analytical and problem-solving skills to cut costs without hurting customer service.
Example: “I’ve seen companies sign up for a service, use it for a month or two, and then move on to another service without canceling their membership to the first service. When you add up duplicate services, services that aren’t used, and software licenses that aren’t used, you can lose tens of thousands of dollars every year.
After seeing that we were spending a lot of money on services at my last job, I decided to do an audit. I went to each department and talked to the people there about the services they were using. We paid for 100 different services, but only 57 of them were being used. Out of those 57, 15 of them were basically doing the same thing. Overall, we cut the number of services from 100 to 42. This cut our operating costs by 4% per year, saving us $2,575 per month.”
6. How can you make it less likely that people will make mistakes in the accounting department?
As a person who works in accounting, you need to be able to notice small things. Show how organized you are and how well you can pay attention to small details. Use examples from past jobs to show that you have this skill. You can use the STAR technique to answer this kind of situational interview question by explaining the situation, the task, what you did, and the result.
Example: “I think the best way to cut down on mistakes made by people in the accounting department is to make sure that everyone on the team can handle their work. As an accounting manager in charge of a big department, I try to get to know my employees well so I can figure out how much work they can take on. I have meetings every week to figure out how to give people work based on their strengths and weaknesses. Even though I think people should be challenged, I try not to give them too much, and I’ll talk to you if I think we need to hire more people to make sure that different jobs are done well.”
7.What’s more important when it comes to accounting software: the price or the features?
Even though the question asks you to pick one of the options, a good answer combines them. This plan shows that you know that the price of software doesn’t always tell you how well it works and that the opposite is also true.
Example: “Accounting software doesn’t have to choose between price and features anymore, thanks to advances in technology. If you do enough research, you can find software for $250 per month that works just as well as software that costs $2,000 per year. It really depends on how a business works and what its accounting needs are.
If you give me a list of your accounting needs or if I need to make one after looking at how your business works, I can do research to find a software program that fits well within your budget and still does everything you need. There’s no reason to give up functionality just to save money.”
8. What’s the difference between accounting for executives and accounting for the public?
It’s important to give examples of both executive accounting and public accounting when answering this question. From there, it’s easy to show what’s different about the two.
Example: “Executive accounting is a type of accounting that businesses that provide services to customers use. Public accounting uses CPAs and audits to help businesses evaluate their financial records and keep track of who is responsible for what. Most public accountants have worked in more than one industry, while most executive accountants have only worked in one industry. Another big difference is that CPA certification is required for public accountants but not for private accountants.”
9. Do you know what it means to carry out a project?
Project implementation is important if you want to do your accounting tasks as quickly and effectively as possible. Make sure you write down each part in the right order.
“There are six key parts to putting a project into action: figuring out what needs to be done, coming up with ideas, screening them, doing a feasibility study, developing the project, putting it into action, and keeping an eye on it.”
10. Why are you interested in working for us?
As an accountant, you often have a lot of job options in many different fields. Since there are so many different jobs to choose from, the hiring manager may want to know why you are interested in this one. In a good answer, you explain why you think the company would be a good fit for you.
Spend some time learning about the company’s core values, mission, and goals. You should think about how your professional goals and values match up with the organization’s.
Example: “I did a lot of research on your company, and I know that your current employees are happy with their jobs. Not only does this place seem like a great fit for me in terms of culture, but your mission statement also fits with how I work. I’ve also heard that your company gives back to the community. I’m all for making our town the best it can be, especially since I’m raising my family here.”