Job of an accountant is popular everywhere in the world. Each company needs a good accountant. Big companies run entire accounting departments. There are many job openings for accountants, but it is not easy to succeed and land a job.
Competition is tough and you need to deal with difficult interview questions, as well as with practical exercises in an interview. Do you want to be ready for this challenge? Do you want to ace your accounting interview and get a job of an accountant? We hope to help you succeed. Welcome!
Many people apply for each accounting role. Most of them are well prepared. If you lack experience, or if your communication skills are far from good, it will be very difficult to make an impression on the interviewers.
However, once you understand what questions they use, once you know what is expected from you and understand few crucial interview strategies for accountants, you should be able to succeed. So, what to expect?
What questions can you expect in an accounting interview?
In every good company with quality HR, the base of interview processes consists in practical exercises and questions. Your brain cells will be challenged with some simple, but also with some difficult, accountancy tasks. You can also be asked to work with an accounting software. This is actually the best way to assess your real experience and skills. Interviewers can easily distinguish if you understand your job or if you can just talk about doing it.
What more, they will ask you several behavioral questions, in order to see how you coped with different problematic situations in the past. For example, how did you solve a conflict, if you were forced to work under pressure and how did you handle it, etc.
Few typical interview questions will be added to this healthy mixture. Questions such as why you want to be an accountant, what characterize a good accountant, what do you think is a goal of and accountant, etc.
If you want to succeed, you need to deal with all three groups of questions. However, with the help of our website and some additional research, you should be ready.
Other things are also important
To know the right answers to interview questions is a first cornerstone of success. However, you should not forget that interviewers observe way more than this.
They are watching your non-verbal communication too and try to assess if you have skills needed for every good accountant. What skills am I talking about?
- Computing skills (especially being knowledgeable about how to use corporate accounting software, if you’re applying at a large firm)
- Mathematical skills
- Detail oriented personality
In order to have a good chance to succeed, you should present yourself in an interview as a detail oriented, responsible and loyal employee. You can do it while answering questions, solving case studies, and doing other things in an interview. Try to stay calm and patient. Double check everything and approach every given task as responsibly as possible. Doing it this way, you have a good chance to convince them that you are an ideal accountant for their company…
Let’s have a look at the list of questions.
List of accountant interview questions
- Why do you want to become an accountant?
- What was the toughest accounting task you had to solve in your career so far?
- Why do you want to work in our company?
- Why should we hire you?
- Do you possess any knowledge of accounting standards?
- How do you ensure you make no mistakes in work?
- What characterize a good accountant from your point of view?
- Describe a stressful situation from work and how did you handle it?
- Describe a time when you helped to reduce costs at a previous accountant job.
- What do you think is a goal of an accountant in a company?
- When you hear an expression creative accounting, what do you imagine? How do you approach it?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What motivates you to do this routine job?
- Practical exercises
- Which accounting applications are you familiar with?
Do accountant interview questions differ in various companies?
Obviously, the interview processes differ in various companies, at least slightly. However, if one is trying to recruit a corporate accountant, he will not give him questions suitable for manager or bank teller.
That’s why the base of the interview will always be the same, just some details will differ.
For example, big companies may incorporate an IQ test, psychometry and other things in an interview, while smaller companies just rarely use these tools. In smaller companies, personal preferences can play a major role in the decision making process.
Furthermore, in big companies, you will probably need to get through the first screening interview, where they ask you only few personal questions, such as:
- Why accountant?
- Why our company?
- What motivates you?
- Your strengths and weaknesses?
- Your salary expectations?
Do not be afraid of this stage. You should speak openly and with enthusiasm. You should show clear intentions to work for them. That’s all you need to do to get through the first round of interviews.
Giving questions to the interviewers
Obviously, job interview is not a monologue. At least it should not be…
You should give an employer at least few questions, if you get a chance to do so. Good things to inquire about are working environment, software applications they use for accountancy purposes and the vision and goals of a company. We suggest you to not inquire about salary, especially in the first interview.
Talk of two human beings
At the end of the day, do not forget that every job interview is just a meeting of two people. Meeting of you and the interviewer. Try to approach it in a manner in which you should approach every another meeting with another human being… Be nice, smile, be friendly.
If there is a chance, do not hesitate to compliment the interviewer. You should simply try to create a good relationship with him, a professional one of course. Do not forget that especially nowadays, personal preferences matter a lot when people choose their new colleagues.
PS: If you want to learn from experienced finance recruitment consultant how to ace your interview for accounting position, we recommend you to have a look at Accountant Interview Guide from Caren Mayers, co-author of this website. Caren gives very detailed insights on each part of accounting interview. She helped hundreds of job seekers to land a job without any stress or difficulties. You can be another one…