How to Answer Tough Accountant Interview Questions?

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Accountant is working with pen and calculatorJob of an accountant is popular all around the world. But how to succeed in an interview? What questions to expect? How to make a good impression on your interviewers? And what decides the winner at the end of the interview session?

And most importantly, how to prepare for this challenging experience and walk away with a signed job contract? You will find all the answers on our website, that specializes only in accounting interviews. Written by Caren Mayers, Consultant at Financial Recruitment Agency, and Matthew Chulaw, specialized interview coach. Enjoy your reading!

What questions to expect in an accounting interview?

If we talk about good company with quality HR department, the base of the interview processes will always consist in practical exercises and technical questions. Your brain cells will be challenged with some simple, but also difficult, accountancy tasks. They can ask you to work with an accounting software too. 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 accounting.

What more, they will ask you several behavioral questions, in order to see how you coped with problematic situations in the past. For example how you solved a conflict, if you were forced to work under pressure, etc.
Few typical interview questions will be added to their interview template. Questions such as “why do you want to be an accountant?”, “what characterize a good accountant?”, “what do you think is a goal of an accountant?”, etc.
If you want to succeed, you will have to deal with all three groups of questions. We will show you the right answers, so there is no need to be worried.

Other things are important too

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 and try to assess if you have the following skills and abilities: 

  • Computing skills (especially being knowledgeable about how to use corporate accounting software, if you’re applying at a large firm)
  • Mathematical skills
  • Responsibility
  • Detail oriented personality
  • Loyalty
  • Patience

Man is solving problems with moneyIn order to have a good chance to succeed, you should present yourself 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 task responsibly.

Let’s have a look at the questions.

List of typical accountant interview questions

Note: Click on a question will direct you to a separate page, where we analyze the question, explain the intentions of the interviewers, as well as their way of thinking, and provide you with a couple of sample answers.

However, I suggest you to firstly read this page to the end, so you understand all the nuances of this interview and what factors decide the winner. Without this knowledge it would be useless to practice answers to the questions. . . .

Do the questions differ in various companies?

Obviously, the interview processes differ in various companies, at least slightly. However, if they try to recruit a corporate accountant, they will not ask him interview questions for managers or for bank tellers…
Logically, the base of the interview will always be the same and the right strategies can be applied successfully in every company.

To the slight differences: Big companies may include an IQ test, psychometry and similar stuff in their interviews, while smaller companies just rarely use these tools. Personal preferences often play an important role in smaller companies.
Furthermore, you will probably have to get through the first screening interview in big companies. They will ask you only few personal questions at this stage, such as:

  • Why accountant?
  • Why our company?
  • What motivates you?
  • Your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Your salary expectations?

Do not be afraid of these questions. 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. Just then the real battle begins…

Girl is asking interviewer some questionsAsking questions

Obviously, job interview is not a monologue. At least it shouldn’t be…
You should ask an employer a few questions. Good things to inquire about are working environment, software applications they use for accountancy purposes and the goals of the company.

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 – You and the interviewer. Try to approach it in a way in which you should approach every meeting with another human being. . . . Be nice, smile, be friendly, listen to them.
If there is a chance, do not hesitate to compliment the interviewer. You should simply try to create a good relationship with this person. Do not forget that especially nowadays, personal preferences matter a lot when people choose their new colleagues…

What to say at the end?

If you find the preparation too challenging, or the questions too difficult, have a look at my e-book, Accountant Interview Guide It provides detailed insight on each part of accounting interview. You will find there brilliant answers to all common questions, practical exercises, winning interview strategies, and much more. . . . Thank you, I wish you good luck!

Caren Mayers, Your Personal Interview Coach

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