How to Answer Tough Accountant Interview Questions?


Accountant is working with pen and calculatorJob of an accountant is popular all around the world. Each company needs a good one and big companies run entire accounting departments… Therefor one can find many job openings for accountants. But despite of that, it is not easy to succeed and land this job.
Competition is huge and you have to deal with difficult interview questions, as well as with practical exercises in an interview. Do you want to be ready for the challenge? Do you want to ace your accounting interview? We will do our best to help you. Welcome to!

Many people apply for each accounting role. Most of them are well prepared. If you lack experience, or if your communication skills aren’t good, it will be very difficult to make an impression.
However, once you know questions the interviewers typically use, once you know what is expected from you and understand crucial interview strategies for accountants, you will have a good chance to succeed. So, what to expect?

What questions can you expect in an accounting interview?

If we talk about good companies with quality HR, the base of the interview processes will always consist in practical exercises and questions. Your brain cells will be challenged with some simple, but also with some difficult, accountancy tasks. They can also ask you 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 you solved a conflict, if you were forced to work under pressure and how you handled it, etc.
Few typical interview questions will be added to this healthy mixture. 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 as responsibly as possible. Doing it this way, you have a good chance to convince them that you have a perfect personality for being an accountant in their company.

Let’s have a look at the questions:


List of typical accountant interview 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 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 him, a professional one of course. 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 want to have a complete interview guide for accountants, with multiple brilliant answers to all tough questions, practical case studies and winning interview strategies, have a look at Accountant Interview Guide from Caren Mayers, co-author of this website. Caren, a specialized finance recruitment consultant, gives very detailed insights on each part of accounting interview. She helped hundreds of accountants to outclass other job seekers and land a job without any stress or difficulties. You can be another one… To have a look at it, please click here. With the risk-free sixty days money back guarantee you really have nothing to lose.

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