Interviewers try to find out two things while asking this question:
- Your real level of experience (If you have strong experience with accounting, you have encountered difficult tasks in your practice. Oppositely, if you did accounting only at school, and at the basic level, you would struggle to recall a tough task you had to address.)
- The way you think about problems and solve them (Once you describe the toughest task, interviewers will ask you to tell them about the solution–if you found any)
Choose a task you solved
If you talked about a task that you eventually failed to solve, it would create a bad picture about your accounting skills in their eyes. You should always talk about the problem that you managed to solve at the end. Whether it really was the most difficult one you have ever encountered doesn’t matter.
No experience with difficult tasks?
If you have no experience, you can research for “difficult accounting problems” on Google. You will find some problems that can serve as an inspiration for your interview answer.
Note: In my Interview Guide for Accounting Job Applicants, you will find tough accounting tasks with solutions, perfect for your interview answers.
At the end of the day, if you apply for an entry level job, you can be honest and say that you have no experience with difficult tasks. However, do not forget to say what you would do if you were facing one:
I have no experience with tough accounting tasks. I have managed to address every problem at school. However, if there was a difficult task, I would consult one of my senior colleagues, or I would look for the solution on the internet. I am a member of some accounting forums where I can consult experienced accountants. I have already used their help a few times.
- How do you ensure you make no mistakes in work?
- Do you possess any knowledge of accounting standards?