20 Accountant Interview Questions and Answers – CV Nation

20 Accountant Interview Questions and Answers

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The ultimate guide to interview questions for accountants, with 20 accountant interview questions and example answers.

When pursuing jobs as an accountant, you’ll need to get ready for accountancy job interviews. And one of the best ways to do this is prepare your answers for the most common interview questions.

In this guide, we have included 20 common interview questions for accountants, along with sample answers. Get familiar with these questions and prepare your own answers in line with our interview tips to give you a better chance of acing your job interview.

This guide is designed to help all accountancy professionals, including staff accountants, management accountants, project accountant, cost accountants and forensic accountants.

1. Tell Me About Yourself

One of the most common job interview questions, this question is designed to break the ice and enable the interviewer to learn a bit about your background as an accountant.

Of course, when answering this question, you should focus on your career as an accountant. Avoid touching on your personal life, unless you’ve specifically been asked about it.

Try to frame your answer in a way that demonstrates your suitability for the job. You may want to highlight your accountancy experience, your passion for accountancy and how you got into accountancy.

Here is an example answer to this question:

I have been employed in accountancy for 12 years, the last four of which has been in a supervisory role. In this role, I led a team of four finance professionals while performing a wide range of accountancy activities.

I first got into accountancy because I wanted to work in a role that is respected and known its ethics. Since landing my first role, I have achieved multiple promotions and advanced to more senior roles in which I have delivered tangible benefits to employers. As an example, I saved my existing employer over twenty-two-thousand pounds per years by implementing new accounts payable software.

2. Why Do You Want to Work for Us?

When interviewers ask this question, they want to find out if you are aligned with their company’s values and culture. They also want to know if you have specifically targeted their company.

Do your research prior to your interview. Find out what the company’s values are. Learn about their culture and what they look for in candidates. Then you will be able to show how you are aligned with the company’s values.

Avoid giving forthright, tactless answers, such as ‘I need the money’. These don’t demonstrate any interest in working for company and could have a negative impact.

Here is an example answer to this question:

I want to work for your company because I am an admirer of the opportunities for professional development and growth. As someone who is always seeking to develop new skills and improve my capabilities, I would love to work for a company that rewards that.

I have also read about the initiatives that your company is taking to promote diversity & inclusion. I am passionate about diversity & inclusion, and I have participated in projects to promote it in recent years. As such, I feel that I am aligned with your values when it comes to diversity & inclusion.

3. Describe a Time When You Reduced Costs

Accountants are often in a position to lower costs and eliminate costly errors.

As such, interviewers might want to know if you’re capable of lowering costs for their company.

If you can demonstrate your ability to reduce costs, and provide a concrete example of a time when you did so, you’ll make a positive impression on the interviewer.

Here is an example answer to this question:

When I was employed at Example Company, I led a project to install new accountancy systems across the Finance department. The existing systems were dated and inefficient. They required accountants to perform a lot of excess work that shouldn’t have been necessary.

After implementing the new system, I lowered people hours by 58%. This delivered an annual cost saving of over four-hundred-thousand-dollars. As a result of this project, which I had conceptualised, executed and delivered, I received written commendation from Senior Management.

4. Why Do You Want to Work in Accountancy?

This is a question that may be asked to entry-level accountants. If you’ve just qualified as an accountant, interviewers may want to be sure that you’re committed to a career as an accountant.

Here is an example answer to this question:

I am eager to work in accountancy because it is a profession that is known for its ethics and integrity. When I was growing up, I always respected accountants as professionals who were highly ethical. For this reason, I feel that my ethic and values are matched with the accountancy profession.

Additionally, I have always been passionate about numbers and data. Working in a profession that analyses numbers to enable better decision-making and solve problems is something that greatly appeals to me.

5. Which Accountancy Technologies Are You Familiar With?

Accountants use many different technologies and software packages to perform their daily tasks. Interviewers will want to know that you’re familiar with certain technologies, or that you are at least prepared to learn to use them.

Most accountancy jobs will require you to be familiar with Microsoft Excel, as well as QuickBooks or similar accountancy software. The company you’re interviewing to work for may also have their own internal systems that they want you to become familiar with.

Here is an example answer to this question:

I possess advanced skills with Microsoft Excel, which I use to make forecasts. I am also expert with QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks and Wave.

As someone who is passionate about professional development, I am always eager to learn to use new technologies and systems. I’m a fast learner who is able to get to grips with new technologies with ease, so I’m confident that there won’t be any issues with me being able to use your accountancy systems.

6. How Do You Communicate Financial Information to Non-Finance People?

As an accountant, you will likely have to convey financial information to people who are not familiar with complex financial terms. For this reason, accountants should have the communication skills required to communicate financial information to a broad spectrum of people.

Interviewers want to know if you can communicate such information in an easy-to-understand manner, enabling them to make sound decisions based on your information.

Here is an example answer to this question:

I communicate financial information to people by providing information in a simple, easy-to-understand manner. Sometimes I use analogies to help them understand better, as well as visual diagrams.

As I take part in public speaking competitions and regularly practice communicating with audiences, I consider myself to be a skilled communicator who is capable of effectively conveying information to people from all walks of life.

7. Tell Us About a Time You Worked to a Tight Deadline

As an accountant, you will likely have to work to tight deadlines and manage your workload effectively. Interviewers ask this question to learn if you have the time management and organisation skills to do this.

When answering these types of questions, use the STAR method. STAR is a methodology used to answer job interview questions by following a specific structure. It stands for situation, action, task and result. With STAR, you start by describing the situation you were faced with, followed the task at hand, the action you took and the end result.

Here is an example answer to this question:

When I was employed as an accountant at Example Company, I was leading a project to implement new accountancy software across the Finance department.

My manager had informed me that the implementation had to be completed with 12 days, due to existing conditions in the department. I went about installing the software and worked extra shifts on many occasions. In order to ensure the project wouldn’t run over the deadline, I rearranged my work and allocated my other tasks to my colleague.

As a result of my organisation and time management, the project was successfully delivered within 12 days. I received commendation from my manager with efficiency with which I had managed the project.

8. What is the Difference Between Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable?

Those who are pursuing entry-level accounting roles may be asked questions like this one to test their basic knowledge of accountancy processes.

So, if you’re interviewing for entry level roles, be prepared to be asked questions about accounting processes and procedures.

Here is an example answer to this question:

Accounts payable is an account in the general ledger that represents a company’s obligation to pay off debts. Accounts receivable, on the other hand, represents money owed to the company.

9. What Are Your Key Strengths?

Interviewers ask this question to learn about your key skills and to determine if your key strengths match the strengths they are looking for in candidates.

Use your research to answer this question. Study the job description and find out which key strengths the company is seeking.

Of course, you should never lie in a job interview. But you can use your research to convey skills that you do in fact possess.

Here is an example answer to this question:

One of my key strengths is my ability to build relationships with clients and colleagues. I also possess excellent communication skills, and I’m capable of conveying complex financial information to people in an easy-to-understand manner.

I would also say attention-to-detail is one of my key strengths. As an accountant, it’s important that I notice all the small details, and my attention-to-detail has been key in minimising errors during recent years.

10. What is Your Leadership Style

If you’re interviewing for senior roles in accountancy, you will likely be asked a question about your leadership style. Interviewers ask this question because they want to know how you will lead teams if they decide to employ you.

You may use more than one leadership style. Most leaders utilise multiple leadership styles, depending on specific situations. If you use more than one leadership style, touch on this in your answer.

View our guide to leadership styles, which details the five main leadership styles.

Here is an example answer to this question:

I would describe my leadership style as authoritative. I find that this style has been most effective while managing teams of accounts assistants and bookkeepers.

However, when managing more senior accountancy professionals, I employed more of a laissez-faire leadership style. As they were highly experienced, I found that they performed best when they were given the freedom to make their own decisions.

Ultimately, my leadership is about getting the best out of teams. I do this largely by getting to know employees on an individual basis. By getting to know each individual and learning about them, I am much more likely to succeed in motivating them.

11. Do You Have Experience with ERP Systems?

Many companies use Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to manage business processes. Interviewers ask this question to determine if you have the appropriate skills and experiences to start using ERP systems.

Here is an example answer to this question:

I have over five years of experience using ERP systems. As such, I would consider my expertise with ERP systems to be advanced. In my two most recent accountancy roles, I used Microsoft Dynamics GP, Sage Intacct and Oracle Cloud ERP.

I am adept at quickly learning to use new systems, so I am confident that I can instantly get to grips with any ERP systems that your company uses.

12. Do You Have Any Questions for Us?

At the end of your job interview, the interviewer will ask if you have any questions for them. Try to ask two or three questions to demonstrate your interest in the job.

Here are some example questions that you could ask:

- What do people enjoy most about working at your company?

- Could you tell me about the opportunities for professional growth at your company?

- What career paths do you see for people who are employed in this role?

More Job Interview Questions for Accountants

13. Describe a Time You Improved an Accountancy Process?
14. What Has Been Your Biggest Achievement as an Accountant?
15. How Do You Maintain Your Professional Development?
16. How Do You Define Success?
17. How Do You Motivate Teams?
18. Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?
19. Describe a Time You Successfully Managed a Project?
20. What Would You Do if a Manager Gave You an Order That Went Against Policy?

We hope you have found this guide to accountancy job interview questions helpful. When pursuing jobs in accounting, you will need an effective accountancy CV. Feel free to check out ultimate guide to preparing an accountancy CV.

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