Accountant Interview Questions
Example Interview Questions
What is your biggest challenge as an accountant?
This question is designed to help the interview understand the challenges you face on a daily basis and, more importantly, how you overcome them. You should be ready to discuss the biggest challenge you have faced in your role so far. It's a good opportunity to demonstrate how you overcame a difficult situation.
Example answer: "The most challenging aspect of my job is communicating effectively with my co-workers. Sometimes, I'm balancing project tasks while my team is working on payroll. I have to make sure they understand that I don't want to be interrupted. I need to communicate clearly, so I use a 'do not disturb' sign on my door and a digital one on my email. I’ve found it’s important to protect my time with some strict boundaries."
How do you feel about your current accounting team?
Answering this question really requires you to think about your relationship with your accounting team. If you don't have one, you should talk about other instances in which you’ve worked in a team context. It is important to be positive and pragmatic about your relationship skills.
Example answer: "I enjoy working with my team toward shared goals. I like partnering with people who have a proven track record and can add strengths I don’t possess. My work life is really driven by my ability to collaborate and communicate effectively with other financial professionals."
What is a typical day like for an accountant in your company?
This question will give you a chance to highlight any special rhythms or norms that may appeal to you.
Example answer: "Our work day runs from 9-5. In that time, I’ll spend a portion of time with the team or interfacing with my superiors. Another portion of my day is spent in accounting and bookkeeping tasks for my assigned clients. I also regularly work independently on reporting."
What skills are most important to you as an accountant?
Hiring managers ask this question to see if you are a good fit for the company's culture. They want to make sure you have a personality that will work well within the office. Your answer should focus on skills that show your commitment to teamwork and culture.
Example answer: "I like to be able to look at a problem set on my own and make decisions so that I can keep the client informed about the progress. I also enjoy tying into people's lives in positive ways by helping them with their finances. I feel that it's important to give back to the community, which is why I am pursuing a career as an accountant."
What are the qualities of a good accountant?
This question is designed to ascertain how you feel about the accounting industry and also to see how you perceive your own skills. While you should emphasize your desire to work hard and show your work ethic, you should also highlight qualities that make a good accountant.
Example answer: "I believe a good accountant needs to be detail-oriented, able to manage time effectively and have a desire to learn. Accountants have to be willing to tackle new challenges and constantly improve their work. They should also be able to maintain a calm demeanor during difficult situations. I am confident I have all of these qualities."
How do you interact with other members of the accounting team?
Working well with others is a key prerequisite for success in most jobs. Your answer will demonstrate your ability to work well with others by highlighting your ability to communicate and collaborate, as well as the importance you place on teamwork.
Example answer: "I am confident and outgoing. I have no trouble communicating with others and I enjoy working in a team. As an accountant, I interact with all members of the accounting team at some point. I am often the one who works with the operations team and our clients to make sure we have the right data in our system. I like to make sure everyone is on the same page and I'm comfortable getting feedback on my work to improve my own performance."
What do you enjoy most about accounting?
Accountants enjoy different aspects of their jobs. The interviewer will want to know your favorite parts, so it is important to think about what you enjoy most and be specific. While it is true that you may enjoy your work overall, don't say that in answer to this question. Instead, pick one or two specific elements that you especially enjoy.
Example answer: "I enjoy the fact that there are always new challenges to face, which keeps each day interesting. I also love the problem-solving aspect of the job. A lot of the work I do is like a puzzle and I like figuring out how to put the pieces together. I also enjoy the direct impact I have on the efficiency of our team."
What do you like least about accounting?
This question is designed to see if you have a realistic outlook on your profession. You should use this opportunity to mention any frustrations you have with some of the unfulfilling aspects of your job. Be sure to include how you mitigate those frustrations and how you use your strengths to keep you satisfied.
Example answer: "The most frustrating aspects of accounting are the numbers themselves. Numbers can be very unreliable. They can be manipulated and hard to audit. The most fulfilling part of accounting is being able to organize data so it can be easily understood by clients and managers. I like that part of the job because it's very gratifying to see a client gain a better understanding of their own finances because I helped them organize their data."
True or false: the most important thing an accountant can do is to bring in new business.
Different accounting firms have different goals. It is important to know what the goals of the company are before you decide to work for it. Here, the interviewer wants to know whether you can see a larger picture and understand that there are multiple aspects to being a successful accountant.
Example answer: "I understand the importance of bringing in new business. However, I think the most important thing an accountant can do is to help an organization succeed and keep it growing year after year. That can really improve the bottom line."