Tags: Accountancy & Finance, Career Guidance, accountancy-and-finance...

​When you’re interviewing for an accountancy job, regardless of the level you are applying for, you will be asked a series of competency based interview questions related to the role.

As you progress through a career in accountancy and finance, the competency based questions you’re asked at an interview will be based and tailored to your seniority, experience and the role you are applying to. Within accountancy and finance there are a number of sub groups that make up the career progression of an accountant, these include;

  • Transactional

  • Active studying

  • Qualified

  • Managerial

  • Senior Leadership

Interviews for accounting roles will generally include competency based questions regarding your approach to current accounting issues and your personal accounting skills, as well as any behavioural questions regarding soft skills, character and work habits.

To help you prepare for that all important interview, we asked Divisional Manager for Search Accountancy & Finance, Gavin Dixon, to outline the top competency based interview questions at each level, covering important skills and aptitudes you should display in an interview for an accountancy position.

Top 3 for transactional accountant roles

(Purchase Ledger, Sales Ledger, Credit Control, Payroll, Accounts Assistants)

  1. “Give me an example of when you achieved a work deadline and how you organised and prioritised your time.”

  2. “Describe a time where you had to handle a difficult and complex query.”

  3. “Identify and describe a time where you had to manage multiple duties that required you to be very accurate and how you managed your time.”

Top 3 for active studying accountancy candidates

  1. “What month end accountancy duties would you consider you are now unsupervised with and don’t require guidance from your supervisor?”

  2. “Give me an example of accountancy project work you have done outside of the standard month end accounts production duties.”

  3. “What work experience examples do you have of reporting and analysis, management accounts, financial accounts and year end statutory accounts production?”

Top 3 for qualified accountants

  1. “What examples of commercial finance projects do you have?”

  2. “Describe your finance business partnering experience and how you engage with non-finance stakeholders.”

  3. “Describe your exposure to reporting and analysis, management accounts, financial accounts and year end statutory accounts production.”

Top 3 for managerial accountants

  1. “Talk me through your people management style and your strategy to setting up your team’s objectives, goals and employee personal career objectives.”

  2. “How do you manage your weekly accounts production objectives and people development objectives so that you can respond to urgent adhoc issues that require your immediate attention?”

  3. “Outside of managing a team and the objectives for delivering the accountancy production, what commercial projects have you delivered?”

Top 3 for senior leadership accountants

  1. “Describe your biggest strategic and commercial achievements in your career.”

  2. “What involvement have you had with delivering either an M&A, MBO, PE/VC growth objectives and a successful exit?”

  3. “How do you approach building a rapport or dealing with conflict with a CEO or Managing Director?”

How to answer competency based interview questions

We recommend that you follow the 4 step STAR technique to ensure your answer is easy to follow and includes a clear challenge and resolution.

STAR is used to structure your answers into 4 core steps.

S - Situation – Describe the situation.

T - Task – What was your task? What were YOU responsible for?

A – Action – What action(s) did YOU take.

R - What were the results?

For further information on the STAR technique and an in-depth guide on how to answer general competency based interview questions, check out our blog.

Are you looking for further advice on how to prepare for your next accountancy & finance job interview?

Now that we have highlighted key competency based interview questions at various levels of an accountancy and finance career, check out our further resources to achieve success and stand out from the crowd in your next accountancy and finance interview.

Check out our blogs and resources to help you land your next accountancy and finance job;

Download our comprehensive guide to prepare for your next job interview.

Is your next interview via video? Find out how to prepare for a video interview.

Struggling with what to ask your interviewer? Check out our top 5 questions to ask at interview.


Now are you ready to put those polished interview skills to the test? If you’re seeking a new start, check out our latest accountancy & finance jobs.

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About our expert

Gavin has 13 years of experience in recruiting within the accountancy & finance market. Based in our Leeds office, he recruits for a wide range of businesses from large PLC's to start ups across England, this includes Graduate to Director level opportunities.

If you’d like to speak to Gavin about jobs in accountancy & finance, then contact him here.

If you live elsewhere in the UK then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our colleagues in Brighton, Dundee, Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester for further support.