Interview Questions for Accountants

Interview Questions for Accountants
Interview Questions for Accountants

posted 21 Mar 24

When interviewing for an accountancy position, you’ll probably be asked a series of competency-based questions. In this article, we’ll list the top five questions of this nature that accountants get asked and how to prepare for them.

What are competency-based interviews?

Competency-based interviews make the job application process as objective as possible by removing any bias of the interviewer. They also give the potential employee the chance to prove their skills and aptitude for the role they’re applying for, using previous experience to do so.

The most popular method for preparing for an accountancy interview is the STAR technique, which stands for Situation, Task, Action and Result. Using STAR to plan your answers is an effective approach and could be the difference between success and failure when applying for a new position.

Five examples of competency-based interview questions in accountancy

Below are some of the most common competency-based questions asked for accountancy roles, with advice on how you can prepare for them:

Q: Which accounting applications and software packages have you used in the past and what impact did they have on the business you worked for?

With automation on the rise, employers are looking for finance professionals with a firm understanding of technological developments that make accounting processes more efficient.

Because of this, you should provide a detailed description of accounting solutions you’ve used in the past, discussing how you implemented applications, the steps taken during conversion and integration, and how you trained colleagues to use new accounting systems.

Remember to highlight the advantages and disadvantages of software packages you’ve used in the past, too, and focus on how certain applications supported and simplified company-specific processes.

Q: Can you provide an example of accounting reports that you’ve prepared in the past?

Provide an example of accurate and timely financial reporting where you maintained accounting principles, practices, and procedures to prove you can meet tight deadlines.

Meeting strict deadlines is a fundamental aspect of accountancy and employers may expect you to do so with a range of different clients, simultaneously. Because of this, you should highlight a specific example where you managed client expectations whilst hitting a strict deadline.

Q: Describe an accounting process that you developed or tried to improve.

When responding to this question you should demonstrate your ability to transform processes and manage risk, drawing on your own experiences to answer it.

To prepare, think of a real-life example of a process you were tasked with improving to show that you can innovate within your role. Be specific and list something that wasn’t functioning as well as it could have been, and how you transitioned to a new, successful approach that benefited the business.

Q: Can you tell us about a time you helped to reduce costs for a business?

One of the primary reasons employers hire accountants is to bring business costs down, so highlight a previous situation where you reduced costs through personal innovation or diligence.

Be sure to back up your experience with the financial details of your success for extra accountancy brownie points.

Q: Describe a time you explained a complex issue to someone without an accounting background.

Your ability to communicate with people who aren’t accountants may be very important, especially if you’re applying for an advisory role where you speak to clients or staff in other departments.

To answer this question, emphasise your communication skills and ability to work as a part of a team with examples from previous roles.

Fancy a new job in Accountancy & Finance?

The world of accountancy and finance is evolving and the sector needs candidates who are tech-savvy, insightful and proactive.

At Search Accountancy & Finance, our team of specialist consultants recruit for a wide range of accountancy and finance roles across the UK and help you land your ideal role. With lots of opportunities available, browse current jobs, or get in touch to speak to a member of our team today.