Preparing for a management accountant job interview can be a daunting task – you usually have to read through some example questions and answers, collect supporting documentation and remember to breathe.
Interviewers expect you to be slightly nervous, but as long as you are honest and answer each question as best as you can, then you can consider it a successful interview, no matter whether you secure the position or not.
However, in order to present yourself in the best light possible and maximise the chances of getting that dream job in management accounting, take a look at some questions you are likely to get asked and learn how to approach them.
Interview questions and answers for management accountants.
1. What are your strengths?
Almost every single interview will have this personal question asked. To ensure you answer this type of question well, use examples, mention your organisational abilities which are essential to the role of a management accountant and reduce the desire to be arrogant. In this situation, keep your answers short and to the point.
2. What are your weaknesses?
Another question you are guaranteed to be asked. Remember your interviewer isn't looking for the basic run of the mill answers, they want to determine what your weaknesses are within the job and what you are doing to improve on them. Mention real weaknesses that you have when completing the job. Be honest, don't make something up in the hope that this is what the interviewer wants to hear.
Watch our number one interview prep tip for accounting professionals in the clip below:
Work-related questions and answers.
1. What are your accomplishments in the role of management accountant?
Your accomplishments are an opportunity for you to blow your own trumpet, but keep it honest and real. You may want to give an example of something you did, how you delivered it and the outcome. This may be working on the budget at your current company that saved the company money in the long run or how you saw an opportunity for improvement in the company's investments, again helping them move forward and save money.
2. Can you describe a situation where your experience played a leading role?
Remember to answer these questions relating to yourself and the things you have done in the past. This could be using your experience when it comes to budgeting and performance. How you managed to identify trends in accounting at your previous company, any steps you took to improve the situation and the outcome.
3. How do you handle stressful situations in the workplace?
At some point, everyone is going to experience so stress. Stating you never get stressed is not what the interviewer wants to hear, they expect there will be times with deadlines looming where you will find yourself a little frazzled. Honesty is the best course of action, whether it's taking a few minutes from your desk to walk around and clear your head to use your organisational skills and set yourself targets that you must reach in order to achieve success.
4. How do you keep track of everything you are responsible for on a daily basis?
In your job as a management accountant, you will find that your duties vary considerably depending on the size of the company you work for. You may have a large volume of work to complete on a daily basis, so describe what systems and organisational tools you use to ensure all your tasks are completed on time. This may be computer programmes you take advantage of or your own system that you use to ensure you don't forget those all-important tasks.
5. How do you determine the performance of your team?
Management accountants are often responsible for supervising low-level accountants, which means you need to have the ability to manage your team effectively. How you measure performance is usually down to a personal system that you have implemented which may measure what the accountant is capable of, their knowledge and experience. Try to give some examples and outcomes, these always go a long way in questions of this nature.
6. What systems do you use to track your team's assignments?
You can't do all the work yourself, which means basic accounting tasks will be handed down to your team members. Describe the systems you use on a daily basis to determine which team members are completing which tasks. You may use a computer system or you may hold a morning meeting with the team. Ensure the interviewer is advised on how you achieve success with the system you have chosen to use.
Company questions and answers.
1. What made you choose management accounting as a career?
All companies want to ensure they match the right person for the position available, so you can expect this very basic question. Don't answer with you have a love for numbers, they have probably heard this answer way too many times. Rather mention how you have a passion for helping your company reduce its budget through forecasting and finding opportunities for improvement.
2. Why do you want to work with us?
Again, companies want to find the perfect match. You may want to ensure you read through their website before attending an interview so you can provide the company with honest reasons why you feel you are the best candidate for the job. Mention the company as a whole and how working for a company of this nature is appealing to you.
3. Why should we hire you?
A top question you can often expect at the end of a long interview process. Mention some of the systems you have implemented in the past and how you feel that they could benefit this particular company. Ensure you mention your software abilities and qualifications and how you feel you could make a difference to their accounting moving forward.