common accountant interview questions and how to answer.

Whether this is your first role since qualifying, or you are an experienced executive, interviewing can seem intimidating.

Your CV has successfully got you a foot in the door but it is the interview where you get to make your big impression and preparation is key.

Anticipating topics, tasks and questions will help you maintain your focus, overcome nerves and potentially give you an advantage over your competition.

Employers will be looking for accountancy skills and experience, but now more than ever they are looking for professional with excellent soft skills.

What is the biggest challenge facing the accounting profession today?

The interviewer wants to see that you have an interest in and that you are committed to the profession and aware of the external factors that could impact the role of an accounting function. 

What knowledge of accounting standards do you currently hold?

It is near impossible to know every standard and the employer should know this. They may weave a question in through asking for an example of previous situation you have managed.

However, highlight reputable sources you use and ensure you have researched any recent changes you can discuss. This will showcase your level of interest in the profession and the role. 

Why do you want to work for this company?

As a qualified accountant you have many choices, you can go in-house or into a practice. You need to demonstrate your interest in the company, and don’t just recite back text from their website.

Go beyond that and see if they have been mentioned in the news or read through their most recent annual report. 

Describe a time when you helped reduce costs?

Although this question is difficult to answer if this is would be your first role, what the interviewer is trying to understand if you have gone above and beyond the day to day responsibilities of your role and taken initiative.

Whether it was from your last role or a part-time job you held in university, discussing ways in which you helped to reduce costs could make the difference in you landing that role.

Cutting costs and positively affecting an employer’s bottom line should be a part of a great accountants regular work. 

How do you mitigate risk from your work?

A small mistake by the accounting team can lead to large financial errors. It is important to highlight the importance of checking your work and any processes you have implemented to mitigate risk.

Use examples in your answer that showcase your attention to detail skills.

Describe a time when you explained simply a complex accounting issue.

This question is designed to access your softer skill set and how well you can work with teams cross-functionally. With the role of an accountant becoming more and more an advisory role, being able to communicate effectively with other teams has never been more important. 

Do you have questions for us?

You should always have questions prepared to ask the interviewer. Focus on questions that highlight your interest in the company and not just on compensation and benefits.

The interviewer wants to see you can initiate a conversation and that you are passionate about the role.

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