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10 good accountant interview questions
- What do you know about our business model?
- How do you ensure accuracy in your work?
- How have you handled tight deadlines?
- How do you stay motivated while doing repetitive tasks?
- Describe an accounting process that you developed or improved.
- Describe a time you helped your company reduce costs.
- How would you set up an internal control system for processing invoices?
- Share your experience with accounts receivable and accounts payable.
- Which accounting software programs have you used?
- Describe your familiarity with accounting standards such as FASB and GAAP.
Here are 10 essential interview questions and sample answers to help identify the best candidates for this role.
1. What do you know about our business model?
This question assesses the candidate’s research and preparation for the interview. It also gauges their understanding of your company’s financial structure.
“I understand that your company operates on a subscription-based model, generating revenue primarily through monthly and annual subscriptions. You also have diversified income streams through advertising and partnerships.”
2. How do you ensure accuracy in your work?
This question aims to understand the candidate’s attention to detail and their methods for ensuring accuracy in financial reporting.
“I double-check all entries and reconcile accounts at the end of each day. I also use accounting software that flags inconsistencies, helping me maintain accuracy.”
3. How have you handled tight deadlines?
This question explores the candidate’s time management skills and their ability to work under pressure.
“I prioritize tasks based on deadlines and importance. I also allocate specific time slots for different activities to ensure that I meet all deadlines without compromising on quality.”
4. How do you stay motivated while doing repetitive tasks?
This question assesses the candidate’s ability to maintain focus and enthusiasm in a role that can be repetitive.
“I find satisfaction in knowing that my work contributes to the overall financial health of the company. I also set mini-goals for myself to keep the work engaging.”
5. Describe an accounting process that you developed or improved.
This question gauges the candidate’s ability to innovate and improve existing processes for efficiency and accuracy.
“I implemented a new reconciliation process that automated matching transactions, reducing errors and saving two hours of manual work per day.”
6. Describe a time you helped your company reduce costs.
This question evaluates the candidate’s ability to identify and implement cost-saving measures.
“I noticed that we were spending a lot on paper and printing. I proposed a move to a paperless system, which was implemented and resulted in a 20% reduction in office supply costs.”
7. How would you set up an internal control system for processing invoices?
This question assesses the candidate’s understanding of internal controls and their ability to set up systems for financial management.
“I would implement a three-way match system for invoices, purchase orders, and delivery receipts to ensure that only valid invoices are paid.”
8. Share your experience with accounts receivable and accounts payable.
This question aims to understand the candidate’s hands-on experience with key accounting functions.
“I have managed accounts receivable and payable for a mid-sized company for three years, ensuring timely collections and payments.”
9. Which accounting software programs have you used?
This question identifies the candidate’s familiarity with accounting software, which is essential for modern accounting roles.
“I am proficient in QuickBooks and SAP. I have also had some experience with Oracle Financials.”
10. Describe your familiarity with accounting standards such as FASB and GAAP.
This question assesses the candidate’s knowledge of key accounting standards and regulations.
“I am well-versed in both FASB and GAAP standards. I always ensure that financial statements and records comply with these guidelines.”
What does a good accountant candidate look like?
A strong accountant candidate has a solid understanding of accounting principles and standards, is detail-oriented, and has excellent analytical skills. They should also be proficient in accounting software and have a proactive approach to problem-solving.
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Accountant Interview Questions
The two essential qualifications for this position are a) one to two years of practical accounting experience, and b) accounting certification, or verification that they are in the process of getting certification. Once you’ve screened for those essentials, you’ll want to ask situational and process-based interview questions that only experienced accountants can answer.
The above interview questions will help you find out whether their experience lines up with what you need as a company and whether or not your candidate can be trained to succeed in this role. Look into what kinds of entities they have experience with, such as multinational entities and sole proprietorships. Questions about their experience with accounts receivable and accounts payable will also tell you what kind of company they worked for and if they primarily worked with customers or suppliers.
You’ll want to find out how detail-oriented they are, how specialized their roles have been and how seriously they take their contribution to overall business goals. Accounting tends to be repetitive and routine work, so you’ll want to hire a motivated, analytical individual who is driven to improve current systems and processes.
Frequently asked questions
- What are the top accountant interview questions?
- The top questions include those about business models, accuracy, deadlines, and accounting standards.
- What is the best way to prepare for an accountant interview as an HR professional?
- Familiarize yourself with accounting jargon and key performance indicators (KPIs) to better assess candidates.
- What are 3 qualities of a candidate for the accountant position?
- Attention to detail, proficiency in accounting software, and a strong understanding of accounting standards are key qualities.
- How can an accountant candidate stand out in an interview?
- Candidates can stand out by demonstrating a deep understanding of the company's business model and suggesting improvements to current accounting processes.
- What should you avoid asking in an accountant interview?
- Avoid asking questions that are too general or not related to the specific accounting tasks and responsibilities of the role.