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Certified Public Accountant (CPA) interview questions and answers

Use these sample Certified Public Accountant (CPA) interview questions to test candidates’ skills as part of your hiring process.

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Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Interview Questions

Certified Public Accountants (CPA) perform general financial transactions, monitor bookkeeping activities and conduct regular audits to make sure documents, expenditures and investments are accurate.

Ideal candidates for this role will hold an Accounting or Finance degree along with a CPA certification. They’ve also previously worked as Senior Accountants or in similar roles. When interviewing, test candidates’ knowledge of accounting software that you use. It’s useful if candidates have hands-on experience with relevant tools, as they will easily be able to get up to speed on your software.

Beyond thorough knowledge of accounting and budgeting procedures, your candidates should be team-oriented, since they’ll collaborate with various departments and partners. Individuals who meet deadlines and keep organized records of financial documents will stand out.

Operational and Situational questions

  • If you missed the deadline for paying our company’s taxes, what would you do? How would you inform your manager if we had to pay a fine, in this case?
  • How would you help a manager decide if an investment was a good idea?
  • How would you set up an internal control system for processing invoices?
  • If you had to explain a financial procedure to non-financial audience, how would you ensure they understand all the details? For example, tell us in plain terms about the process of preparing a department’s budget.

Role-specific questions

  • What accounting software have you used? What features increase your productivity?
  • How do you check large datasheets for accuracy?
  • Describe your familiarity with accounting standards such as FASB and GAAP.
  • What information and tools do you need to create an annual tax return forecast?
  • Where and how do you use discounted cash flow (DCF)?
  • What is your role in the month-end closing process?

Behavioral questions

  • Describe a time when you helped your company or a client decrease costs.
  • How do you keep up with tax law changes?
  • Recall a time you analyzed financial risks and prevented senior executives from making a bad investment.
  • How do you stay motivated while doing repetitive tasks, like processing invoices?
  • Describe a time when your attention to detail saved you from making a mistake at work (e.g. in a report.)

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