The best bet to ace your accounting interview is to have job-related skills, extensive knowledge of the industry, and prepare for common accountant interview questions.

But preparing for an accounting interview is tricky and can get quite stressful, knowing that the employers will ask you some tough questions.

The best way to go about this is to prepare specific and relevant sample answers beforehand and then practice answering these questions.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked accountant interview questions and how you can answer them with no hassle. Let’s get this started!

Key Takeaways

  • Accountant interview questions can be situational or technical. The situational questions can be easily answered by using the STAR method.
  • Since situational questions fall under the category of behavioral interview questions, answer with a situation that occurred, what your task was, what actions you had to take to resolve the issue, and what the result was.
  • Before entering your interview, do some research on the company. This way, you’ll find out more about their mission and values and what they’re generally looking for.
  • Hold a mock-up interview with a friend or family member before your actual interview. This is a great way to find out what changes you need to make.

How to Answer Accountant Interview Questions Accountant interview questions

The best way to answer accountant interview questions is to use the STAR Method as a guide, as this approach is a fool-proof option. It’s also a great example of “show and don’t tell,” as you’ll get a chance to highlight your skills and competence.

The letters in STAR make up the acronym, which stands for:

  • Situation
  • Task
  • Action
  • Result

These letters represent the checklist that your answers should follow.

So, while answering, you will need to think of a situation at a previous job, mention the task you were assigned, talk about the actions you took to resolve a situation, and end the answer with a result that had a positive outcome.

Accountant Interview Sample Questions & Answers

Accountant interview questions can be both technical and situational, which means that you’ll most likely be expected to demonstrate both technical and communication skills.

So, let’s have a look at the accountant interview questions and sample answers we prepared:

#1. Explain the three financial statements.

Employers ask this question to check whether you have basic knowledge of accounting. The three financial statements are the income statement, the cash flow statement, and the balance sheet.

You can answer with:

The three statements are the balance sheet, the cash flow statement, and the income statement. Each of them reflects the company’s profit and assets.

The balance sheet indicates the assets at a specific point in time; the income statement represents the profit for an entire year or a quarter; and lastly, the cash flow statement showcases the income from different profitable activities.

#2. Why did you decide to become an accountant?

Employers will ask you this question to figure out what the driving force behind your passion is. It also helps them understand what will motivate you to do a great job.

That’s why you could answer with:

I truly believe that no matter what happens in the labor market, companies will always need someone to handle their finances. This is exactly why I am so driven to pursue my career as an accountant. I believe it’s a great opportunity for me to showcase my organizational, management, and logical skills, and I’m definitely ready to be given the responsibility to handle your company’s finances.

#3. What types of accounting tools/programs have you worked with?

The recruiter wants to know whether you have prior experience working with accounting tools or programs the company is using.

If you have experience with any tools, you can say:

I am currently proficient in ZoHo and QuickBooks. However, if your company uses different software, I am more than willing and able to learn quite quickly. It took me a couple of weeks of intense training and focus to master both of the programs I mentioned, so I’m fairly confident that I won’t have any trouble learning the program you use as well.

This way, you’ll not only show your skills but also your willingness to learn new things and put in the necessary work.

#4. How do you deal with deadlines?

Interviewers often ask this question to see how well you perform under pressure. This question is also a way for them to see whether you’re okay with handling tight deadlines.

You can answer with:

I used to work as an accountant at SectorSVT. I was once assigned a project that another coworker was working on after said coworker had to take some time off due to health issues.

The deadline was in one week, and I had no prior knowledge of the said project. I decided to dive deep into the details, research what I could on my own, and then contact both my supervisor and the client to get my hands on all the available information.

It was not easy, but eventually I managed to finish everything on time.

#5. Have you ever developed or improved an accounting process?

Since accountants know the company’s finances, they also have the ability to assess operational costs. Employers want to hear whether you’ve had a chance to utilize this knowledge and improve an accounting process.

A good approach to answering this would be:

During my last job, I had the chance to inspect all the services our company offered. Right off the bat, I noticed that some of those were hardly ever used and decided it was a good idea to do an audit.

In that process, I discovered that only 63 out of 150 of our services were currently profitable. I discussed it with my manager and HR, and together we decided to shut down some services and double down on the most profitable ones, which ultimately ended up raising the company’s profits by 14%.

#6. How can human errors be reduced in accounting?

Employers will want to find out whether you’re detail-oriented and able to focus well. This is a great example of a situational interview question, and you could answer it with:

I believe that the one thing that can help reduce human errors in accounting is frequently checking in on every employee. This way, we can ensure that everyone can handle their workload and has no trouble finishing tasks. If the workload is too high, mistakes will definitely end up falling through the cracks.

#7. What is the biggest challenge an accountant can face?

The interviewer will use this question to check whether you have good knowledge of the industry. Although the answer can be personal, try to make it more universal. If you don’t have profound industry knowledge, you can also do some research on the topic online.

On the other hand, if you know the ins and outs of your industry, you can answer with:

I believe that one of the most prevalent challenges accountants can face is the constant advancement of technology. It can become quite tricky and challenging to learn the new programs and functions and how to apply and combine them with previous processes.

#8. Do you value price or functionality when it comes to accounting software?

Though the question is asking you to choose between the options, the best answer actually combines both. This strategy shows that you understand that the price of software does not always correlate with its functionality, and vice versa.

Sample answer:

Thanks to advancements in technology, there is no need to choose between price and functionality when it comes to accounting software. With proper research, you can find affordable software at $250 per month that, in the most important areas, performs just as well as one that costs $2,000. It really comes down to a company’s operational processes and accounting needs.

#9. Describe what project implementation is.

This is another technical accountant interview question, which means the employer expects you to know your way around this answer.

So, you can answer with:

Project implementation has six main components: need identification, idea generation and screening, study conduct, project development, project implementation, and project control. Following these six steps properly is the best way to ensure that every task is being performed efficiently and effectively.

#10. What would you say is the difference between public and executive accounting?

Similar to the last question, employers will ask these types of questions to verify your experience.

You could say:

First of all, public accounting capitalizes on CPAs and audits, which help companies with their financial reports. On the other hand, executive accounting is used by service-based companies, which require sophisticated accounting systems. Executive accountants usually specialize in one single industry, in contrast to public accountants, who can specialize in multiple industries.

#11. Why do you want to work for our company?

One of the most common interview questions you will hear is “Why do you want to work for the company?” This is why doing research on the company is really important. You’ll get a chance to understand the company’s mission and values and how you can align yours with them.

Here, you can answer with:

I actually did some research on your company before our interview, and I decided to contact some of your employees. Each employee spoke fairly highly of the working experience here, and I clicked quite nicely with all of them.

But that’s not the only reason I want to work here. I mainly want to work for your company because your mission and values correlate entirely with my own views. I also noticed that you have a yearly budget for charity, and I am all for giving back to our community. Needless to say, I was quite taken by your company in general, and I decided that this would be the best fit for me.

#12. What are the best cost control techniques?

Employers will definitely ask many of these technical interview questions, so be sure to prepare for them. They want to check whether you have a good command of the basic accounting terms.

In this case, you can answer with:

The best cost control techniques are budgetary control, labor control, material control, standard costing, and overhead control.

Expert Tips on How to Nail Your Accountant Interview Hands in table, while the hand of a woman is holding a sheet of paper and a pen.

Whether you came here to learn about accountant interview questions and answers for freshers or you’re aiming for upper management positions, the following tips should help you nail your next interview:

  • Research and learn about the company. Before anything else, make sure to do some research on the company you’re applying to. This is the best way to find out what they’re looking for and what they stand for.
  • Prepare questions for the interviewer. Asking your interviewer questions is a great way to show that you’re interested in the position and would like to know more about the position, the work environment, and the company itself.
  • Prepare relevant examples. It’s important to tailor your examples and answers to the actual position. Employers only want to hear about your relevant skills that fit the job description, so it’s best to avoid mentioning a random example.
  • Practice. You’re no stranger to “practice makes perfect,” and that’s definitely the case with preparing for your interview as well. Ask a friend or family member to hold a mock interview with you and check what changes you need to make.
  • Bring your resume with you. This is a great way to show your organizational skills, which are, by the way, what most employers look for in an accountant. Take multiple copies with you and hand them over to each interviewer.

Final Thoughts

Accounting is still a tough field to succeed in, as an accountant is required to have both interpersonal and technical skills, and employers will ask some hard questions to find out whether you have them.

That’s why it’s always recommended to learn the job description by heart and do some prior research on the company. This way, you’ll be able to tailor your answers based on that information.

We hope this guide has helped you understand accountant interview questions better, and we wish you good luck on your interview!