By Audrey Korir
Are you an accountant looking to grab a job at the company of your choice?
Are you a recent CPA or Bcom graduate who is trying to navigate the job search process?
If yes, then you must be prepared to go through various stages such as looking for that perfect job opportunity, tailoring your accountant CV to fit the job description, going through trainings and preparing accounting job interview questions.
By accounting interview questions, I don’t mean simply generic questions like “Tell us about yourself” or “why should we hire you?’’ but also technical accounting interview questions.
Whether you are applying for an accounting assistant, forensic accountant or accountant job, you should be prepared with questions that strictly relate to accounting or finance.
Here are some interview questions you should be ready to answer;
1. Do you have knowledge about basic accounting standards?
Your answer should be framed in two parts. The first part of the answer should tell your employer about your knowledge of accounting standards such as, financial statements must comply with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) or ICPAK also requires that all audits are conducted in accordance with International Standards on Auditing (ISA).
Next part, you should go into the depth of the standards and narrate how you use these in your job profile and how do you stay up to date.
2. What do you consider to be the biggest challenge in the accounting profession today?
There is no wrong or right answer in this question. The employer wants to see that you are familiar with the industry and its challenges, and that you are committed to the profession.
Here is a sample answer that you could use:
“A pressing issue for everyone in this field is technology. Readily available online accounting services can make the role of an experienced professional seem less essential. Technology is investable in this digital age, which means as accountants we have to offer clients something that the computer cannot”.
3. What knowledge do you have about any specific accounting concept?
Avoid saying the word “No”, even if you have no idea about the specific thing the interviewer has asked you about. You can simply say that you are excited to grab this opportunity to learn about the concept.
Alternatively, you might tell them that you have limited experience in regards to the specific concept the interviewer is asking but have ample experience in some other area and start talking about it. Do not give them a reason not to get you onboard.
If you are interested in the role, your passion can make up for some skill gaps.
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4. Describe a situation where you were able to reduce costs
Your answer to this accounting interview question should particularly revolve around your duties as an accountant. Share real-life examples to describe a time when have you been able to go beyond and identify solutions for the organization.
According to Ms. Carolyne Kariuki, a Senior Recruiter from Corporate Staffing Services giving examples helps summarize everything you have done or achieved without delving into unnecessary details.
5. How do you minimize the risks in your work?
As an accounting professional, you should be highly skilled and maintain high standards of efficiency as even small errors can lead to large financial issues.
You can answer the question by stating about the times when you have identified errors and emphasize the importance of checking and balancing with the teams.
6. How do you ensure that you don’t forget details and ensure accuracy when you prepare monthly journal entries, record transactions, etc.?
We are all privy to forgetting small details sometimes, but as accountant that is a mistake you cannot afford to make. Share your strategy for making sure you do not forget or unintentionally alter records.
A good sample answer could be;
“Next to my computer screen, I have a sticky note that reminds to check and double check every task I handle. It’s a reminder to me to track all the smallest details and to always confirm that my work is accurate. Also, I use calendar reminders and a good to- do list to make sure that I remind myself to do tasks so that I stay on track with all my duties”.
Apart from preparing for the questions above, you can take a mock interview test or take a practical accounting class to boost your employability in the job market. I hope the tips shared above will help you successfully ace your next job interview.
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