Asking the right questions during an accounting interview is the best way to determine if a candidate is the right fit for the job. And while technical knowledge is crucial, it’s essential to look for qualities such as problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and other soft skills.
Before we get into the most impactful accounting interview questions, let’s talk about what qualities a hiring manager should look for in an accountant.
What Qualities to Look for in an Accountant
Hiring managers should look for several qualities when hiring accountants, whether they’re entry-level or experienced. Other important qualities include:
- The ability to stay calm under pressure and handle difficult situations. Accountants are often faced with challenging tasks and deadlines. It is important that your new hire can maintain their composure and work efficiently under pressure.
- Strong attention to detail and organizational skills. Your accountant must be extremely organized so they can accurately report on the company’s financial health at any given time.
- Great interpersonal skills. People skills are useful for accountants who interact with clients or colleagues on a regular basis. They will need to communicate effectively and in an efficient manner to ensure that all parties involved are fully aware of what needs to be done.
- A strong sense of ethics. This is vital for every accountant because since they often have access to confidential or sensitive information about clients and their finances.
Impactful Accounting Interview Questions
To hire the best candidates, your interview questions should assess all the above qualities and more. So, what are the best interview questions to ask accounting candidates? Here is a list of 25 impactful accounting interview questions, broken up by technical skills, experience, and soft skills:
Technical Accounting Interview Questions
- What are the three types of financial statements? Explain each.
- What is the difference between accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP)?
- What accounting tasks are you most comfortable with? Which ones are you less comfortable with?
- Name a few common budgeting methods and their key characteristics.
- What strategies do you employ to estimate bad debt?
- Can you explain the concept of accrual accounting versus cash accounting?
- How do you stay up to date on current accounting laws and regulations?
- Can you define working capital?
- What are five common mistakes in accounting? Have you ever made any of these mistakes? If so, how did you learn from those mistakes?
Accounting Interview Questions on Background and Experience
- What’s your experience with accounting software? Which software are you proficient in?
- What strategies did you use to monitor fraud and handle security in your previous roles?
- Can you describe a complex accounting problem you solved and how you approached it?
- How do you reduce human error in your accounting processes?
- Do you have any special accounting certifications or skills?
- Can you describe a time when you identified an error or discrepancy in financial records, and how you resolved it?
- Describe a time you saved a company money.
- What experience do you have with business metrics?
Accounting Interview Questions That Assess Soft Skills
- How would you present financial data to those who aren’t in the finance department?
- How do you handle tight deadlines? How do you prioritize?
- What are three soft skills you think every accountant needs to succeed? How do you think you demonstrate those skills?
- Have you ever mentored a fellow accounting expert to improve themselves professionally? If so, what was the outcome?
- How do you handle stress? Do you have any specific methods?
- Can you tell me about an obstacle you faced recently and how you overcame it?
- Can you describe a time when you went above and beyond in your job, and what motivated you to do so?
- How do you promote teamwork and collaboration in the workplace?
Hire Only the Best Accountants
When it comes time to interview your next accountant, be sure to ask the right questions to help you determine if they are the right fit for your organization. And if you’re struggling with finding qualified candidates, we can help with that too! We’ll connect you with skill, experienced candidates within just two weeks.