It’s officially tax season and the demand for tax preparer services is on the rise. Tax preparers are responsible for interpreting financial information and preparing detailed tax forms. As a result, it’s important to thoroughly assess candidates for tax preparer roles to ensure they have the knowledge and experience to be successful.
Check out these skills to look for and list of interview questions that will help you hire qualified tax professionals.
Tax Preparer Skills
When interviewing prospective tax preparers, consider asking questions regarding any skills that may support their core competencies, such as:
- Knowledge of tax law
- Attention to detail
- Customer service
- Critical thinking
For an in-depth look at a few select tax preparer skills, click here.
As you prepare to interview tax preparers for your team, try to create a balanced list of questions that can give insight into their skills, experience, and even thought processes. Here are 20+ knowledge-based, skill-based, and situational interview questions to help you get started.
- Describe a complex tax return you prepared and the steps you took to ensure accuracy.
- How do you stay up-to-date with changes in tax laws and regulations?
- Explain the difference between deductions and credits.
- What are some common tax deductions for self-employed individuals?
- How do you handle situations where clients lack complete or accurate documentation?
- How do you maximize deductions for your clients?
- Look for responses where the candidate provides specific strategies and acknowledges the importance of having accurate tax knowledge.
- Are you proficient in tax preparation software like ProSeries or Lacerte?
- Are you familiar with other accounting software?
- Describe your experience with e-filing tax returns.
- Define basic accounting principles like accrual accounting and cash accounting.
- How do you calculate depreciation and amortization?
- Explain the difference between a profit and loss statement and a balance sheet.
- How do you explain complex tax information to clients in a way they can understand?
- Describe a situation where you had to manage a difficult client.
- How do you handle disagreement with clients on specific tax strategies?
Organization and Time Management:
- How do you prioritize and manage multiple deadlines during tax season?
- Describe your system for organizing client files and documents.
- How do you ensure accuracy and avoid errors in your work?
- Tell me about a time you encountered a problem while preparing a tax return. How did you resolve it?
- What steps do you take to ensure the confidentiality of client information?
- How do you adapt to changing situations and new challenges?
And if you plan to conduct a brief assessment of their technical skills, consider these prompts:
- Prepare a sample tax return for a hypothetical client.
- Research a recent tax law change and explain its impact on clients.
Hiring the Right Tax Preparer
Asking these questions during the interview process will help you home in on tax preparer candidates who are ethical, detail-oriented, and knowledgeable. Pair the assessment of their responses with the information provided on their resume to select a well-rounded candidate for your team.
If you’re looking for assistance in sourcing qualified candidates in your area, we can help! Connect with us through the form below and one of our experts will reach out to get your search started.