Preparing for an Accounting Job Interview

Written By Staff

As demand for qualified professionals in the field of accounting continues to grow, the ability to perform well during an accounting job interview becomes increasingly important. The field of accounting faces changes in legislation and public demand for transparency and ethical practice, and this career field requires for professionals to be knowledgeable and skilled in many areas. To prepare for an interview for an accounting position, prospective job applicants must be ready to answer a variety of questions to illustrate this knowledge and skill.

General Ability and Skill

With any interview, employers want to be sure that candidates are ready for the workforce and are invested in performing well for the company or organization. Many interview questions are designed to find out more about the candidates strengths and weaknesses in past positions and in situations that are likely to arise in a particular firm, work team, or situation.

Employers in an accounting interview might ask interviewees a set of questions that include ideas for past challenges, accomplishments, strengths in a situation such as dealing with a difficult client or group member, examples of working in stressful or fast-paced situations.

Transferable Skills

Transferable skills are gained through previous experience, training and certification, and in the academic environment. These are general skills that illustrate a job candidate’s ability to work in diverse situations and with various tasks.

Interviewers will likely ask candidates to give examples of a time when he or she has used these types of skills in previous situations, whether in a previous job position or in school. Some of the top skills an employer looks for include teamwork, interpersonal communication, written and oral communication, and attention to detail. For accounting, examples of mathematical skills and ethics might also be discussed.

Knowledge of the Company

Candidates must have an understanding of what each company’s purpose and mission are for working with clients and developing business relationships. Questions in this category of an interview often require for a candidate to identify what area specifically he or she would like to work in for the company and why he or she would like to work specifically at that particular company.

Accounting Knowledge

Above all, accounting interviews will include questions designed to decipher the level of knowledge a candidate has of the field of accounting. To best prepare, candidates should be sure to be ready for a review of the knowledge gained in coursework through education, training, and the required certification exams, such as the CPA examination. For additional information on education and certifications, visit the National Society of Accountants website. Employers might also be interested in finding out a candidate’s views on ideas for legislation changes and other specific ethical and legal issues in the field.

Accounting is a diverse field with many specializations and concentrations. Candidates have options for education and certifications, and interviewers will look to identify if candidates are the best fit for a firm’s goals. To prepare for an accounting job interview, future accountants must be ready to illustrate the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to perform and support an organization’s mission.