Common Interview Questions for Bookkeepers
A bookkeeper fulfills many vital functions for an organization. By maintaining accurate records and identifying discrepancies, bookkeepers help to ensure balance, accountability, and profitability for a company. It’s very likely that the types of questions you’re asked in a job interview will relate to two main ideas: your knowledge and experience, as well as your reliability and discretion.
Questions About Your Job Skills
A hiring manager needs to know that you’re able to perform the core functions of the job, and so you should certainly expect to be asked about your skills and experience. One of the foremost concerns will likely relate to your software familiarity. Modern bookkeeping is largely performed on computers using applications such as QuickBooks, Excel, and Peachtree. Ideally, you’re well versed with such common programs and will be able to note this in your interview. Elaborating on your specific knowledge and proficiency is a good idea.
On a more general level, you might be asked about your experience as a bookkeeper. If you’ve performed previous work in the field and you have noteworthy experience to speak of, you’re already ahead of the game. Confidently describe who you’ve worked for in the past, in what capacity, and what your job duties entailed. Talk about why you were successful and what knowledge can be applied to your next position.
Don’t worry if you’re newer to the profession and don’t have direct work experience to expound on. Again, confidence is important. Emphasize your positive qualities and those inherent traits which make you a viable candidate for the job. If your knowledge and skills line up with the employer’s requirements, often times the deciding factors are your attitude, personality, and confidence level more than existing experience.
Questions About Yourself
The other general line of questioning you’re likely to receive has more to do with you as a person and a potential employee. As bookkeeping deals with sensitive financial information, most hiring managers will been keen to confirm that you’re able to maintain confidentiality under all circumstances. This means outside of work as well—you’ll have to be comfortable working in a field where you might not have much opportunity to talk about the specifics of your work with friends or family.
In any case, it’s definitely a requirement that you treat sensitive information in an appropriate fashion and display this during an interview. If a prospective employer doesn’t feel the utmost confidence in your discretion, don’t expect that individual to feel comfortable handing you the keys to the vault, so to speak. This is another situation where any previous experience can be helpful—showing you’ve done it before successfully is one of the best ways to validate your claims.
Finally, some companies will seek out bookkeeping professionals who are highly flexible in terms of their schedule. Larger organizations in particular can have need for bookkeepers who are available more or less around the clock, in the cases of emergencies or other specialized needs. Obviously you’ll need to base your response on your realistic capabilities, so consider this fact when deciding which companies you might wish to apply to.
Regardless of the response you form, always highlight your understanding of business needs. By stating that you realize the importance of the position and of access to information, you show that you’re thinking beyond your own job and seeing the big-picture needs of the organization. If you’re not available at specific times and/or days, discuss that you have periodic obligations that can’t necessarily be worked around.
You don’t need to explain exactly what goes on at each moment of your day, but if you emphasize that you’re available more often than not, you might allay your interviewer’s concerns enough to consider you for the job. Accentuate the positive aspects of your abilities and try to find common ground for best results.