While your resume gets your foot in the door, it's the in person interview that will make or break you as a candidate for an accounting position. Actively preparing for your interview, including practicing answers to common accounting interview questions, will help you make a great first impression on the hiring manager. Read on to learn more about the five most common accounting interview questions.
1. Why Do You Want to Be an Accountant?
This fairly standard interview question is a typical warm-up, since it's an opening that breaks the ice and allows the hiring manager to get to know you better. That doesn't mean, however, that it's a throwaway question. You should answer thoughtfully by giving examples of things that happened in your life that led you to the accounting field. Were you the fifth grade class treasurer? Did you save for months to buy your first car? Whatever the scenario, give the interviewer some background about yourself and your studies.
2. Do You Possess Any Knowledge of Accounting Standards?
Even if you've never had a job in the field before, you should be prepared to answer this question with some knowledge of international accounting standards (IAS). While there are so many facets of IAS that it would be possible to be up to speed on all of them, prior to an interview you should do some research on the most recent changes to these standards and be prepared to discuss.
3. How Do You Minimize the Risk for Errors in Your Work?
As an accountant, you'll be held to a very high standard of excellence, especially since even the smallest errors can lead to big financial issues. In response to this question, it's important to discuss the importance of checking your work several times and establishing a system of checks and balances. It also helps to give an example of a time that you caught an error through double checking or another method.
4. Describe a Time When You've Helped Reduce Costs
This can be a challenging question, especially if you've never held an accounting job before. While some accountants strictly do their jobs, others go above and beyond by making suggestions to management and identifying areas where money can be saved. By describing a scenario from your coursework or an internship, you can show the hiring manager that you're willing to go beyond and be a team player.
5. Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?
A common question in all industries, this question gives you the chance to show off your foresight and ambition. Your answer should be both modest and truthful, highlighting the things that you hope to learn from a position with the organization you're interviewing with while displaying a solid plan for your short term career trajectory.
By preparing for these accounting interview questions, you can increase your chance of getting a job in your chosen field, even if you're a new graduate. It may be helpful to practice with friends or family members before you land your first interview. And for more valuable interview tips, visit LiveCareer’s Interview Tips page.