Important Accounting Interview Questions and Answers

a picture of business professionals interviewing for a Accounting role and conducting an interview

Here are accounting interview questions and answers. During your accounting interview, making a positive impression requires demonstrating your job-related abilities and industry expertise. Employers want to know how you operate and how you could fit into their organization. Before your interview, review the job description to learn about the employer's ideal applicant.

accounting interview questions

This guide will assist you in addressing any needed abilities, attributes, or experience in your responses. Provide examples that highlight your professional successes and talents, as well as your personality, to demonstrate why you are the best candidate for the job.

Accounting interview questions and answers

We've put up a list of frequently requested accounting interview questions with sample responses to help you prepare for your interview:

  • What sorts of accounting software do you have experience with?
  • What is the most significant challenge that accountants face?
  • Have you ever come up with your own accounting method?
  • Could you explain the three financial statements to me?
  • Describe how you reduced operating costs in a prior position.
  • What's the difference between accounts receivable and accounts payable?
  • How would you help the team improve their accounting process?
  • How would you improve our generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP)?
  • How can you make the accounting department less prone to human error?
  • Which is more critical: pricing or capability for accounting software?
  • What are the various types of routine accounting transactions?
  • What steps would you take to perform general financial analysis?
  • List out of the stages of a double-entry system.
  • What's the key difference between inactive and dormant accounts?
  • What skills should accounting professionals posses?
  • Tell me a time when you had to prepare a financial statement under a tight deadline.
  • Is there a distinction between executive and public accounting?
  • Are you familiar with the term "project implementation"?
  • Why are you interested in working for us?

accounting interview questions

1. Do you have any experience with accounting software programs?

This question may get asked to check whether you have any familiarity with their accounting software or if you can pick up new software fast. Choose a handful to discuss instead of just the program you're most acquainted with. Include the applications you've recently used or those you've had the greatest experience with.

Example

"I've worked with FreshBooks for over five years and a bespoke accounting software application for over two years, both of which got utilized by my previous company. I worked with Zoho Books, NetSuite ERP, and FreeAgent in previous jobs.

An accounting acquaintance just recommended gusto, and I am now completing an online training session for it."

You may also get asked to describe why you believe one program is better than another. Studying current advances linked to the programs you have worked with is a fantastic method to prepare yourself for this exam.

Example

"We had problems with FreeAgent at my last job, so we switched to FreshBooks. My work was made much simpler by its user-friendly interface and ability to make personalized invoices, automate payment reminders, and apply automated late fines to past due bills.

Once we started using FreshBooks, I discovered that I was able to spend more of my attention on other key accounting duties."

2. What is the most significant problem that accountants face?

The interviewer will evaluate your understanding of the accounting sector, particularly the issues that accountants encounter.

Although there is no right or incorrect answer, it is necessary to offer a fair rationale for your response.

Reading recent news items or industry publications on the subject might help you create an opinion.

Example

"While technology improves our capacity to automate numerous chores, keeping up with the constant improvements can be difficult. As technology advances, it might be challenging to integrate new accounting tasks with existing operational procedures.

I've spent a lot of time assisting software developers in customizing various accounting programs such that the interface is easy and there's little to no downtime.

I'd also add that the constantly changing tax regulations have always been, and will continue to be, a considerable difficulty for accountants. It appears that as soon as we get used to one set of codes, another is applied.

This is, nevertheless, a problem that every actual accountant recognizes as part of the job."

3. Have you ever come up with your own accounting system?

Although this is a yes or no question, you should provide further information. If you don't know, talk about a method you helped design or improve in a previous job to show that you're creative. If you say yes, be prepared to describe the procedure you built and how it benefited the organization. If possible, quantify your influence with numbers.

Example

"I discovered as an accounting manager at ZZZ Company that we were routinely missing late fee payments because we were too far behind to apply them on time.

We didn't charge a late fee even if a client was over 30 days late on an invoice.

I put together a team to see what we could do about it. We transitioned to FreshBooks because it allowed us to automate late penalties on our invoices.

Not only did this raise our sales by 1%, but it also improved our cash flow since clients were more ready to pay their bills on time.

4. What are the three financial statements, and how do you define and explain them?

Accounting is based on balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements. Explain each point and how it works in detail in your response.

Example

"Financial statements may differ in appearance from one firm to the next, but they always include the same sort of information. A balance sheet shows a company's obligations, assets, and stock held by shareholders.

A cash flow statement indicates where the money comes from, including financing, operating, and investing. A complete summary of a company's costs and revenue may get seen on the income statement."

5. Describe how you cut operating costs in a prior position.

A good response to this question demonstrates how you've utilized your analytical and problem-solving abilities to reduce expenses while maintaining high levels of customer service.

Accountants have a greater understanding of a company's financial situation than anybody else. Consequently, they'll be able to spot any unnecessary operating expenditures.

Example

"I've seen businesses sign up for a service, utilize it for a month or two, and then switch to another without terminating the previous service's subscription.

Thousands of dollars might get lost each year due to duplicate services, underused services, and software licensing.

After seeing that we were using a lot of our money for services, I decided to conduct an audit at my previous firm. I went around to each department and talked about the services they were utilizing. Only 57 of the 100 services we were paying for were being used.

Out of the 57, 15 were effectively executing the same tasks. Overall, we decreased the number of benefits from 100 to 42. This resulted in a 4% reduction in yearly operating expenditures, saving $2,575 a month.

6. In the accounting department, how can you decrease the chances of human error?

You must have a good eye for detail if you work in accounting. Make your organizing abilities and aptitude to pay attention to minor things stand out.

Use examples from past positions to illustrate this skill—you may use the STAR approach to explain the scenario, task, action, and outcome when addressing situational interview questions like this.

Example

"I feel that ensuring that each team member can handle their task is the greatest method to prevent human error in the accounting department. As an accounting manager in charge of a large department, I try to establish connections with other workers to determine how much work they can do.

I arrange weekly meetings to allocate work based on my observations of people's skills and limitations. While I believe individuals should get pushed, I try to avoid overloading them. If I believe we need to grow our personnel to split tasks appropriately, I will contact you."

7. Which is more critical: pricing or capability for accounting software?

While the question asks you to pick one of the possibilities, a robust response integrates them. This method demonstrates that you recognize that the cost of the software does not always imply its capability and vice versa.

Example

"When it comes to accounting software, thanks to technological improvements, there is no need to pick between price and functionality. With thorough study, you may locate a $250 per month software application that functions just as well as a $2,000 product.

It ultimately boils down to a company's operational and financial requirements.

I can study to discover a software application that fits well within your budget while still performing all essential features if I have a list of your accounting demands or if I need to make one after examining your operational operations.

There's no need to sacrifice functionality only to save money."

8. How do you distinguish between executive and public accounting?

It is critical to include executive and public accounting instances while responding to this issue. You can highlight the differences between the two from there.

Example

"Executive accounting is a sort of accounting utilized by businesses that provide services to their customers. CPAs and audits are used in public accounting to assist organizations in analyzing their financial records and maintaining responsibility.

Public accountants frequently have experience in various industries, whereas executive accountants typically only have experience in one. Another distinction is that public accountants are required to have CPA certification, but private accountants are not."

9. Are you familiar with the term "project implementation"?

Project implementation is critical to ensure that you accomplish accounting chores with the highest efficiency and effectiveness. Make sure that each component gets listed in the correct sequence.

Example

"Identifying the need, generating and screening ideas, doing a feasibility study, developing the project, implementing the project, and controlling the project are six major components of project execution."

10. What motivates you to work with us?

As an accountant, you may have several work opportunities in various sectors. Because there are so many different career paths to pick from, the hiring manager may want to know why you applied for the position.

A good response explains why you believe you would be a good match for the organization and shows accounting industry experience.

Take the time to learn about the company's fundamental beliefs, mission, and ambitions. It would help to think about how your professional goals and values connect with the companies.

accounting interview questions

Example

"I did a lot of study on your firm and understood that your present employees are pleased to work here. Not only does the atmosphere here appear to be a good fit for me, but your goal statement matches my own work ethic.

I've also seen that your organization is interested in community service, and I'm a big believer in making our town the best it can be, especially since I'm raising a family here."

How should I prepare for an accounting interview?

Here is how to prepare:

  • Perform a mock interview in advance.
  • Review the job description.
  • Have accounting-related soft skills and hard skills ready.
  • Prepare stories that display your competencies and skills.
  • Research the company you're interviewing with.

accounting interview questions

Preparation Resources

The best job interview preparation resources.

free interview question and answer full guide

Interview Question and Answer Guide (PDF)

Download our full interview preparation guide. Complete with common interview questions and example answers. Free download. No email required.

Download PDF

Related Hiring Resources

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

Fact checked: Our small and dedicated team rigorously evaluates every article, guide, and reference to ensure the information is accurate and factual. Learn more.

Share

Help us by spreading the word