If you're a graduate looking to get into accounting and need to get a feel for the kind of questions employers might ask at interview, then make sure you research these graduate accounting interview questions below. These questions and answers are taken from real graduate interviews, and compiled to give you an idea of what to expect and how to prepare your answers.
Example Accounting Interview Questions:
Can you convey technical information to someone of more or less technical ability? Please give an example.
With this question the interviewer will be looking for confidence and clear communication in your answer. Remain composed, concise and precise in your answer, and demonstrate your ability to digest information. Your example could be anything, for instance, one candidate used the example of showing a foreign language student how to use an oyster card. They broke it down into each stage fully explaining not only how but why each action needed to be carried out. The interviewer will be looking for someone that can digest a process in this way, as well as someone who is very patient and adaptable in their method of communication.
Why do you want to be an accountant?
This question will always come up and the answer really differs from business to business. Make sure you fully understand the area you are interviewing for. For example, if the role was in audit they would be looking for you to focus on your interest in helping an organisation understand how they have been operating over a period and presenting areas that they can improve. On the flip side if the role was in tax you could say something like you enjoy trying to save people money by tightening their current plan and searching for loopholes. With certain roles there is lots of legislation which is a more technical area for those with an eye for detail.Forensic Accountancy, however, is more investigative, using a problem solving process where you would focus on individual, cooperate or personal disputes. Equally for any area of Accountancy they will be looking for someone who has a passion for data and a keen eye for high level analysis so work that into your answer. Make sure you're very clear on what your role entails so you don't make the mistake of saying you are interested in an area that is unrelated. Prior research is key.
Can you give examples of when you've helped a team be successful?
This is a question that you should always have a couple of examples ready for. Anything that demonstrates you have supported or had a positive influence on a group is a good start. Remember, this is not to be confused with leadership questions as this quite often happens. They want to see how you worked within a team, not how you lead a team. The best kind of example an interviewer would look for would be an example where the team has improved or come back from a hard situation due to your efforts rather than your role in maintaining a team's success. They will be looking out for examples of resilience, co-operation and professionalism so make sure you get this across in your answer.
Why have you chosen to apply for accountancy?
Focus on your motivation for Accountancy in general, and then the specific business area that you are applying to i.e. Audit, Tax, Management Accounting etc. This shows that you aren’t just blanket applying, you have done your research, and you have real reasons why you want to pursue an Accountancy career. Finally, show a general interest in financial principles and how they affect both corporate and civil clients.
What knowledge of accounting standards do you currently hold?
Refer to knowledge gained through relevant degree modules, and demonstrate previous research that could relate to the accountancy qualifications such as ACA, ACCA, CIMA. The level of knowledge expected in this area will vary greatly across different business areas.
Currently, how do you handle the minimising risk of error within your work?
For this question, you would not be expected to have examples directly related to accounting or financial management (but if you do, mention them). The interviewer will want to see that you are quality and detail-focussed, so examples of where you have had to produce high quality written work is just as relevant. You need to demonstrate that you are someone who will only submit a piece of work once you are 100% certain it is correct.
In what way do you manage high-stress environments?
Accountants will commonly work on multiple projects at once, which will often have deadlines very close together. Therefore, you have to demonstrate that you can prioritise multiple responsibilities, and also not become overwhelmed when these occur. Having just finished university, your exams, dissertation, part-time job and extra-curricular activities can be great examples of juggling multiple duties. However, many people will give similar answers, so if possible, try to think of some examples that are unique to you, especially where you can demonstrate a successful outcome.