30 Accountant Questions for Interview (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 12 June 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Interviewing for an accountant role is the final step in your job search for an accountancy position. Understanding some common questions that companies ask accountants can help you prepare your answers and feel more confident during your accountancy interview. Feeling in control and well-prepared can help you secure employment as an accountant. In this article, we share 30 common accountant questions for interview sessions and some examples that can help you prepare answers for your next accounting interview.

General accountant interview questions

When you apply for work as an accountant, your interviewer may ask some general questions to assess your personality and whether you'd suit the firm's corporate culture. Here are some of the common general questions an interviewer may ask you:

  • What made you decide to pursue a career in accountancy?

  • In your own words, what do you think an accountant's role is?

  • What do you think the most important skills for accountants are?

  • What is your greatest strength as an accountant?

  • Do you have any professional weaknesses?

  • Why do you want to work for our company?

  • What challenges are you looking for in this role?

  • Are you open to working longer hours during tax time?

  • What accounting or finance publications do you read?

  • Do you plan to pursue further study or certifications in the future?

Related: Top 16 Interview Questions and Answers

Accounting questions for an interview about experience and background

Your interviewer may also ask questions about your experience and background in accounting to assess whether you have the technical knowledge and skills required to succeed in the vacant job. Some technical accounting interview questions about your professional experience and background may include:

  • What accounting software are you comfortable using?

  • What is the most challenging accounting task you've had to complete?

  • How do you make sure you're working accurately?

  • What is the relationship between a balance sheet and an income statement?

  • Can you describe a time when you had to explain a complex accounting or financial process to someone who didn't work in the industry?

  • Can you explain the difference between accounts payable and accounts receivable?

  • What techniques have you used for estimating bad debt?

  • What accounting reports do you feel comfortable preparing, comparing and evaluating?

  • Can you describe a time you managed a team?

  • Can you describe a time you worked as part of a team?

In-depth interview questions for accountant roles

Your interviewer may also ask more complex accountancy interview questions about your experiences and how you would handle different professional situations. These questions about accounting help employers assess your thought processes and whether you could handle the responsibilities of the job. Here are some common in-depth interview questions for accountants:

  • How would you handle completing a complex financial project with a tight deadline?

  • How would you handle completing multiple projects with the same deadline?

  • How would you deal with an accounting discrepancy you found in our figures?

  • How do you know if financial data is reliable?

  • If a private company with break-even operations got a $10 million investment, what approach would you use to invest or spend that money?

  • How would you deal with a difficult client?

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the accounting software you're most familiar with?

  • Why do you think about recent updates in the accounting standards?

  • What do you consider the biggest challenge facing accountants today?

  • What impact do you think technology such as artificial intelligence and automation will have on the finance industry?

Related: 5 Situational Interview Questions With Example Answers

Examples of accountant interview questions and answers

To help you answer some of the most common interview questions for accountants, we've provided sample answers for six of the questions above.

Can you describe a time you managed a team?

Interviewers often ask this question to assess their candidates' initiative and leadership potential. If you've managed a team before, you are likely to be an asset to the company who could rise to a senior role in future. A recent example showing professional leadership is ideal. However, if you lack professional experience, you could also cite an example from your academic or personal life, such as captaining a debating team or organising a fundraising drive for a local charity. Your example should show you have a variety of skills such as interpersonal, time management and motivational skills.

Example: ‘I led a team of four accountants in my last role. I relied on my attention to detail to review all data for creditors and debtors. Problem-solving was also important when I came across errors in my colleagues' work. My motivational skills helped inspire the team to complete all their work before our quarterly deadlines. I believe the experience made me a more efficient accountant, as I needed to work productively to complete my own tasks and review and correct my colleagues' output'.

Can you describe a time you worked as part of a team?

Interviewers ask this question to assess their candidate's interpersonal skills. They prefer examples from your professional life, but you may cite examples from your academic or personal life if you're a recent graduate. Your answer should show experience building relationships, showing teamwork and fulfilling your responsibilities to others. If you learned something through your experience, note this to show self-awareness and commitment to self-improvement.

Example: ‘I was part of a team managing the accounts of a local florist in my last job. I was responsible for preparing the client's tax returns and minimising their tax burden. I relied on data from other members of my team to complete their tax returns accurately and on time and I know others relied on me in a similar way. I think that experience made me a bit more conscious of the importance of deadlines. I also learned a lot from a senior team member who had more experience with tax minimisation than I did'.

Do you have any professional weaknesses?

This question helps interviewers assess your self-awareness and if you have any weaknesses that may impact your ability to do the job. Choose a single weakness that that is unlikely to substantially impact your performance. Note ways that you are working to strengthen your skills.

Example: ‘I am a naturally introverted person who really thrives when I am focusing on my own work. However, I understand that accountants work as team members so I am working on overcoming this trait in the office. I joined Toastmasters to practice speaking publicly, which I think is helping me become a better communicator'.

Related: List of Weaknesses: 8 Things to Say In an Interview

Why do you want to work for our company?

Interviewers ask this question to determine whether you've researched their company and what parts of the business appeal to you. It's a good way to gauge your interest in the position and personality. Mention what you've read about the company's corporate culture, history and unique selling points and how they relate to you personally in your answer.

Example: ‘Your company has been a trusted business in the local community for the last 20 years. I appreciate your focus on helping small businesses succeed because that's what attracted me to accounting in the first place. As a recent graduate, I also think your commitment to innovation through social media and video conferencing with clients is really impressive'.

Related: Interview Question: "Why Do You Want to Work Here?"

How would you deal with an accounting discrepancy you found in our figures?

This question helps the interviewer assess your problem-solving techniques and accounting processes. Talk the interviewer through your process, using accessible language in case they are unfamiliar with accounting jargon.

Example: ‘I understand that most accounting discrepancies come from human error. I'd go back to the source of the original data came from and double-check the figures. Errors are often made when transposing data and counting stock. I'd look for these common causes for accounting discrepancies. If these efforts were unsuccessful, I'd speak to my supervisor and explain the process we'd taken to verify how to proceed'.

How do you know if financial data is reliable?

Interviewers ask this question to assess your critical thinking skills. Explain the mental checks you make when faced with data that ensure you're only working with reliable figures. Remember to use accessible language so the interviewer can clearly understand your answer.

Example: ‘I know financial data is reliable when is verifiable, which means that if auditors or other third parties assess it, they will get the same results. It should accurately represent what's occurring in a company. It should also be neutral or unbiased. I understand managers have biases that can impact the reliability of their financial data. I use proactive monitoring features in enterprise resource planning platforms and manual spot checks to catch errors and anomalies which may indicate data is unreliable, then launch investigations as needed'.

Explore more articles