36 Sample Bookkeeper Interview Questions (with Helpful Tips)
Bookkeeping is the process of recording and monitoring an organisation's financial records. You may interview for an in-house bookkeeping role, a job at a bookkeeping practice or a position as a freelance bookkeeper. Reviewing questions businesses often ask bookkeepers can help you prepare for your interview. In this article, we list 36 examples of interview questions for bookkeepers and some interview tips.
General bookkeeper interview questions
When you apply for a job, the interviewer may ask general bookkeeper interview questions to assess your personality. Here are some common general interview questions for bookkeepers:
Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
Why did you want to become a bookkeeper?
What do you know about this business?
What is your greatest professional achievement?
How do you stay motivated?
What are your best professional qualities?
What is your greatest professional weakness?
Why do you feel you're the best candidate for this job?
What type of working schedule appeals most to you?
Are you set up to work remotely?
Related: How to Prepare for a Job Interview
Questions for bookkeepers about experience and background
The interviewer may also want to understand more about the professional experience you outlined on your resume. Here are some common questions an interviewer may ask about your career history:
What type of accounting systems are you comfortable with?
How much have you interacted with clients and vendors?
What type of financial reports have you prepared? Do you have any experience directly related to this industry?
Describe a time you faced a setback and the lesson you learned from it?
How do you ensure the security of confidential financial information?
When might you use the cash-basis method?
How do you manage customer invoicing?
How have you reduced costs for a previous employer or client?
What steps have you taken recently to improve your bookkeeping knowledge or skills?
Can you describe a time you displayed excellent organisational skills?
In-depth bookkeeper questions
As working with a business's financial data is a serious responsibility, an interviewer may ask more complex questions about your experience and how you might handle different scenarios. Here are examples of more in-depth interview questions for bookkeepers:
What do you imagine may be the biggest challenge in this position?
Do you think accrual or cash basis reporting is a better system for the business?
What could you do if a department head asked you to pay an invoice without any documentation?
How could you use the cost accounting method to record an insurance method?
How might you handle a colleague doing minimal work?
What could you do if it seemed likely you may miss a deadline?
How might you approach explaining a complex accounting issue to a manager from a non-financial background?
How could you reconcile different information on a balance sheet and income statement?
What are the greatest challenges with the increase in remote working and how do you address them?
After researching the business, are there any strategies you think might increase our revenue?
Interview questions with sample answers for bookkeepers
Reading sample answers for common interview questions can help you plan how you might answer similar questions. Here are some examples of bookkeeping interview questions and answers:
1. Why are you interested in this position?
Your interviewer may ask this question to determine what motivates you. Understanding your motivations can reveal your values and how you might complement other team members. Speak from the heart and try to highlight the elements of the job or the aspects of the company that make it unique.
Example: 'I'm passionate about helping small businesses like yours succeed. My parents also ran a restaurant when I was growing up, so the idea of working for a similar business and helping it thrive really appeals to me. Their business had cash management issues until they employed a bookkeeper, so I've seen the difference that hiring someone with that professional expertise can make. I would love to bring that expertise to your business'.
2. What qualities can help you succeed in this role?
An interviewer may ask this question to see whether you understand the personal qualities that help bookkeepers succeed in their careers. Highlight a few of your best traits and the ways they relate to bookkeeping duties. Mentioning any traits the employer requested in the job advertisement can show how you're suitable for the specific role:
Example: 'I am a detail-orientated person who knows the impact one incorrect digit can make on a business's books. I pride myself on being a focused person who can block out any external noise and always concentrate on the job at hand. I also have a natural aptitude for computers that helps me confidently prepare spreadsheets and work with various bookkeeping programs'.
3. Briefly describe your career experience.
The interviewer wants to know how your career experience has prepared you for the bookkeeping role. Focus on your experience as a bookkeeper. You can mention how long you've been a bookkeeper and some of the key things you've learned during this time. You may also mention any outstanding achievements. If you have no bookkeeping experience, you could mention how other jobs or your study have prepared you for the role.
Example: 'I have spent the last five years working as a bookkeeper for a bookkeeping firm, managing the books for small businesses in the retail sector. The more experienced bookkeepers taught me how to reconcile ledgers, read financial statements and create spreadsheets. That experience has given me the confidence to pursue in-house opportunities for businesses I feel passionate about'.
4. Describe what a typical day looks like for you.
The interviewer asks this question to determine how you structure your day and prioritise your duties. They're assessing how your usual routine may fit in with the business. Explain what you did on a usual day and try to align your description with the duties described in the job advertisement. This approach helps the interviewer imagine how you could work for the business.
Example: 'I start my day processing new invoices and payments received. I then refer to the list of payments due and make necessary vendor payments for purchases. I record transactions in the ledgers and post them to the appropriate accounts by the end of each day so they can work with the most accurate records'.
5. What was the greatest challenge in your last bookkeeping role and how did you overcome it?
An interviewer asks this question to assess your problem-solving skills. Think of a challenging experience in your last role. The STAR (situation, task, action and result) method can help you clearly explain the issue and the steps you took to address it.
Example: 'The greatest challenge in my last job was ensuring I had all the information I needed to maintain accurate records. The business owner purchased many business items with cash and sometimes had no receipts. I emphasised the importance of always collecting receipts and encouraged them to scan all receipts into an expense tracking program. This process became a habit, helping me maintain accurate records for the business'.
6. Imagine the business's ledger is out by 80 cents. How would you find the error?
The interviewer asks this question to assess your process for detecting and correcting errors. A good answer shows your mathematical, analytical and problem-solving skills. The STAR method can help you present your solution logically and completely.
Example: 'If I noticed this kind of small error, I'd first check whether the software caused the issue. I understand software can become corrupted during updates and this might create errors in the business's accounting details. If I verified the software was fine, I'd check the monthly balance sheet to ensure every ledger account was accurate. If the problem was with a single account, I'd write such a small balance off in a miscellaneous expense account'.
Interview tips for bookkeepers
These tips can help you improve your interview technique and chances of securing a bookkeeping role:
Promote your soft skills. While it's natural to focus on technical bookkeeping skills, highlighting vital soft skills like organisation and time management can show you're a well-rounded individual and set you apart from other candidates.
Give concise answers. Focus on only providing relevant information to give concise answers that clearly make your point.
Try to be authentic. Sharing unique experiences and speaking with passion can make your interview more memorable.
Show what you know. Referring to your research about the company and knowledge of the position proves your preparation for the interview and interest in the role.
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