I have completed many job interviews within the Accounting and Finance sector helping organisations to recruit the best staff. I have seen what works and what doesn’t and in this article I will share with you a sample of the types of questions you will encounter in Accounting and Finance jobs whether in private practice or in a corporate environment.
These can be asked at any Accounting and Finance job interview and for jobs such as:
- Bookkeeping and cashier roles
- Part Qualified and Trainee Accountant
- Qualified Accountants
- Analysts and Auditors
- Management, Financial and Project Accountants,
Head of Finance
- Finance Manager and Finance Director
- And many more
What to Expect in Accounting and Finance Interviews
Most interviews will follow a standard structure which includes:
- Setting the Scene
Questions will vary depending on the employer, the level of job you are applying for, the amount of accounting experience you have, the recommended recruiting policy and the personal preference of the interviewer.
Training and Qualifications
You should expect questions exploring your accountancy training, study plans to become an accountant, qualifications and your understanding of accounting terminology and practice.
Skills and Experience
The interviewer will ask questions based on your experience as shown on your CV.
This relates to key skills required such as your ability to have good analytical and numerical skills, ability to work to tight deadlines, to demonstrate effective communication and ability to deliver quality and accurate output.
Personality and Motivation
Your reasons for applying or for choosing the accounting and finance sector and this employer, how you see your accountancy career developing and the steps you will take to develop your finance skills.
For more senior Finance positions, you should expect questions exploring your ability to motivate and develop a team of accountants or clerical staff, your ability to build relationships and to generate income streams.
Competencies For Accounting and Finance Jobs
Many interviews in the Accounting and Finance sector are now Competency Based and Behavioural. Questions will be structured so as to discover how your behaviour in a past activity can influence your performance in the job going forward.
These questions can be very tricky to answer however they can be mastered with some training and practice.
These Accounting and Finance interview questions can be very specific or can be very general however your answer will need to demonstrate a broad range of skills. This will be even more important the higher you progress on the career ladder.
While the Job Description and Person Specification will give you the exact skills required, you may find interview question exploring the following competencies:
- Numerical Ability
- Problem Solving
- Planning and Organising
- General Ledger and Computer Skills
- Attention to detail
- Ability to work to strict deadlines
For qualified accountants and senior managers competencies can include:
- Strategic and Operational Management
- Building Relationships
- Leadership and ability to manage a team
- Motivating and Developing Others
- Negotiation and Communication at Senior level
- Strategic Thinking
Sample Interview Questions for Accountant and Finance Jobs
Take a moment to see how you would answer these questions?
Interview Question 1: ‘Tell me about the advantages and disadvantages of the different Accounting packages you have used recently.‘
Interview Question 2: ‘Describe a time when you had to build a collaborative relationship either within your department or outside in order to achieve a particular goal. What steps did you take to ensure this was a success?‘
Interview Question 3: ‘What do you know about recent IAS changes and to what extent have you been involved with their implementation in your organisation?’
Interview Question 4: ‘Describe a time when you had to work exceptionally hard to provide great service to a customer or client. What did you do and what was the outcome.‘
Interview Question 5: ‘Give me an example of the different approaches you have used when persuading your team, colleagues or manager to agree with your views.‘
Interview Question 6: ‘Talk me through an example of how you have used data to improve your teams productivity.‘
* Questions taken from the InterviewGold Interview System.
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