Prepare for your Accounting Specialist interview. Understand the required skills and qualifications, anticipate the questions you may be asked, and study well-prepared answers using our sample responses.
The Uniform Commercial Code is a set of laws that govern commercial transactions. It’s important for accounting specialists to understand the UCC because they may need to apply it in their work. If you’re not familiar with the UCC, it’s best to say so and explain that you’d like to learn more about it.
Answer Example: “I’m not completely familiar with the Uniform Commercial Code, but I’ve read through some of the sections in my accounting classes. I find the topic interesting and would like to learn more about it. I’m confident that with some additional research, I could become proficient in the UCC.”
This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills and abilities they’re looking for in an accounting specialist. Use your answer to highlight a few of the most important qualities, such as attention to detail, organization and communication skills.
Answer Example: “The most important qualities for an accounting specialist are attention to detail, strong communication skills and the ability to work independently. As an accounting specialist, I am responsible for reviewing and analyzing financial statements, which requires me to be extremely thorough in my work. I also need to be able to communicate effectively with other professionals in the company, such as management and executives, about any issues I find with the company’s finances. Finally, I need to be able to work independently without much supervision so I can ensure that all tasks are completed accurately and on time.”
This question is a great way to show your knowledge of the accounting industry and how it works. You can answer this question by describing the various responsibilities of an accountant, such as recording financial transactions, compiling reports and analyzing data.
Answer Example: “The role of an accountant in a company is to ensure that all financial records are accurate and up-to-date. I am responsible for recording all transactions that take place within the company, including purchases, sales and payments. I also compile monthly reports that show the company’s revenue, expenses and assets. These reports are essential for decision-making and planning.”
The interviewer may ask this question to learn about your experience with accounting software. If you have previous experience using bookkeeping software, share what you like about the program and how it has helped you with your job duties. If you don’t have any experience using bookkeeping software, explain that you are willing to learn new software programs.
Answer Example: “I have extensive experience with bookkeeping software. I have been using QuickBooks for five years and have become very familiar with its features. I am confident in my ability to use this software to its fullest potential. In my current position as an accounting specialist, I use QuickBooks to manage client accounts, record transactions and prepare financial reports.”
This question allows you to show the interviewer your problem-solving skills and how you can apply them in the workplace. When answering this question, try to identify a specific example where you solved a problem, helped others solve their problems or improved processes within the accounting department.
Answer Example: “In my last role as an accounting specialist, I noticed that our department was receiving more customer inquiries than normal. After investigating the issue, I found out that one of our accountants had incorrectly entered information into our database, which caused customers to receive incorrect statements. Instead of letting the accountant continue to enter incorrect data, I trained him on how to properly enter information into the system so that it would not happen again.”
This question allows you to show the interviewer what your priorities will be if hired. It’s important to highlight areas that are relevant to the job description and show how you can contribute to the organization’s goals.
Answer Example: “My primary focus would be on accounting operations, including accounts receivable and payable, budgeting and forecasting, and financial reporting. I also plan to spend time on financial analysis and forecasting, as well as managing the company’s accounting system. Finally, I would like to ensure that all accounting processes are up-to-date and compliant with current regulations.”
This question can help the interviewer determine how you would react if you made a mistake and how you would fix it. Use your answer to highlight your ability to admit fault, learn from it and move forward.
Answer Example: “If I noticed an error in one of my previous financial reports, I would first try to remember what led me to make that mistake. Then, I would re-examine the information to ensure that I hadn’t made any other errors in that report. If I did find additional mistakes, I would immediately correct them and ensure that everyone who needed to see the corrected report received it. Finally, I would work with my supervisor to develop strategies to prevent this from happening again in the future.”
Accounting is a high-stress job. Employers ask this question to make sure you can handle the pressure of the job. In your answer, explain how you manage stress and what techniques you use to stay calm. Share a specific example from your past where you had to handle a stressful situation.
Answer Example: “I am a very organized person, so I find that keeping my desk clean and organized helps me stay calm when things get stressful. When I was an accountant for a small business, I once had to complete an entire month’s worth of accounting work in one weekend. I stayed up all night for two days straight working on the reports. However, I still managed to complete everything on time.”
This question is a great way for the interviewer to see how you interact with them and assess your interest in the role. It’s important to ask questions that show you’ve done your research about the company, its culture and the position itself.
Answer Example: “I noticed that this position requires accounting experience, but you also mention that you’re looking for someone with a background in finance. I have both of those skills, so I’m curious if there are any other specific qualifications you’re looking for in an accounting specialist.”
This question can help the interviewer determine how committed you are to your career and whether you’re likely to stay with their company for a long time. Your answer should show that you’re eager to learn new things, but it’s also important to mention any certifications you’ve earned or courses you’ve taken in the past.
Answer Example: “I am always looking for ways to improve my knowledge of accounting laws and regulations. Recently, I took an online course on tax preparation for small businesses because I felt like I needed a refresher on some of the basics. In addition to this, I regularly read industry publications and attend conferences where experts share their insights.”
This question is a great way to show your accounting expertise and how you can apply it to an organization. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think about what current standards your company uses and what changes you would make to improve them.
Answer Example: “I believe that the best financial reporting procedures involve using accurate and timely data. To implement new standards at my current job, I have been working on creating automated reports that provide up-to-date information on our financial status. These reports are sent out weekly to managers so they can track their budgets and expenses.”
The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your accounting process and how you ensure the accuracy of your work. Use examples from previous jobs where you had to double-check your work, including what steps you took to ensure it was accurate.
Answer Example: “I always start by reading through the documents thoroughly, making sure I understand all the information presented. Then, I check my calculations to make sure they’re correct. After that, I compare my results with those from my colleague who worked on the same project to make sure we both arrived at the same conclusions. Finally, I submit my report to my supervisor so they can review it before sending it out.”
Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their company. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences that qualify you for this role. Focus on what makes you unique from other candidates and highlight any certifications or training you have completed.
Answer Example: “I believe my experience and education make me stand out from other candidates for this position. I have been working as an accounting specialist for five years, and during that time I’ve gained extensive knowledge of financial reporting procedures and accounting software. My degree in business administration with a focus on accounting has given me the ability to understand complex financial statements and calculations.”
The interviewer may ask this question to determine your experience with accounting software programs. Use your answer to highlight the programs you’re most familiar with and explain how you’ve used them in the past.
Answer Example: “I have extensive experience using Microsoft Office, including Excel, Word and PowerPoint. I also have experience with Intuit QuickBooks, which is one of the most popular accounting software programs for small businesses. I’ve worked with this program for several years, and I’m confident in my ability to use it efficiently and accurately. In fact, I recently helped a client set up their QuickBooks account so they could track their finances more effectively.”
Customer service is an important part of any job, but it’s especially important for accounting specialists. Employers ask this question to make sure you understand how important customer service is and that you can provide excellent customer service yourself. In your answer, explain what you think is most important about providing customer service to clients.
Answer Example: “I think communication is the most important aspect of customer service for an accounting specialist. Accounting specialists work with many different types of clients, so it’s important to be able to communicate clearly with them all. I always make sure to answer any questions my clients have in a timely manner so they feel comfortable asking me anything.”
This question can help the interviewer determine your knowledge of internal audits and how often businesses should perform them. Your answer should include a specific number or time frame, depending on what is most appropriate for the situation.
Answer Example: “I recommend that businesses perform internal audits at least once per year, but depending on their size and financial activity, they may need to do so more frequently. For example, if a company has multiple locations or employees who have access to sensitive information, they may want to perform an internal audit every quarter.”
This question is a great way to test your problem-solving skills and ability to work under pressure. When answering this question, it can be helpful to explain the steps you would take to solve the issue.
Answer Example: “I would first look at the accounts to see if there was any obvious reason for the discrepancy. If not, I would then contact the client to make sure they haven’t made any recent changes to their records. If the discrepancy still isn’t resolved, I would contact my manager for advice on how to proceed.”
This question can help the interviewer understand how you communicate with non-accounting professionals and whether you have experience doing so. Use examples from previous roles to explain how you helped your colleagues understand financial information, including any strategies you used to simplify the information for them.
Answer Example: “In my last role as an accounting specialist, I was responsible for creating quarterly reports for our company’s executives. These reports contained information about our revenue, expenses and profit margins, which are all complex concepts. To make sure my colleagues understood the data, I would walk them through each section of the report and answer any questions they had. This helped me build relationships with other departments and ensured they received accurate information.”
This question can help the interviewer understand how you handle challenges and overcome obstacles. Use examples from your past experience to show that you are able to adapt to new situations, solve problems and work independently.
Answer Example: “In my last position, I was tasked with creating financial reports for my company’s managers every month. However, one month I forgot to enter one of the company’s vendors into the system, which caused me to miss the deadline for submitting the report. I realized my mistake right away and worked late into the night to enter the missing information into the system so I could meet the deadline.”
This question can help interviewers determine your ability to find errors in accounting records and how you would go about doing so. Use examples from past experiences where you found errors in financial records, identified their cause and resolved them.
Answer Example: “I would first look at the organization’s general ledger to see if there were any discrepancies between the totals listed there and those in the subsidiary ledgers. If I still couldn’t find the error, I would then check the subsidiary ledgers themselves to make sure they matched up with the general ledger. If there was still no sign of the error, I would talk to the person who created the original records to see if they remember making any mistakes.”
The interviewer may ask this question to assess your knowledge of accounting codes and standards. These are documents that outline the procedures that accountants should follow when completing their work. Having a basic understanding of these codes and standards can help you complete your tasks more efficiently.
Answer Example: “Yes, I am familiar with accounting codes and standards. I have been working as an accounting specialist for five years now, and I’ve always been careful to ensure that I follow all of the appropriate procedures when completing my work. In fact, I often go above and beyond what is required of me in order to ensure that my work is accurate and thorough. For example, I recently completed a project where I had to calculate the cost of goods sold for a client. The code required me to use the last-in, first-out method, but I also wanted to make sure that I used the most recent information available. So, I contacted the client to find out when they had last purchased inventory.”
This question is an opportunity to show your analytical skills and how you can use data to make decisions. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a specific situation where you used data to identify areas for cost-saving measures in your previous role.
Answer Example: “In my last role as an accounting specialist, I was responsible for creating reports that showed the company’s spending trends. Once a month, I would create these reports and send them to the CEO so he could review them and make sure we were spending money wisely. One month, I noticed that we were spending more on advertising than usual. After looking into the reason behind this, I found out that we were running a promotion that was attracting more customers than usual.”
The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience working with auditors and how you interact with them. Use your answer to highlight any previous experiences working with auditors, including the types of audits you’ve completed and the challenges you’ve faced while working with auditors.
Answer Example: “In my last role as an accounting specialist, I worked directly with auditors to complete annual financial statements. The auditors would come into our office once a month to review our records and ensure they were accurate. The biggest challenge I faced when working with auditors was making sure all of our records were organized and accurate so they could easily find information when they visited.”
This question can help the interviewer determine your experience level and how it relates to the job description. Use examples from your past to highlight your skills, knowledge and abilities in preparing financial reports.
Answer Example: “In my last role as an accounting specialist, I prepared monthly financial reports for my manager that included information about sales, expenses and budgets. I also created weekly reports for the sales team that showed them how they were performing compared to their goals. These reports helped the company understand where they stood financially and allowed them to make decisions based on the information.”
The interviewer may ask this question to assess your comfort level with using Excel spreadsheets. This software is commonly used in accounting, so it’s important to show that you’re comfortable using it. If you’ve never used Excel before, consider mentioning that you’re willing to learn how to use it.
Answer Example: “I’m very comfortable using Excel spreadsheets. I have several years of experience working with them, and I’m familiar with most of the features. I’m also comfortable creating formulas and macros to help me complete tasks more efficiently. In my last role, I created a spreadsheet that tracked our company’s revenue and expenses. This allowed me to easily see if there were any discrepancies in our finances.”