Prepare for your Finance/Accounting interview. Understand the required skills and qualifications, anticipate the questions you may be asked, and study well-prepared answers using our sample responses.
This question can help the interviewer get to know you better and understand why you are interested in this career. Use your answer to highlight any specific skills or experiences that led you to want to work in finance or accounting.
Answer Example: “I’ve always been good at math, which is one of the reasons I wanted to work in accounting. Another reason is because I enjoy helping people manage their money and ensure they are spending wisely. In high school, I volunteered at a local nonprofit where I helped people fill out their tax forms. This experience showed me how important accounting is for people’s financial well-being.”
This question is a great way for the interviewer to assess your understanding of what it takes to be successful in this role. Your answer should include two or three qualities, explaining why they are important and how you possess them.
Answer Example: “I think the most important quality for someone working in finance or accounting is being organized. I’m an organized person who likes to have all my paperwork and documents organized and filed away neatly. I also think communication is important because it’s important to be able to communicate with other members of the team about any issues or concerns they may have. Finally, I think patience is vital because sometimes tasks take longer than expected.”
This question can help the interviewer get a better sense of how you handle challenges in the workplace. Use examples from previous roles that highlight your problem-solving skills, critical thinking and leadership abilities.
Answer Example: “I recently had to make a difficult decision at work when one of our clients was late on their payment. We had already issued them an invoice, but they hadn’t paid it yet. In order to protect our company’s finances, I decided to hold off on issuing another invoice until we received payment for the first one. This allowed us to continue providing services without losing any money.”
This question can help the interviewer understand how you plan and manage your time. Your answer should show that you have a system for staying on track with deadlines, meeting with colleagues and managing your email inbox.
Answer Example: “I use a calendar app on my phone to schedule meetings with clients and colleagues, and I email them the dates and times so they have access to them whenever they need them. I also use the app to remind myself of important dates like deadlines or when I need to submit reports. Another tool I find helpful is an email filter that separates emails into different folders based on their content. This allows me to quickly find any email related to a specific project or task. Finally, I try to stay organized by prioritizing tasks based on importance and urgency.”
This question can help the interviewer determine your experience level with using accounting software. Use your answer to highlight any specific skills you have in using accounting software, such as how well you can navigate through the program or how quickly you learn new programs.
Answer Example: “I have experience using several different types of accounting software, including QuickBooks, Microsoft Excel and Sage 50. In my current role, I primarily use QuickBooks because it’s easy to navigate and provides me with all the information I need to complete my tasks. I also use Microsoft Excel to create spreadsheets for budgeting purposes and Sage 50 for payroll.”
This question can help the interviewer determine how you use your problem-solving skills and creativity to improve processes within a company. Use examples from previous roles that highlight your ability to identify issues, analyze data and develop solutions that help improve efficiency or reduce costs.
Answer Example: “At my last job, I noticed that our company was spending too much money on printing materials. We were printing documents that were not necessary, such as copies of emails that could be sent electronically instead. I researched different printing solutions, such as cloud-based printing or digital document management systems, and presented my findings to my manager. We decided to implement a digital document management system that allowed us to store documents online and send links to employees who needed access to them. This solution saved us thousands of dollars each year.”
This question can help the interviewer determine your experience level with accounting and finance. If you have previous experience preparing tax returns, share what type of returns you prepared and for whom. If you don’t have experience preparing tax returns, explain that you are eager to learn how to do so.
Answer Example: “I’ve been preparing taxes for individuals and small businesses for the past five years. During that time, I’ve become familiar with all the different tax forms and regulations. I also have a strong knowledge of tax deductions and credits so that my clients can maximize their returns. In addition to preparing returns, I also offer advice on how to avoid penalties and ensure they are getting the most out of their returns.”
Working in a team is a common practice in the accounting field. Employers ask this question to make sure you can work well with others and understand how to collaborate on projects. In your answer, explain what your experience has been working in teams. Explain how you feel about working in teams and what your favorite part is about working with other people.
Answer Example: “I have experience working in both small and large teams. In my current position, I work on a team of five other accountants who each specialize in different areas of finance. We meet once a week to discuss any challenges we’re facing and come up with solutions together. I enjoy collaborating with my coworkers because it allows me to learn new things and develop my skills.”
This question can help the interviewer understand how you make decisions and whether you consider other people’s opinions. Use examples from previous roles where you had to make a difficult decision and explain why it was difficult for you.
Answer Example: “In my last role as an accountant, I had to decide whether to hire another employee or not. We were getting so many new clients that we were behind on our work, so I decided to hire someone else. However, this meant that we would have to cut costs somewhere else in the company. We decided to reduce our 401(k) match for employees until we could afford to give them the full amount again.”
This question is a great way for employers to learn more about your experience with accounting and finance. It’s important to show that you have a strong background in these areas, especially if you’re applying for a job that requires you to work with numbers and financial information on a daily basis.
Answer Example: “I’ve been working with numbers and financial information for many years now, so I’m very comfortable with it. In fact, I find it very easy to understand and calculate different calculations and formulas. I also have experience with various software programs that help me with accounting tasks.”
This question can help the interviewer understand your experience with working with financial reports and how you use them in your work. Use examples from previous roles where you had to analyze financial reports or use them to make decisions about company finances.
Answer Example: “In my last role, I was responsible for creating weekly financial reports that included all of our revenue streams, expenses and profit margins. These reports were essential in helping me understand where we were spending money and how we could cut costs without hurting our revenue. I also used these reports to show management where we could improve our processes to increase profits.”
This question is a great way to show your interviewer that you understand what it takes to be successful in this role. Your answer should include an example of how you have exhibited these qualities in the past and how they have helped you achieve success.
Answer Example: “I think communication is the most important aspect of working in finance or accounting. I have found that if you can’t communicate effectively with your team members, then you won’t be able to complete projects efficiently. In my last role, I was tasked with creating reports for our clients every week. If I didn’t communicate with my team members about their errors in the data, then the report wouldn’t have been ready on time.”
This question can help the interviewer understand how you make decisions and whether you consider all factors before making a choice. Use examples from previous jobs where you had to make a difficult decision and explain what factors influenced your decision-making process.
Answer Example: “In my last role as an accounting manager, I had to decide whether to hire another accountant or not. We were experiencing an increase in clientele, which meant we needed more help with accounting services. However, we were also facing budget constraints that made hiring another employee difficult. After discussing the situation with my manager, we decided to hire an intern who could work part-time while still in school. This helped us avoid hiring another full-time employee while still providing adequate support for our clients.”
This question can help the interviewer determine your problem-solving skills and how you apply them to the job. Use examples from previous roles that highlight your ability to analyze data, use math skills and collaborate with others to find solutions.
Answer Example: “I recently had to solve a complex problem while working as an accountant for a small business. The company was having trouble with their inventory system, which made it difficult to track sales and shipments. I worked with the owner to create a new system that would be easier to use and more accurate than the old one. We decided to use software that would allow us to track sales by customer, product and location. This allowed us to better understand what products were selling best and where we should ship our inventory.”
Working in teams is a common practice in accounting and finance. Employers ask this question to make sure you’re comfortable collaborating with your colleagues. In your answer, explain how you feel about working in teams and what your experience has been like. You can also mention any specific skills you have that help you work well with others.
Answer Example: “I have experience working in both small and large teams. In my current role, I work on a team of five people who are responsible for managing the company’s finances. We meet weekly to discuss any challenges we’re facing and how we can overcome them. I find that these meetings help us stay organized and ensure we’re all working toward the same goal.”
This question is a great way to show the interviewer that you understand what it takes to be successful in this role. Your answer should include an example from your experience that shows your ability to perform this important task.
Answer Example: “I think communication is the most important aspect of working in finance or accounting. When I was an accountant at my previous job, I noticed that many of our clients had questions about their statements. We had a team meeting where we discussed how we could better communicate with our clients so they understood their bills better. After implementing weekly email updates with information about upcoming due dates and changes in billing, we saw an increase in client satisfaction.”
This question can help the interviewer determine how you prioritize your work and stay on track. Use examples from previous experiences where you organized multiple tasks or projects, organized your work environment and used time management strategies to complete your work on time.
Answer Example: “I stay organized by creating a to-do list each morning before I start my workday. I also use calendar apps to keep track of important dates and deadlines. In my last role, I had to manage multiple accounts and projects at once, so I created separate folders in my email account for each task. This helped me stay organized and quickly access information when needed.”
This question can help the interviewer determine your experience with using financial models in your work. If you have previous experience using financial models, share what type of model it was and how you used it. If you do not have any experience using financial models, explain what type of model you would like to learn more about and why.
Answer Example: “I have experience using both cash flow and income statement financial models. In my last role, I used a cash flow model to determine whether or not we could afford new equipment. The model helped me understand how much cash we had available and when we could expect to receive more revenue. The income statement model helped me track our company’s revenue and expenses over time. This helped me see where we were making money and where we could improve.”
This question is a great way for the interviewer to learn more about your work ethic and how you feel about your accomplishments. When answering this question, it can be helpful to choose an example that relates to the job you’re applying for or one that shows off your skills.
Answer Example: “I’m proud of the financial report I created for my previous employer. It was a complex report that required me to gather data from multiple sources and analyze it in order to create accurate projections for future revenue. The report helped the company make important decisions about how to best allocate resources and increase profits.”
This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of your priorities and how you might fit in at their company. Your answer should show that you value the same things as they do, such as accuracy, hard work and efficiency.
Answer Example: “I think accuracy is the most important aspect of working in finance or accounting. It’s important to me that all of my numbers are accurate and that I don’t make any mistakes when recording data or calculating figures. I always make sure to double-check my work before submitting it to my manager or client. Hard work is also a priority for me—I believe that if you work hard enough, you can achieve anything. Finally, efficiency is key. I want to make sure that I’m doing everything as efficiently as possible so that I can get through my tasks quickly.”