Top 25 Project Accountant Interview Questions
1. How do you stay organized as an accountant?
Project Accountant
December 16th, 2014

Project accounting (sometimes referred to as job cost accounting) is the practice of creating financial reports specifically designed to track the financial progress of projects, which can then be used by managers to aid project management.
wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_accounting
Project Accountant Interview Questions
2 of 32
Describe the systems you have in place for keeping track of assignments given to staff members.
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I like to have a paper or digital trail of what I have communicated to staff members. In the restaurant business staff members don't have computers so I would verbally followup with them on assignments and use a dry erase board to assign tasks. In my current role as an auditor I work with many taxpayers who need to submit tax documents, correspondence from employers and other stuff as needed. I always annotate their accounts with what has been requested and what has been received. I also create a folder for each taxpayer and keep track of the entire process within the folder including copies of emails, summaries of conversations, request and copies of documents received. I would use a similar approach as a project manager to keep track of assignments given to staff members.
 
2.
That is done by pms not me.
 
3.
Following up with them - encourage them to finalize the issue concise and help them to find out the solutions and im believing to work as group.
 
4.
I maintain spreadsheet and calendar most times.
 
5.
I have my inbox, schedule calendar. Deadlines and follow-ups. I use the email notification. Flag and put tasks in categories.
 
Question
3 of 32
How have you monitored the performance of your team?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I always set achievable and relevant targets with review dates on the performance to view the actual and set resaults.
 
2.
Firstly am going to put plan and implemented this plan step by step.
 
3.
I have the schedule of everyone on my spreadsheet. I maintain regular meeting and communicate effectively with my team. I try to meet them personally especially the introverts amongst them.
 
4.
I have weekly meeting with my assistant, to see where we are. I have a monthly meeting with the team leaders giving feedback and raising issues.
 
5.
Use of performance appraisals. I have noticed that one should always have a clear understanding of TORs, work plan and the structure as a whole.
 
Question
4 of 32
What steps do you take to keep a project within budget?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I will investigate the sources of the project of being over budget: due to internal estimating e, or job site issues (
 
2.
Continually forecast the budget. A project run without frequent budget management and reforecasting will likely be headed for failure. Why? Because frequent budget oversight prevents the budget from getting too far out of hand. A 10 percent budget overrun is far easier to correct than a 50 percent overrun. Your chances of keeping the project on track with frequent review of the budget plan is far greater than if you forecast it once and forget about it.
 
3.
I tried to do a cost analysis and give first priority on major items while reducing or cost cutting on other expenses to enable adapt to the actual budget.
 
4.
Actually I will try to follow the following procedure: - control & monitoring my expenses - trying to maximize the benefit of the goods. - coordinate with the project manager to make our workers happy to raise them producer to finish the job before the planning time - I will try to find alternative materials with low price complying to the project specs.
 
5.
Analyze cost, understand reason for increase, find lean processes to reduce costs.
 
Question
5 of 32
Tell me about your post-secondary education. What was your favorite accounting course? What was the most challenging course for you?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I am a holder of a degree business administration, hold an accounting professional qualification and currently dong master in business admiistration.
 
2.
I graduated from Alexandria university - grade good- 2005 & I got scholar ship from ministry of defense in american language course for 6 months also I got ICDL from New Horizon institute Alexandria.
 
3.
I was educate my primer school and seconder school in kenena privet school, I was graduate from Sudan university collage of business study my specialization is accounting.
 
4.
I studied accounting. I am a member of many professional bodies. I am completing my Msc program in financial manament by December 2016.
 
5.
I graduated from University of Greenwich being a bachelor degree of accounting and finance holder with second class upper. I also graduated from Uitm being a diploma holder majoring in accounting.
 
Question
6 of 32
Why are you the best project accountant for us?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I believe I have the relevant experience to hold the position, I am also aggressive, keen to details, ready to learn and a team player.
 
2.
I already apply my resume and you found my qualification as well as my practical experience qualify me to be a part from your organization.
 
3.
Because I have the Qualifications and the experience and I am a go getter.
 
4.
Highly innovative, able to think outside the box, techno savvy, lean processing.
 
5.
I believe I am the best candidate because I bring 2 and a half years of experience in not only just billing, but also project reconciliation and cost analysis. I have done some of the responsibilities outlined in the job posting. I have not done some of the responsiblities outlined, it would not take me long to learn and comprehend the task.
 
Question
7 of 32
What are your short term career goals as a project accountant?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Maintain interesting and challenging roles continue to learn and widen and improve experience become more valuable.
 
2.
Achieve my own career to join your esteemed organization & to be part from successful of the organizaation.
 
3.
To be come finance director before age of 40
 
4.
To be a successful accountant that adds value to the organization.
 
5.
I would like to be at a level where I can influence external investments in a manner that will have a vast positive impact on GDP and standard of living in both short term and long term.
 
Question
8 of 32
Have you had any disputes with other employees in different departments about costs?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Absolutely. I recall having disputes about labor costs with the chef because he wouldn't send highly paid cooks home during times of slow volume. The reasons often varied but typically were because either he promised the cooks that they would get their hours or he had to prepare for the anticipated busy evening shift. The chef was very protective of his staff and frequently argued with me about it. Having been a chef I understood his attitude but frequently had to explain what our goals in management were. I also offered my assistance in food prep if that was the reason he kept cooks on the clock. In response to his promises to his staff that he would guarantee their hours, I had to remind him that he didn't have the authority to do that since he wasn't the one paying their wages. I consequently offered to give his cooks who have been shorted hours the opportunity to work as door and bar security on the weekends to make up for it, which a few of them did and enjoyed it.
 
2.
No sir there isnt any disputes.. You can say arguments with other staff but not even close to any dispute.
 
3.
Internal disagreements are rare but have occurred between the other divisions. Margins can be difficult to assess from another division so it's hrs to see vfm. We had one case where 1/2 the cost was coming directly and 1/2 through another division and the discrepancy is prices is so huge that it always causes questions as we could be so much more profitable - However ultimately this doesn't affect hp's bottom line and de I have to ensure that this isn't the main focus on looking for cost savings.
 
4.
Yes, but I have always found ways to resolve the issues.
 
5.
Yes and I always try to resolve the issue and make things easy to understand for other employees.
 
Question
9 of 32
What can you do for us that other accountants may not?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I will not only be an asset to your company in accounting field but also in other decision making processes. This is because my last job involved designing projects thus I have gained insights in the area.
 
2.
Given my diverse career background I think I can offer some things that other accountants can not. For example I believe my extensive experience in customer service has given me great strength in managing and communicating with people. I'm not afraid of confrontation and I thrive in communication. I will stay in contact with my team at all times so they feel they have the resources necessary to succeed. Secondly, I bring good experience as an accomplished writer. I know how to develop informative and easy-to-follow hard copy as I've developed training and procedure manuals as well as company newsletters and interesting blogs. I know how to engage a reader, even with drier types of material. So I believe creating accounting white papers will not be a problem for me. Finally I bring a fresh perspective in terms of accounting. I haven't been cloned by another accounting department so I can be trained to do things the best way PNM deems fit without friction from previous methodologies learned.
 
3.
I'm sure many other accountants have my skills but I can bring my general skills - I'm a fast Learner and am self teaching, I'm easy to get along with and build up a rapport with business partners, I am dedicated and loyal. I work hard and will take on challenging tasks with enthusiasm.
 
4.
I can bring to your company the expertise I had working with an international NGO managing projects with EU and USAID.
 
5.
I am committed to hard work and passion for excellence. I am a professional and add value to organization. I have managerial skills and committed to client service.
 
Question
10 of 32
How long do you plan on working in our department?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Provided it provide opportunities to grow in my career I would stay in my department until I will retire.
 
2.
I hope to work in the accounting department for many years. I believe that I have a lot to bring to the table but more importantly I understand that I have much to learn in this field. In five years I hope to still be a project manager, albeit a more senior one, who can share and help develop junior staff members. This is a wonderful company to work for. I am aware of all the good it does in the community and I'd be proud to be a part of that.
 
3.
As long as I can I can contribute in the achievement of the dpartment's.
 
4.
As long as my contract allows me. But I will be pleased if it can be renewed.
 
5.
Well, I have had much interest in working in a hospitality industry and since this is a great opportunity, I would like to stay until my contract expires and would like to extend should I get an extension.
 
Question
11 of 32
What areas of accounting do you consider your strongest?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Auditing and preparation of books of final accounts.
 
2.
I'm good a resolving system errors Or at least identifying the cause. I enjoy the analysis areas where you see a different way of looking at the data which illimunates an issue - eg analysing risk and cont budgets compared to labour costs - Often majorly out of sync which creates forecasting errors.
 
3.
I am more proficient in taxation then I am at financial accounting, however, at my current capacity as a tax auditor I regularly have to review the financial information of companies to help make my determinations. I am familiar with financial statements and have been trained to prepare consolidated financial reports. I am a quick learner and am confident I can perform the tasks necessary for this job with some direction at first.
 
4.
Cash management and financial reporting.
 
5.
Reconciliation, costing, budget and financial analysis.
 
Question
12 of 32
How do you handle difficult clients?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Difficult clients are a daily part of my job. Again I find that my communication skills come in handy when presented with these types of situations. The first thing I do is let the client speak. Before they called me or came into my office they stewed on the subject matter and have created this internal tension that needs to be released. I get that. So I let them have the floor and try to get an understanding of what the issues are. I make notes and then try to communicate to the client what our point of view is on each issue and what the possible resolutions are. I find that if you allow them to speak and show empathy towards their situation they will be more receptive to your responses. It really all goes back to the golden rule, treat others how you want to be treated.
 
2.
Trying to satisfy his request and trying to keep my relation good with him - I dont have culture of loosing client - work is work.
 
3.
Calmly, try to understand there issues properly so they feel heard but also be sure of my own position so I can defend myself. Examples - Neil not wanting me to go.
 
4.
I have come across different clients-stubborn, intimidating, angry clients. I first ensure I am well in control of my emotions then I listen attentively to their complaints showing empathy in all cases. I proffer solutions where I can or humbly request if I can get solutions from a superior officer.
 
5.
Emotional intelligence win win approach.
 
Question
13 of 32
What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I have found that all the Excel training I took during college has washed out of my brain. When I first came on with the state I knew very little on how to work with Excel. I was a writer after all and had to only work with Word. I quickly realized that I had to improve my Excel skills so I purchased an Excel book and have been using that to help me with some functions. I now consider myself moderately skilled with Excel but know I need to improve. During Graduate School I didn't have extra time to take an Excel class but now that I graduated I plan on taking an Excel class for audit to raise my proficiency level.
 
2.
I get too engrossed with my work. I try to lossen up and take a break where I feel I'm overworking myself.
 
3.
I strive to meet deadlines, and often work over to complete a task. I often have to keep repriotising my work and accept that there are times that I would not be able to meet it and just need to let those affected know if I have difficulties.
 
4.
Sometimes I find it hard to let go of projects and can over burden my self with an intense workload. For example all of our projects were split into cost centres I looked after half and so did my counterpart. Although we shared the cost centres evenly by luck of the draw I had substantially more projects but I didn't want to give them up as I felt I have built a relationship with my project managers and I felt asking for help would look like a weakness. I continued to get through all the work but it left me frustrated at times. I did eventually ask for help in redistributing the projects to ease the burden on my self and to offer a better service to my project managers. This was a real turning point and I realised that my only weakness was not letting my counter part help me with my increased workload. This also improved her confidence and enabled us to work more effectively as a team.
 
5.
When bored I can be lazy and procrastinate which is why I'm looking for a new job. But wothin my current job I'm trying to use down time productively so I don't get bored- identifying ways to streamline my job To the extent someone else can do it! Trying to identify value add activities and taking advantage inteaining.
 
Question
14 of 32
How do you determine accurate labor costs for a particular employee that has worked on several projects?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Check the previous amounts he/she earned per hour add any increment as per contract he/she signed with the company then multiply with the number of hours he/she worked.
 
2.
Labour is booked specifically to projects so this hasn't really been an issue I'm faced with. It's more the opposite problem that a project manager will assume they are getting 100% of someone's time and so does another but they don't necessarily compare their data. The is really difficult to spot but can usually be unearthed eventually by looking at the bookings and also by ensuring reviewers such as finance see projects in groups where the same people generally work.
 
3.
I would have the employee breakdown how much time was put into each project to allocate the proper labor costs to each one. I think instilling time management skills in staff members is absolutely imperative when in project management. It not only informs the manager of employees progress but also gives the employee a visual tracker of progress made. Giving staff members a time budget also is helpful to both the staff member and the project manager.
 
4.
On how much time she spent on each project.
 
5.
This can be determined through the time cards of each employee or attendance sign in at the project site.
 
Question
15 of 32
What was the most challenging project you worked on?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
When I designed a project targeting vulnerable populations I did not have adequate information about.
 
2.
D was and is - it's a big project with a low margin with a large Third party component - accounting wise it is cost to complete So they'd a lot of translating frombusiness to finance speak. The third party is very small And this project is a very large percentage of their existing business so delays are particularly painful. Lots Of negotiation for early payment. In addition there are delivery problems so the margin is getting lower. On top of that large Bom element £2m which keeps moving and causing fluctuations. Cars all the time which are also low marginal require large governance , Plus frequent change of MPs and prog ms.
 
3.
I think the most challenging project I worked on was the organization and execution of a charity event we did at the last restaurant I worked at. The idea was born when a friend of mine, who worked for a beer distributor, and I got to talking and decided we wanted to raise money for Carrie Tingley Children's Hospital. We decided to create a Casino Night shortly before Christmas. Once ownership approved of the use of the restaurant facilities we had our work cut out for us. We had to get as much stuff donated to the event as possible. But some things we had to pay for such as labor and the gaming operations. We had to rent the gaming tables and hire the dealers too. Getting businesses and people to donate wasn't a problem at all. We had so many door prizes, raffle prizes and other wild stuff people could purchase with their winnings. We even gave away an all expenses paid trip to Las Vegas, which was donated. The tricky part of the event was recovering the labor costs for the staff that worked the event as well as the intangibles like utility costs. I calculated those costs by using an average based on the utility bill. The most challenging part was the coordination of all the moving parts. We had a DJ, we had Erika Viking MC the event, we had the gaming people, the cooks the bartenders and so many other pieces that needed to be managed and monitored. We charged people $50 a head and packed the place. It was a very rewarding project.We had such a good response to the event and raised about $10,000 for the Children's Hospital. I actually considered going into event planning after we nailed that function.
 
4.
Project with EU and USAID
 
5.
Setting revenue recognition.
 
Question
16 of 32
What is an audit query?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
It is the matter being investigated while examining financial report of a company.
 
2.
When you get asked to justify an action by the auditors - eg invoice accrual Prepayment etc.
 
3.
It is an inquiry from an auditor or also known as findings.
 
4.
I assume an audit query is when a particular set of data is pulled to audit.
 
5.
An audit query, is a explanation that is required by the audit team on certain points that they may have identified during an audit.
 
Question
17 of 32
How would you come to a resolution disputing material costs for a project that you shared materials with?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Agree % used internally and find out what the other project though and negotiate - also not get too bogged down of all costs are incurred by company anyway.
 
2.
The numbers don't usually lie. If it could be determined who used what then I would itemize the material costs and do it that way. If that wasn't an option I would see if we could find a resolution by determining rough percentages of what each project used and allocate it that way.
 
3.
Share using number of output if it is quantifiable. If not base on percentage on turnover.
 
4.
I would take the total cost of the material and charge the percentage of the costs inline with the amount of materials each project used. This would be the fairest resolution as it would be unethical for a project to bear costs attributable top another project.
 
5.
Split the cost.
 
Question
18 of 32
How do you stay on top of regulation changes in the financial industry?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Yes - from and hp policy point of view they meet us gasp and idea - I don't specifically read new frs.
 
2.
I am constantly using my regs book to determine the taxability of income. It is important to understand these regulations and also to understand GAAP so you can communicate with accountants and understand why they report certain things in certain ways. The gross receipts and compensating tax act govern my actions as an auditor but sometimes we have to refer to federal law in making determinations.
 
3.
I use the IFRS guidelines, sometimes use CIMA /Linked in and other colleagues in organisation.
 
4.
I have attended Mercia courses as continuing professional development.
 
Question
19 of 32
How do you prioritize when you have multiple deadlines to meet?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I always Alsace multiple deadlines. Work out quickly what I can do in the available time. Work out which Asha's the biggest impact -'discuss with customer to see if anything can be extensdesmor set expectations, docuss with magr If an an impasse.
 
2.
It seems to me that almost every job I've had has had deadlines. Whether it was getting food to a table one time or executing the delivery of a 200 person banquet, there were always deadlines. As a writer I was always on a deadline to produce original copy. And as an auditor we have strict deadlines to work our cases. I highly value good organization. When I have multiple deadlines I multi task when I can to consolidate similar tasks, I write down my deadlines somewhere I can see them and I work on the soonest due items first. Most importantly, I ask for help if I find that I may not meet a deadline. I have rarely missed a deadline in my life but it does happen and asking for help is something you shouldn't be ashamed of. After all in project management there is a team environment and that is a resource that shouldn't be neglected.
 
3.
I have to deal with one that would have the most significant impact first. I have to also remember cash is king.
 
4.
I always have the intention to meet deadlines regardless of when they fall due, worst case scenario I would seek help from within my team. Part of my preparation will be to rank my tasks in order of importance in the event that I could not meet all the deadlines concerned. That way the more important tasks would get finished and the less important tasks would not cause too much disruption if they were late.
 
Question
20 of 32
Why did you choose to pursue a career in accounting?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I have an answer to long to type.
 
2.
Good question. I didn't like math as a kid, so I stayed away from accounting as well. But as an adult working with all the numbers in the restaurant business I found it to be less math and more business. I found it fascinating to follow the money in and out. There is so much more to accounting then adding and subtracting numbers. There are different reporting methods that can yield significant tax breaks. I also liked how everything has to be in its place. One wrong accounting entry can throw off the whole operation and searching for that mistake could be like finding a needle in a haystack. It may sound crazy but it is like a puzzle to me. I like to be organized and have things in their respective places so accounting just made sense for me.
 
3.
I had a basic understanding book-keeping at O levels. Continue in my tertiary education. I understand the double entry concept. I like economics and politics. I feel that they are important elements in organisation. Understanding them and make it work to achieve objectives.
 
4.
Maths has always been my favourite subject. I was intrigued to find out more about accounting and so I signed up to Abingdon and Witney college and completed level 2 & 3 AAT. I then obtained work experience in the management accounts department and enjoyed it so much I decided to pursue a career in accounting.
 
5.
Because Accountancy field is very interesting and challenging.
 
Question
21 of 32
Bring your resume to life for me.
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I have worked as account consultant for two years where I specialized in conducting project feasibility studies, designing alternative sources of finance and preparing project budgets.
 
2.
Ok lots of different profs - monthly service with VR, stand alone milestones, etc.
 
3.
While I've never held the title of project accountant I have worked on projects as a restaurant manager where each project was based in accounting. For instance the food, labor and liquor costs were all based on financial numbers. I've also worked on inventory control projects to minimize the standing inventory. All of these are projects with principles in accounting. Having an understanding of accounting principles was very useful in my success in that capacity.
 
4.
I have an experience of eight years now as a project accountant working with two different project at Plan tanzania.
 
5.
I have more than 8.5 years expeience in accountancy field working as a project accountant in any site/project is awesome.
 
Question
22 of 32
Have you ever worked on a project that lasted multiple years?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
I can't say that I have. Though the processes of maintaining liquor, food and labor costs were a continuing operation. You might say that each day was a different step in the project that led to the end of the month reports on our process evaluation.
 
2.
Yes I have worked on projects that spanned over multiple years and even multiple finance systems. Its more of a challenge when you are dealing with queries from a period before you were in the role, but it is a very good learning curve and a good way to have a feel for the project.
 
3.
No. only as trustee to view the organisation performance and reporting structure. To comply with FRS102
 
Question
23 of 32
Are you planning to obtain your masters' degree?
 
Question
24 of 32
Have you ever had to deal with a difficult project manager? How did you cope?
 
Question
25 of 32
What is the largest portfolio you have been responsible for in your project accounting career?
 
Question
26 of 32
In addition to your bachelor's degree in accounting, have you achieved your Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation yet?
 
Question
27 of 32
Have you ever had a project go over budget? How did you handle it?
 
Question
28 of 32
What are your long term career goals as a project accountant?
 
Question
29 of 32
Would you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate or advanced user in Quickbooks? Sage? Simply Accounting?
 
Question
30 of 32
How have you implemented the recent tax changes in your company?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Well seeing how I am currently the tax man I have helped implement any and all changes with taxes by helping the taxpayers understand more clearly what the changes are and how they affect them. I often give step by step directions to taxpayers on how to properly report their income so they don't get flagged for an audit. I find that part of my job rewarding because they seem thankful at the end of the conversation.
 
2.
Discussed with management.
 
Question
31 of 32
What is your greatest strength?
 
User Submitted Interview Answers
1.
Fast learner self started, have confidence I can learn anything and becaus I want that to remain true I am very determined.
 
2.
I would say my greatest strengths are excellent communication, being extremely organized, stakeholder engagement and flexibility to achieve deadlines.
 
3.
I would have to say my communication skills. I am easy to talk to, I always make myself available to staff and I am usually involved in most processes. I am an excellent writer who can clearly communicate thoughts and directions. I think communicating to your staff why something is being done will get you better productivity rather than just giving assignments out without the context behind it. I believe this makes the team member feel more invested in the project and likely will take more ownership in his/her duties.
 
4.
I have great interpersonal and communication skills and I am able to communicate financial information to people from a financial or non financial background. I am very proactive, have strong analytical skills and use my initiative to complete tasks independently. I have a great level of attention for detail and often pick up inefficiencies that other people have missed. I am a team player willing to go above and beyond what is expected of me.
 
Question
32 of 32
Tell me about your communication style.
 
Author
Questions to Ask Interviewer