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PKF Francis Clark Interview
Questions

28 Questions and Answers by
| Ryan has over 10 years of experience interviewing
candidates in the healthcare, public service, and private manufacturing/distribution industries.

Question 1 of 28

How do you feel that your education and career to this point has prepared you to work in the international tax realm here at PKF Francis Clark?

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PKF Francis Clark Interview Questions

    1.

  1. How do you feel that your education and career to this point has prepared you to work in the international tax realm here at PKF Francis Clark?
    • With the rise of corporations taking their businesses to a global level, firms like PKF Francis Clark are often brought in to be the experts on international tax. Prior to your interview, your interviewer can tell a lot about your education and career and whether you have direct experience in working with international tax laws. Not having experience doesn't exclude you from candidacy for this experience, but if that is the case, your interviewer will be hearing how you'll apply what you've already experienced in your career to international practice. Put some thought to this question ahead of your interviewer to be able to paint the picture of yourself being well-versed in how to get educated in the field if you don't have direct experience.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As you can see from my resume, I've spent the last 10 years working in private business for a large manufacturer that sees profits from a few countries from around the world. While this has somewhat exposed me to international tax laws, I know that I would be working much more in depth in this realm here at PKF Francis Clark. If hired for this position, I know that I would face a learning curve with each new client I worked with that had to file and deal with tax laws from other countries. Because of that, I would take it upon myself to read and network with other professionals to become as knowledgeable as possible in the laws in different countries."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "My experience in advising on high level tax law changes to corporate boards and c-level suites in the United States would be a great benefit to your international clients here at PKF Francis Clark. As I have always had to stay on top of and educate myself in the laws here at home, I would continue to do the same at a much higher international level if hired for this position."

    2.

  1. What approach do you take in giving financial and wealth advice to your clients? Why does this approach suit your clients the best?
    • For this question, your interviewer is looking to get down to the nuts and bolts relating to the exact method you approach clients with financial advice. Prior to your interviewer, be sure to put thought to your approach and be able to explain why this is both beneficial to your methods and to your clients. Whether you use verbal methods, printed document, email communication or any mixture of the three, be sure you can speak to your method confidently.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I am a firm believer in having a typed up plan that is very detailed for my clients. When coming up with a financial plan, I take the time to present my clients with a written plan and have them review it prior to meeting in person. This gives them time to review information and prepare questions for me ahead of time. My clients have always appreciated this approach and I've included a couple of examples in my portfolio for you."

    3.

  1. Talk about a time that you successfully educated another individual or group in your area of expertise. What made your educational experience effective?
    • The role that you are interviewing for with PKF Francis Clark will likely involve providing education to clients in your area of expertise. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are comfortable and effective in providing education by having you talk about a time that you have done so. In the example that you provide, try to point out some key items to making business education successful like developing a plan/goals, respecting differing viewpoints/opinions, making it hands on and making it fun.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Probably the aspect that I love the most about my current job is being the lead for training new hires into our department. Because of my years of experience and my innate ability to effectively orientate new employees, my director asked me to take this duty about four years ago. My approach with any new hire is to customize their training based on their knowledge and experience so the training is effective for them. What works for one person may not work for another and I always need to be fluid with this. I also prioritize the need to make orientation and training a hands on experience for the new hire because classroom learning can only take a person so far in the learning process."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "As you can see from my resume, I've spent the last seven years working in the corporate tax field. While in this job, I worked very independently for a private organization, so I've been out of the training and education side for a while now. During my first job out of college as a CPA though, I was very adept at providing education to the clients that I worked with on a daily basis. What I learned in that experience was the importance of putting material out there in a manner that the person being trained understood. As well, talking to clients and understanding my client's wants and needs were very important for me to be able to best educate them. I really believe that these skills would enable me to hit the ground running with PKF Francis Clark and your clients would benefit greatly."

    4.

  1. How do you define working capital and why is it important for our clients here at PKF Francis Clark to take this into consideration when evaluating their finances?
    • While it will be important for you to explain your knowledge of working capital, your interviewer will really be looking to hear your thoughts on why it is important for clients to consider as part of financial decision making processes. Give an overview of your personal thoughts on the importance of considering working capital while hitting on its ability to maximize an organizations efficiency and profitability.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "While working capital is pretty simple in that is simply defined as an organization's current assets minus their current liabilities, many companies fail to see the importance in these simple numbers. My goal with clients here at PKF Francis Clark would be to work them toward a positive working capital ratio as that allows them to have the finances on hand to grow and prosper in to the future."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Working capital essentially tells me as a financial analyst about the organizations ability to meet financial obligations in the coming years and their ability to grow prosperously into the future. With accurate financial statements, subtracting liabilities from assets shows the overall health of the finances of an organizations and their ultimate direction for the future. I have a lot of great experience helping turn around organizations that have a negative working capital into a position position in a short amount of time. The clients here at PKF Francis Clark could benefit greatly from that work into the future."

    5.

  1. If a client you were working with here at PKF Francis Clark purchased a large asset, how would you explain to them the impact of that purchase on their financial statements?
    • When an organization purchases a large scale asset, like new equipment or property, it has an impact on their financial statement. As part of your role working with clients of PKF Francis Clark, your job will be to explain the impact of that purchase on cash flow, income statement and the overall balance sheet. For this question, walk your interviewer through how you would educated clients on large asset purchases to show you have a solid understanding of their impact on the finances of the company.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I have a great example of this just happening recently with my current organization that purchased a $1,250,000 piece of manufacturing equipment. With our leaders, I explained that since the equipment was purchased in cash without financing, it would directly impact our cash flow statement immediately. On the balance sheet, it ended up being a wash with the cash side going down by $1.25 million and the asset side going up by that same amount with new equipment. The biggest thing that I had to reiterate to leaders was the impact of depreciation on the overall income statement in the coming years."

    6.

  1. Working with our clients here at PKF Francis Clark often involves some initial conflict with our clients. How would you rate your ability to handle conflict or disagreements in the workplace?
    • When a consultant comes into an organization to help better an aspect of their business, there are many factors that can lead to initial conflicts with the consultant and their firm. Big egos not wanting a fresh new face and the fear of change are inevitable in this business and your interviewer wants to hear that you have the experience and ability to handle inevitable conflict that will come your way if hired for the position. While obviously rating yourself highly in this area, try to talk about a time where you handled difficult conflict on the job with ease.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my role as a Project Manager with a large private organization, one of my first steps on any new project is setting a budget. Last year, I was leading the effort on a project focused on waste reduction in our manufacturing facilities. In the initial meetings for new projects, our CFO is always involved so she has a high-level overview of what the project will entail. In the meeting, she immediately berated me for the initial budget that I was proposing and vehemently insisted that the amount just wasn't correct or feasible. Rather than taking offense to her thoughts, I wanted to make sure that she, and the rest of the group, had a solid understanding of all that was taken into consideration for setting the budget. After I explained and showed line by line what the proposed budget broke down to, she was very thankful and didn't realize that team member labor was part of that equation. I think that my ability to understand why she was conflicted and my ability to keep a calm, cool head in that situation was vital and a perfect reason for me rating myself high on my conflict resolution skills."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "From my call center days, I think I developed great conflict resolution skills where I would rate myself an 8 out of 10. Handling customers who were upset about a product or service they received required a calm tone, an educational approach and the ability to not take things too personally. If hired for this position, I would be able to bring this same approach to the client of PKF Francis Clark."

    7.

  1. As we work with clients on assessing potentials mergers and/or acquisition, valuation is an important skills to possess. How would you go about placing a value on an organization for a client?
    • As you look to join the ranks at PKF Francis Clark, this question is giving your interviewer the chance to look into your technical skills that you could bring to their clients. For your answer, talk about your ability to take measure of cash flows, revenues, price/earnings ratios and other factors to value a company. Another aspect to keep in mind when answering question is the methods that are most common for a valuing a particular industry. Prior to your interview, try to do as much research as possible on PKF Francis Clark and the typical clients that they serve.

      Ryan's Answer

      "First and foremost, my valuation method would be strictly dependent on the business and industry that I was consulting in. A majority of my experience in mergers and acquisitions has come in the manufacturing industry. In manufacturing, I have used the discounted cash flow model to properly value small operations and an important factor in this method was future forecasting. In each situation that I used this method, my clients saw significant growth and value in their purchases based on the work that I had done."

    8.

  1. At PKF Francis Clark, you will have the opportunity to work with high level executives and leaders from the companies we contract with. What experience do you have in working with people at these levels?
    • As a business advisory and consulting firm, PKF Francis Clark works with Managers, Directors, CEO's, CFO's, CAO's and leaders with other titles on all of our projects. Your role will likely involve working closely with these leaders. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are comfortable in working with the leadership team of the organization's clients by having you talk about your experience. Make sure that the examples you provide include some details on how you worked effectively to get the job done with the leaders you worked with.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "In my current role, I work directly under our Chief Financial Officer and sit on a couple of different committees that our Chief Executive Officer is on. Under the direction of my CFO, we have a great working relationship. I am comfortable approaching him at any moment with questions or to bring forward new ideas. He is aware of my strengths and respects my opinions on matters in my wheelhouse, so he never hesitates to come to me with important things. I think the keys to our strong relationship are the respect we show for each other and our open lines of communication."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Throughout my career, I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with employees at all levels of the organizations that I've worked with. To me, working effectively with anyone requires a personal touch and a respectful approach. Whether I work with front line sales staff or members of the C-Suite, I take the time to get to know the person, their job and how I can best be of help to them in my role. This approach really helped me build a relationship with a Sales Executive that a few of my colleagues had struck out with in recent interactions."

    9.

  1. How did you maintain a good relationship with your most recent boss?
    • The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of maintaining a harmonious relationship with those who are considered your leaders.

      If your relationship with your boss wasn't fantastic, what efforts did you take to make it better? Here are some suggestions:

      - Try to understand what your boss values the most
      - Keep your cool, even when you want to lose it
      - Anticipate their needs and stay one step ahead
      - Take leadership opportunities to show your worth
      - Adapt to their preferences

      Some basic ground rules for a stable working relationship with your boss are open communication, proactive listening, and not taking things personally. Discuss the ways that you cultivated a healthy relationship with your boss.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "My current boss is a very particular individual. Over the years I have taken the time to understand her preferences, her stress triggers, and what she enjoys seeing in my work. I find that if I stay one step ahead and maintain a positive attitude, we can work productively together."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I value having a strong working relationship with my boss. I want to learn what they do and take on as much work to help our team as possible. I scheduled regular update meetings with my boss and went the extra mile wherever I could."

    10.

  1. Being successful in the consulting industry requires adaptability and the ability to learn a business fast. What would be your approach to help you learn the ins and outs of a new client?
    • PKF Francis Clark contracts with businesses in different industries for their services and it is likely that your job would require you to learn the fine details of each business that you would work with. Demonstrate your ability to be flexible by giving examples of times you've had to do this during your career. As well, describe the approach that you would take to get the know the businesses you would be working with so you can apply your knowledge and expertise toward helping them.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As you can see from my resume, I've been in corporate training and education for over ten years. In my current role, I have to use similar techniques working with different departments to try and tailor programs that meet their specific needs. I feel that my current approach of hosting an intake meeting with leaders would be effective in a consulting role with external customers. The current intake meetings that I lead are an opportunity for me to ask questions and learn as much as I can about my customers. In turn, it is an opportunity for me to lay the groundwork for the project and set expectations. Do you see this as an effective approach for this role?"

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Having worked in quality roles for most of my career in both the private and public sectors, I think my career experiences have shaped me well for this role. Transitioning to a consultative role would definitely be a transition for me and the biggest transition will be this need to work in many different industries. For me, researching clients, their business and their industry will be the first step to my approach in learning about them. I want to make a great first impression when I am face to face with a new client and that first impression starts with my knowledge. Then, my openness and ability to communicate would take over when I am working directly with clients. I know the right questions to ask for laying out quality initiative projects and I know the right things to educate clients on."

    11.

  1. In what ways would our clients here at PKF Francis Clark benefit from your knowledge and services?
    • This question is your chance to talk about the unique skills and knowledge that you would bring to PKF Francis Clark and that is exactly what your interviewer is looking to hear. In your answer, keep your focus centered on how clients of the organization will benefit from the things that you bring to their table because PKF Francis Clark is client focused in all that they do. To be effective with this answer, be sure to do your research on the clients at PKF Francis Clark and think about how your experience will be beneficial for them.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As you can see from my resume, I have extensive experience in risk management in the healthcare industry. Having worked with some major players in the industry, your healthcare clients would benefit the most from the experience and solutions I could help provide them. Not to leave other industries out, I think my experience in the healthcare realm will also translate nicely to your clients in other areas of the private sector."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Having worked in accounting and tax law in a few different industries during my career to this point, I also have the unique experience of creating new organizational policies and procedures in my current role. In hearing more about this role, I think this experience would be very beneficial for your clients as I would be helping advise them in their practices and creating new policy would be crucial in that process."

    12.

  1. What key skills can your bring to the clients of PKF Francis Clark in administering their trusts and estates?
    • As your career in finance and trusts/estates has prepared you to have the hard skills necessary in the legal and financial sides of business, your soft skills like negotiation and communication are equally important to the work that you do and what you can bring to the team at PKF Francis Clark. Prior to your interview, try distinguish yourself by talking about your unique skills that you possess that will greatly benefit the clients you work with on the administration of trusts and estates.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I would say the biggest set of skills that I would bring to the team here at PKF Francis Clark is my experience working for a large legal firm on the administration of trusts for clients. On the financial side, I was tasked with handling total values of estates. This, paired with my knowledge of the legal aspect of trusts and estates, would greatly benefit your clients if I was hired for this position."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "If hired for this position, you'll find out quickly that my two greatest skills are my communication style and my ability to problem solve independently. Having worked in the administration of trusts for many high profile clients in my past work history, communicating with clients during the creation of a trust and with beneficiaries down the road. I have the ability to cater my communication to difficult situations and take an empathetic approach at all times. For my problem solving, my work experience to this point has put me in a wide variety of situations where I am comfortable troubleshooting issues with clients without the need for my boss to intervene."

    13.

  1. A key component to success here at PKF Francis Clark is building solid relationships with new clients. How do you effectively get to know new people and lay the groundwork for a long lasting relationship?
    • The fast paced world of business consulting requires the ability to build relationship after relationship with all of the clients that you will potentially be working with. For this question, your interviewer will be looking to gain insight into how you build relationships with new people from the first time you interact with them. In your answer, talk about how you gain and build trust with new people and explain how the little things in your initial interactions go a long way toward building long lasting working relationships.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I am a firm believer that success in any role I've played in my career was due in part to the relationships that I've built in those roles. Whenever I have the chance to work with a new colleague or a new customer, my approach is to create an initial connection with them to build trust. After that point, my interpersonal skills take over through active listening. I use my listening skills to learn about the motivating factors and needs of the person that I will be working with and this helps mold that respect and trust between us even more. I think this approach would be very critical in working with new clients on a regular basis here at PKF Francis Clark and I'd love the opportunity to bring these skills to the table for you."

    14.

  1. What would be the initial steps that you would take when evaluating the financial situation for a client of PKF Francis Clark?
    • If hired for this position with PKF Francis Clark, you will be expected to be a trusted financial advisor for very high profile clients. Based on your experience, talk about how you begin the process of discovering the needs of your clients. No matter how you answer the question, be sure to highlight your ability to listen to others, ask follow up questions and put those thoughts into action. The position you are interviewing for relies on a heavy dose of trust with your clients, so any of your techniques used to build rapport and trust with your clients is equally important as well.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "As an experienced wealth planner and financial advisor, my first goal with new clients is to build trust right from our first meeting together. I take a little bit of time to talk about my knowledge, experience and my ultimate goals for any client. From there, I open the door for clients to talk about their situation and their future goals. I listen to them attentively and reflectively listen to their thoughts to truly understand their needs. Once I have this solid base of where they want to be, I can craft a solid plan for them. As you can see, I submitted several professional references from clients that I have served in the past and they would all be willing to talk about my ability to provide a trusting service to them."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "If hired for this position and given the opportunity to work with clients on their financial planning needs, my first step with new clients would be to have a Q&A session where I can learn about their history, their finances and their plans for the future. The Q&A session would allow the client to ask questions of me as well. At the end of the initial session together, a foundation of trust is built and I let my excellent customer service and knowledge lead the rest of the way with the client."

    15.

  1. If hired here at PKF Francis Clark to work with our clients on wealth management strategies, what would you consider to be your preferred wealth management strategies?
    • While this is certainly a very open ended question that you can run with, your interviewer will be looking to hear that you are passionate about creating strategies for your clients in your answer. No matter how you answer the question, speak with knowledge and passion and always tie your answer back to doing what is best for your clients based on their situation.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Having guided many previous clients on very successful wealth management strategies, those successes have always relied upon setting goals and creating budgets that guide people towards those goals. I take the time to know and understand my clients, their short and long-term goals and guide them through setting realistic goals and plans for achieving those goals. Along our journey together, I consistently evaluate progress towards goals and reevaluate budgets if ever needed down the road."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I would consider my forte in the field to be wealth preservation for late career individuals nearing retirement. I have a lot of experience in creating wills and estate plans, career exit planning and cash flow planning post-retirement for my clients. While I consider this my forte, I also love to work with individuals early and mid-career as well."

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