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The Alliant Group Interview
Questions

27 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 27

What steps would you take in creating a new audit process for a client here at The Alliant Group?

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The Alliant Group Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    What steps would you take in creating a new audit process for a client here at The Alliant Group?

      When The Alliant Group is asked consult with an organization on their audit processes, you will be looked upon to be the expert in creating a solid auditing process for them. To get an idea of your knowledge and experience, your interviewer is asking you how you would go about creating a new process from scratch for an organization that you are consulting. While your discussion will certainly be high level without knowing much detail about the specific organization you are hypothetically working with, make sure that you hit the important aspects of creating an audit process.

      Ryan's Answer

      "If asked to consult with a new client on their audit process, my first goal would be to determine the overall purpose of the audit. I would have to ask questions about any regulating bodies for the industry and internal quality perspectives that would guide my work. Only when those questions are answered can I move forward with assembling an audit team, giving the team purpose and setting expectations for the new process. With this great start, my leadership skills in the audit process would take over and greatly benefit your clients here at The Alliant Group."

      Ryan's Answer

      "Any solid auditing process starts with great planning. Planning includes outlining the scope of the audit, clearly defining what data and information is required to successfully perform the audit and selecting a team of individuals to be a part of the audit process. If hired for this position, you can rest assured knowing that I have great experience in planning for and creating auditing processes across many businesses and industries."

  2. 2.

    To ensure you are qualified to work for The Alliant Group, do you have a preparer tax identification number (PTIN)?

      As a professional tax preparer, you are likely aware that a PTIN is required for professionals that submit federal tax returns in the United States. Being that The Alliant Group and the person for this role are compensated for their tax preparation services in the United States, this is a simple screening question that your interviewer is asking to make sure that you are qualified to work with the clients of The Alliant Group. Ensure that your PTIN is up to date and if not, make sure to complete all steps for renewing prior to your interview.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Having been a professional tax preparer for over 12 years, I have held my PTIN since 2007 with no lapses in the number since first obtaining. Every November, I ensure that I am good to go for the coming tax season by renewing."

  3. 3.

    As a consultant here at The Alliant Group, you will have the opportunity to work with many accounting departments on tax filing for their business. When called upon, how would you go about verifying the accuracy of an accounting department?

      No matter the size of the business and their accounting department, human error can lead to costly mistakes down the road if accuracy is not verified on the financial statements and books of a company that you would be consulting in this role. In your answer, talk specifically about your methods for verifying data entry and make it clear to your interviewer that this a step that you do not take lightly or overlook.

      Ryan's Answer

      "In any tax consulting project, data verification and sampling is of utmost importance to me and a step I would ensure happens with every client here at The Alliant Group. Depending on the accounting and finance department's books and how they are kept, my data verification could be as simple as printing documents and verifying samples against filed information or running the data verification through a program. I have extensive experience running both methods of data verification and wouldn't hesitate to use either with the clients here."

      Ryan's Answer

      "I fully realize that my work in advising businesses on their tax filings comes down to verifying their income statements, balance sheet and cash flow statements. To verify, I would have to work with leaders in reconciling their financial statements with bank records, credit card statement, invoices, receipts and any other documents that show physical proof on financial statements. Realizing that this can sometimes be a difficult task with businesses that don't keep accurate records, have segregated finance departments or multiple physical locations, I would leave no stone unturned in this initial verification process with your clients."

  4. 4.

    A key component to success here at The Alliant Group 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 The Alliant Group and I'd love the opportunity to bring these skills to the table for you."

  5. 5.

    Give an example of a time you used data in analyzing risk for an organization. Did you utilize any tools in this process?

      Gathering and analyzing data is an important step that any risk management professional must take during their evaluation processes. What's even more important than gathering and analyzing is putting the data to use to achieve results. For this question, talk in detail about a time that you used data in a working situation. Explain the tools, whether it was specific software or a spreadsheet, to help analyze and get results out of the data you collected.

      Ryan's Answer

      "As you can see from my resume, I've spent a good portion of my career working in the manufacturing industry. In that industry, a good deal of my risk focus was on employee safety and lost time prevention. When I took my current position, I analyzed data over the past ten years to find trends on workplace injuries that led to work comp claims. By using a very intricate Excel spreadsheet that I created, I was able to find a few different problem areas. From there, I worked with management and our safety coordinator to implement new work practices and policies moving forward."

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my current role, I am using the Resolver risk management software and it has really been an effective tool in storing and analyzing data and then helping put the data to functional use. Last year, I was tasked with leading a team of individuals to assess risk of potential defective products that my organization was putting to market. My job was to research and gather data on potential lawsuit risk that the organization could be looking at while others focused on the internal pieces that would fix the problem. Resolver was a great tool for our whole project and luckily, my organization didn't face any lawsuits based on our quick work."

  6. 6.

    As a consultant with The Alliant Group, the ability to give sound risk advice to our clients is always expected. What's the greatest piece of advice you've ever given regarding organizational risk?

      Upon first hearing this question, you may be left empty minded given the large number of ways you can answer this questions while trying to please your interviewer. At the heart of this question, your interviewer is looking to hear what you feel is the most important advice you have ever given a company or a particular person regarding the mitigation of risk. Talk about why this advice was important, how you learned it and how you still carry it forward to this day.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Throughout my career, I've always taken the time to network with other risk and compliance professionals. About five years ago at a national conference, I attended a breakout seminar on whistle blowing policies surrounding risk. I heard a colleague talk about a policy that their organization had adopted that removed all fear of retribution for employees that brought risk concerns forward to the risk manager. Upon returning from the conference, I approached our COO about adopting a similar policy and upon doing so, I considered this my greatest piece of advice ever. Right way upon communication, we had a few employees come forward with significant concerns that otherwise wouldn't have in fear of retaliation against them or a colleague."

      Ryan's Answer

      "What I learned early on in my career was that the need for having a long-term, extended outlook on potential risks and mitigation of those risks was extremely important. When I took my current job, my department was way too shortsighted in the risk prevention efforts. The best advice I've ever given was to our CEO to allow professionals in risk management to the table on financial planning and operational planning conversations for the future. If hired here at The Alliant Group, this is one area of expertise that I could bring to your clients."

  7. 7.

    What logical steps would you take following an internal audit process with our clients here at The Alliant Group?

      If hired for this position, your work as an auditor with The Alliant Group doesn't end when the audit is done. Clients expect follow-up in the form of written reporting. Talk about your ability to write a follow-up report clearly and concisely and do so in a timely manner. To really have an impact on your interviewer, talk about how these steps in your work would hopefully make a repeat client out of those that you work with.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Through my time working with different financial auditors, the follow-up to an audit is often overlooked as most people look to move onto the next project. In reality, clients look for the follow up report to learn and grow from their audit experience and this is a part of the process that I take great pride in. My writing skills are tailored to be to the point and clear in my findings. Without having my head get too bogged down in other work, I write and submit reports to leadership in a very timely manner following the completion of an audit."

  8. 8.

    If you are hired for this position here at The Alliant Group, what do you think the biggest hurdle for you would be from the start?

      For this question, you can showcase your research that you've done on both The Alliant Group and the role you are interviewing for by being upfront and honest about what you feel would be the biggest learning curve for you if hired for the position and giving your plan for how you would approach this hurdle. In your answer, make sure that you highlight your skills and abilities in making a molehill out of a mountain on your way to success in this role.

      Ryan's Answer

      "As you can see from my resume, most of my career experience is in the food industry. If fortunate enough to be hired for this position, the biggest area for learning for me would be the finance side of other industries like technology, telecommunications and healthcare. From day one, I would begin by thoroughly research the clients here at The Alliant Group and speaking with as many industry experts that I know through business networking. While learning the ins and outs of other industries is the biggest learning curve for me, I see it as a great opportunity for me to become more proficient and effective in the work that I'd be doing for you."

      Ryan's Answer

      "While this may sound funny to you at first, I think the biggest challenge for me from the start will be adapting to the great corporate lifestyle and culture here at The Alliant Group. When I saw this position being open for applicants and I did my research, I was extremely excited to hear about the flexibility and openness to the ideas of your staff members. I've been working for six years in an environment that is very opposite of an open culture for new ideas and for me personally, it will feel foreign for me to bring new ideas to the team here and have them be accepted."

  9. 9.

    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 The Alliant Group 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

      "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

      "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 The Alliant Group and your clients would benefit greatly."

  10. 10.

    What tax preparation programs do you familiarity working on?

      While there is a large variety of tax preparation software available to tax professionals with each having their own specific niche markets and benefits, your interviewer is really looking to hear that you can be fluent in learning and utilizing any system. To reiterate that to your interviewer, talk about the different programs that you have worked on and efficiently learned and mastered throughout your career. Let them know that you are willing and able to work off of any system.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Currently, I've been using Lacerte for over five years and I love its ability to integrate with other programs and online versions of QuickBooks. Prior to Lacerte, I have worked on simple programs like Turbo Tax and other web based programs. Having what I would call great computer skills, I am able to learn new programs with ease to be able to use them effectively. As an organization, what program do you use here at The Alliant Group?"

      Ryan's Answer

      "Through my career to this point, I have worked on both Drake and CCH Axcess. When making the conversion to Drake a few years ago, it was a learning process that mostly involved applying the functions that I was used to in CCH Axcess to Drake. After just a few hours of playing with the system and preparing a few returns, I would have considered myself very fluent with the system."

  11. 11.

    At The Alliant Group, we often work with both small and large businesses on their tax preparation. What common deductions would you recommend for small businesses?

      As a trusted adviser at The Alliant Group, you will be relied upon by clients to help them find every way possible to minimize their tax burden. To prove your expertise to your interviewer, try to talk about one or two common tax deductions that are often overlooked by small businesses. Explain why the deduction is important to consider and what impact that can have on a future client you would be working with in this role.

      Ryan's Answer

      "In my experience in working with small businesses, the most commonly overlooked deductions that they could take advantage of are vehicle and fleet expenses. While many businesses know this is possible, many fail at maintaining proper documentation of vehicles costs and usage as part of the job. I take it upon myself to walk clients through the proper documentation for future use and they have all appreciated this insight."

      Ryan's Answer

      "I see a lot of business owners overlook items that I would consider maintenance or facility costs that they can deduct at the end of each year. Repairs on equipment and property are deductible and business owners often fail to keep proof of payment for such repairs. On top of repairs, most utilities like electricity are deductible as well for a business. For small business owners, a huge part of my responsibility is educating them on these deductions. For your clients here at The Alliant Group, my education would help build trust and a long lasting working relationship."

  12. 12.

    How do you feel that your education and career to this point has prepared you to work in the international tax realm here at The Alliant Group?

      With the rise of corporations taking their businesses to a global level, firms like The Alliant Group 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

      "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 The Alliant Group. 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

      "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 The Alliant Group. 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."

  13. 13.

    Being successful in consulting and working here at The Alliant Group requires the ability to work effectively with Type A personalities. What are your experiences in working with this personality and how did you make the relationships a success?

      To first understand this question, it is important that you know that Type A personalities are exemplified by being competitive, motivated, organized and goal driven, among many other traits. These traits often lead to success in high level roles within organizations and your chances of working with this personality type are high. Think of a time you worked with a typical Type A personality and explain the methods you used to ensure that you had a sound and successful working relationship. Make sure that your interview walks away knowing that you can work effectively with difficultly driven individuals with high expectations.

      Ryan's Answer

      "For the last six years, I have worked under your prototypical type A personality as my director. Being a self admitted type B, being under my new director was difficult at first. For me to be successful under her and for our relationship to flourish, I learned quickly that she liked me to regularly communicate timelines for projects and give updates when necessary as she was very time driven. As well, small talk and getting to know me personally wasn't a priority so our communications to this day are pretty succinct and to the point. In this role, I would feel very comfortable with working with high level type A's because of my firsthand experience."

      Ryan's Answer

      "If you haven't been able to tell during my interview so far, I am a type A personality myself. My personality has helped me become very successful as a Financial Analyst. Having had formal training in the different personality types, I know that I need to take a meticulous approach when working with other type A personalities. My current team is loaded with type A's and regular communication is key in ensuring that expectations are clear and timelines are being met. If hired for this position, I would know my place in working with leaders from clients and I can easily be both cognizant of my approach and have the ability to put my desire to be in the lead aside with them when needed."

  14. 14.

    At The Alliant Group, we look to hire those who will be a long term fit. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

      It's impossible to know where you will be in 5 years but you need to assure the interviewer that, given all possible circumstances, you could see yourself as a long-term fit for the position at The Alliant Group.

      Ryan's Answer

      "Ideally, 5 years from now, I would love to see myself growing into a more prominent leadership role within your organization. My career interests align very nicely with your company's goals which helps me to see a great long-term fit here."

      Ryan's Answer

      "5 years from now, I would like to supervise or manage a team of my own with The Alliant Group. I feel like I am progressing in my career at a rate that will make this a possibility."

  15. 15.

    What roles are you comfortable assuming in working as part of a larger team?

      Coming to work for a consulting business requires the ability to work as part of a larger team on the projects you will be heading. Teamwork in this setting requires versatility and your interviewer will be looking to hear that you have that versatility in your answer to this question. Many times, you will be taking the bull by the horns and leading the way. Other times, you will be the worker bee researching behind the scenes. You may be tasked with being the organizer of projects behind the scenes as well. Make sure that you highlight your ability to be flexible when working as part of a team here.

      Ryan's Answer

      "I am really comfortable working in any role within a team and I think my experiences throughout my career demonstrate this well. At many times in my career, I've been the legwork of team operations and have easily taken direction on projects and been able to hit pre-established deadlines. As well, I've lead many projects and have shown my ability to lead others in a team effort and the ability to delegate tasks and set milestones for projects. If hired for this position, you can be rest assured that I have the ability to be a key team players with your clients in helping better their business."

      Ryan's Answer

      "From a very young age in my career, I've always been a natural leader in a team based environment. My excellent communication skills, honesty, critical thinking and decision making skills have proven time and time again that I can lead others in the most effective way possible. And while being a leader comes naturally to me, I can easily let others take the lead on projects."

  16. 16.

    In what ways would our clients here at The Alliant Group benefit from your knowledge and services?

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  17. 17.

    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?

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  18. 18.

    If hired here at The Alliant Group, you may have to step out of your comfort zone working in new industries. How will you be able to make this potential seamless?

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  19. 19.

    What interests you in joining the business consulting world here at The Alliant Group?

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  20. 20.

    How do you determine priorities when you have multiple projects due?

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  21. 21.

    At The Alliant Group, our clients look to us to help find new and creative ways to save tax dollars. Have you ever had a unique situation where you helped an organization save tax dollars through your work and insight?

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  22. 22.

    During our busy season here at The Alliant Group, the demand of clients under tight deadlines can create a great deal of pressure on our team. How do you work effectively under high pressure situations?

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  23. 23.

    What customer service skills would you be able to bring as a tax preparer for the clients here at The Alliant Group? Why is providing strong customer service important to you?

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  24. 24.

    At The Alliant Group, 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?

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  25. 25.

    With some of our clients here at The Alliant Group being hesitant to run an internal audit, what points would you use to sell them on the importance of conducting an internal audit?

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  26. 26.

    Due to the nature of The Alliant Group business and services we may ask that you complete a full background check. Are you willing to comply?

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  27. 27.

    If you had to share difficult information with a client here at The Alliant Group, how would you approach that situation?

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