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Wipfli LLP

28 Interview Questions & Answers

1.
Have you ever had a time where you had to explain accounting processes or practices in layman's terms to someone? Why is the ability to do that important?
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Ryan's Advice
For people outside of the finance and accounting world, methods and terms can often be very confusing and part of your work with Wipfli LLP may entail your ability to explain things in the simplest of terms to the leadership staff and employees of organizations that you will work with. If you have a specific time where you had to do this, discuss in detail how you did that and why you felt it was important to do that. Be sure to explain that accounting principles can be hard to grasp and that educating others is a part of your work that you take great pride in.

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1.
Have you ever had a time where you had to explain accounting processes or practices in layman's terms to someone? Why is the ability to do that important?
For people outside of the finance and accounting world, methods and terms can often be very confusing and part of your work with Wipfli LLP may entail your ability to explain things in the simplest of terms to the leadership staff and employees of organizations that you will work with. If you have a specific time where you had to do this, discuss in detail how you did that and why you felt it was important to do that. Be sure to explain that accounting principles can be hard to grasp and that educating others is a part of your work that you take great pride in.

Ryan's Answer #1
"In our world, financial terms and principles are almost second nature to us and it can be easy to take the knowledge we have for granted when talking with others. Last year, my current organization hired a new CEO that came from the sales side of the business and he was an extreme work in progress when it came to the financial and accounting side of the business. I took the time to sit down and explain our financial statements to him and get him used to the acronyms that are often used in our accounting department's email communications to leadership. He was very appreciative of my efforts and he really did catch on quickly moving forward in his new role."
Ryan's Answer #2
"As I understand the business here at Wipfli LLP, I would have the opportunity to work as an accounting consultant with businesses both large and small. Through my career, I've had the ability work with leaders from many departments to talk about and explain accounting processes and how their job impacts the work of an accounting department. During these times, it was very important to relate things to the person's work in the easiest way possible. I have a lot of great experience in explaining things like ledgers and income statements to leaders so they can understand things in a way that is simple for them. This ability would translate nicely to the work I would be doing here with your clients."
2.
Sometimes with our clients here at Wipfli LLP, we have to think outside the box when helping them develop a strategic plan. Do you have an example of a time where you thought outside of the box in developing a strategic plan?
In today's day and age, conventional thinking can only get organizations so far as they develop strategic plans for the future. With competition, demand and needs for success keeping people focused on day to day routine in their work, it is oftentimes necessary to think outside of the box when looking to develop a strategic plan. Talk about a time that you used a unique and unconventional tactic in the development of a strategic plan. Why do you consider that method thinking outside of the box?

Ryan's Answer #1
"As the leader of the strategic growth committee of my employer right out of college, I felt that it was important to solicit feedback from employees as we looked to create and implement our first ever strategic plan. I created an idea box where employees were prompted to write down any ideas anonymously for what they though would be helpful in creating an outward looking success strategy. I communicated to employees through email, team meetings and a company newsletter. After three months, our committee went through every suggestion in the box and brainstormed which ideas could be implemented into our strategy. In the end, we felt that we received many great thoughts and ideas that we likely wouldn't have come up with on our own."
Ryan's Answer #2
"I personally believe that way too many organizations only look internally when developing a strategic plan when they should also be soliciting feedback from customers, stakeholders and/or the general public as well. Last year when working with a regional grocery retailer, I utilized public focus groups to really delve into the minds of consumers to aid in creating a strategic plan. While wanting to get as much relevant information as possible from the focus groups, a great deal of thought was put into the questions that were asked of the focus group."
3.
At Wipfli LLP, 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, Wipfli LLP 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."
4.
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?
Wipfli LLP 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."
5.
Give an example of a time that you brought an innovation to an accounting practice for an organization. What was your motivation to do this?
With this being a pretty open ended question, your interviewer is allowing you to have the opportunity to showcase your ability to think creatively and outside the box when it comes to your accounting experience. Whether you implemented a new technology or developed new processes to work more efficiently, make sure that your interviewer walks away knowing that you are an innovator in your work.

Ryan's Answer #1
"Two years ago, I led the charge for my organization to integrate all of our systems together. Of course selfishly, my intent was to positively impact our accounting department by integrating our CRM and ERP systems into our accounting system. After walking through a stringent request for proposal process where we looked at many different vendors, a new interactive system was chosen that every department in the organization could work off of. To this day, we are still seeing the benefits in sales, production and finance. While struggles certainly happened at first with implementing new systems, the small headaches were well worth the benefits we are seeing now."
Ryan's Answer #2
"When I took my current position six years ago, I began leading a finance department ten people. At that time, my employees were what I considered to be jacks of all trades, but masters of none as they were all doing different accounting and finance tasks with the departments that they worked directly with. Within a couple of months as the manager, it was easy to see that different processes among my employees were causing major troubles. Immediately, I created new job descriptions and placed my staff into task specific roles within the finance department. There were struggles with staff learning to work with new departments at first, but a focused work effort for each individual made our department much more fluent and efficient for our internal and external customers."
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