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Accounting Clerk Interview

25 Questions and Answers by Samantha Hamilton

Updated February 4th, 2019 | Samantha H. has almost three years of experience
in recruiting and loves to help people obtain their dream jobs.
Question 1 of 25
You may have multiple deadlines to complete your tasks. When have you been in such an environment and how did you handle it?
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How to Answer
Deadline-driven environments are a breeze for you as an accounting clerk! Planning and organization are key for any environment, and the interviewer simply wants to hear that you're not daunted by it. Begin by sharing an example of a deadline-driven environment you've participated in. It can even be a school setting if you're a recent graduate. Share where you were employed (or were a student), what types of deadlines you had to meet, and how you approached the tasks. Mention what organizational tools you utilized, and be sure to mention how successful you were in handling the multi-tasking deadline environment.
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Top 25 Accounting Clerk Interview Questions with Full Content
You may have multiple deadlines to complete your tasks. When have you been in such an environment and how did you handle it?
Deadline-driven environments are a breeze for you as an accounting clerk! Planning and organization are key for any environment, and the interviewer simply wants to hear that you're not daunted by it. Begin by sharing an example of a deadline-driven environment you've participated in. It can even be a school setting if you're a recent graduate. Share where you were employed (or were a student), what types of deadlines you had to meet, and how you approached the tasks. Mention what organizational tools you utilized, and be sure to mention how successful you were in handling the multi-tasking deadline environment.

Samantha's Answer #1
"I've worked on several projects at once with different deadlines. I'm well versed with this as all it takes is good time management skills to handle the completion of different tasks."
Samantha's Answer #2
"I have experience in handling various projects at the same time. In college, I was in my week of final exams and projects due, and was working with Habitat for Humanity building homes for the less fortunate. I was a veteran volunteer, so they relied on me for many hours and to help train newcomers. I was able to schedule myself enough time to study and complete my projects while helping the charity I hold so close to my heart."
Do you enjoy working with deadlines?
This is a straightforward question. Most accounting positions have strict deadlines for the majority of their work. If you can't work with a deadline or are consistently late, that adversely affect your career if it hasn't already. Be honest if you struggle with deadlines and explain that it's something you're improving on daily to ensure you meet your company's timelines.

Talk about your time management system so they know you have something in place to help you meet all deadlines.

Samantha's Answer #1
"I'm great at meeting deadlines. I have a planner that I live by and as soon as I get a task, I break it down into manageable pieces and tackle them one at a time. I ensure that I always turn in my projects early if not on time."
Samantha's Answer #2
"I'm great with deadlines. I've never turned in a task late at school and with any job I've had so far."
What do you hope to achieve in the accounting clerk role?
This is an important question that asks if you see yourself growing with the company. They want to know if you'll be looking for advancement or if you're happy to be in the same role year after year. This could be a double-edged sword question as well. If it's a small company, then they may be concerned that if you're too eager, you won't be satisfied without pay raises later on. If you don't seem eager, they may fear you won't help them grow.

Be honest with where you are in your career. If you don't want advancement, let them know so they can place you in the right position.

Samantha's Answer #1
"I'm hoping to grow into a more managerial position in the future and to help this company grow so that it will need multiple new roles that present growth opportunities not only for me but others as well."
Samantha's Answer #2
"I'm always open to new possibilities and responsibilities, so if the company is growing, I'd like to grow with it."
Give me an example of an accounting goal you set for yourself and achieved.
This is a variation on the standard question of goal-setting but with an accounting focus. They want to see that you can overcome obstacles and set your goals high. If you think that you haven't set or achieved goals in this area, then look to your education. You set the goal to become educated and take on this career, so you achieved whatever level of education you have.

If you're self-taught, that's also a goal. Discuss a project you took on or how you became interested in the field.

Samantha's Answer #1
"When I was in college, I worked as a receptionist at a dental clinic four days a week. Their accounting clerk walked out on them in the middle of month end. They asked for help because at the time, I was an economics major and somehow they thought that tied together. I dug in and learned a lot about accounting on the internet. When I got stuck, I went to YouTube and found these walk-through videos that taught me so much. Shortly afterward, I changed my major to accounting because I fell in love with the process."
Samantha's Answer #2
"The biggest accounting goal I set for myself was obtaining my Bachelor's degree in Accounting. I started school with no idea what I wanted to do, but after a lot of research and development, I was able to narrow the field to accounting. I set the goal of achieving my Bachelor's degree early to start my career. I was able to double my class load a couple semesters in a row and graduate a year early."
Give me an example of a time you handled documentation preparation for an audit. How did you ensure you had everything required?
Accounting clerks have to wear many hats. Not only do they have to reconcile financial data, but they have to prepare it for the auditors. If you have experience with this, it will be an easy question. Most companies have a system or a list of things required for auditors that clerks have to prepare.

If you don't have experience, then be honest. It will show your integrity and you can use another story that shows that you're highly organized.

Samantha's Answer #1
"At my previous company, we had an Excel spreadsheet with a master list of what the auditors would ask for and how to review the documents to ensure they were complete. I just followed the list and reviewed what was needed. I found one document that hadn't been properly updated and was able to send it back to the accountant on duty to revise it before handing over the audit package."
Samantha's Answer #2
"I've never had real world experience with this, but I'll say that in school I was part of the student government and had to organize everything as the secretary. I ensured everyone had the documentation they needed and kept track of all budgets and accounts to help the treasurer because they weren't as organized as me."
What made you decide on a career in bookkeeping?
This is a personal question that you should be able to answer. If you don't know why you want to be a bookkeeper, then you probably don't want to be one. Being a bookkeeper is detail and math-oriented. You have to be organized and able to handle multiple types of accounting functions as well as filing policies the company has in place.

If you don't have an answer for this, then I suggest researching exactly what the accounting clerk role has to offer and see if you'd enjoy it. If you don't enjoy the job, you'll be more likely to miss a detail important to the role.

Samantha's Answer #1
"I love detail-oriented work and thrive on finding the last detail or piece of the puzzle."
Samantha's Answer #2
"While I have no experience in bookkeeping, I've always loved detail-oriented work. I always put a lot of detail in my projects and love to do puzzles. Finding the details and ensuring their accuracy is important to me."
Give me an example of time you caught an accounts receivable error and how you fixed it.
This is a straightforward question. If you've worked in accounts receivable before, you've likely found an error, whether it was yours or someone else's, and you followed a process to correct it. Explain that process here.

If you don't have experience with this, be honest. Entry level candidates are just that, entry level. Provide a story when you found an error at work or school and how you corrected it. This isn't to boast, but to demonstrate your attention to detail, which is important.

Samantha's Answer #1
"I found that a client had been paying ten dollars over their monthly bill at the internet company I worked for. There was no reason for that because they didn't have a balance to pay off beyond their monthly fee. After reviewing the account, I found they'd been paying too much for over a year. I spoke with my manager and we both called the client to let them know that due to the overcharge on their auto-pay, they'd receive free service for the next five months. We adjusted the auto-pay for the correct amount to be withdrawn on the sixth month. The customer was so excited that they weren't even upset about the overpayments."
Samantha's Answer #2
"I've never found an error working in accounts receivable, but when I was in college, I started handling the inventory for the restaurant where I worked and found we were being shorted a case of fries every order. I followed up with my manager, who contact the supplier and we were credited the money for the missing case. Apparently, it had been happening for a while and the delivery driver was retrained in how to verify deliveries."
In your previous accounting experience, what's the toughest group you had to get cooperation from? How did you handle it?
Getting buy-in can be a challenge from time to time for various reasons. Possible issues might include: major company changes, new company vision, launching new company processes, or even cultural differences. What has been your toughest sell to get the cooperation of others? Often, it's the situation that's challenging and not the group itself. Begin by telling the interviewer your situation. What were you trying to get cooperation for? Who were you trying to get cooperation from? Next, share the group's reaction. What kind of pushback did you get? Then, share how you successfully overcame the pushback to achieve cooperation from the group.

Sometimes departments do not mesh well together so when you are reliant on another department to get you data it can sometimes be a challenge.

Samantha's Answer #1
"When I worked for my previous company there was a lot of tension between the IT department and the Accounting department. Both departments thought they where the most important in the company and both were equally valuable because you could not run the company without either one. I was able to build a relationship with the IT department and soon became the liason between the departments. I made friends with two of the IT guys and we would regularly go out to lunch to maintain our working relationship and friendship. I still see those guys once a week at our poker game because maintaining that relationship has been very important to us."
Samantha's Answer #2
"While this is accounting, when I worked in student government, we had a huge lack of participation from certain groups of kids. I made it my mission to involve everyone in some way. I reached out to the groups individually and got a lot of positive responses. We had the highest rate of participation of any class that school has seen because I went out of my way to involve everyone. We even had a punk rock themed dance at one point to convince the punk kids they could contribute too."
When given a new bookkeeping assignment, how do you approach it?
In other words, what steps do you take to figure out how to do something new? If you're provided training, do you take notes? If you're not provided training, do you watch a video, read blogs, or conduct an internet search to determine your course of action? Do you seek other people in your department who can help you learn? Or do you crack open an old textbook to help you figure it out? The interviewer simply wants to hear that you're willing to take on a challenge and will determine a way to get the job done. Go ahead and share your approach.

If you've never had a bookkeeping assignment, describe another challenge you had to figure out and discuss that.

Samantha's Answer #1
"The first thing I do is get the scope of the project, exactly what my manager is looking for, and then I conduct internet research and ask some of my colleagues how to best present my data."
Samantha's Answer #2
"Whenever I'm given a new project that I'm not trained for, I immediately start researching how others have completed similar tasks. I'd ask my supervisor for the specifics they want and start with outlining the process before detailing everything."
Give an example of a time you were helping on a project but maintained your normal duties as well.
This is important. As an accounting clerk, you'll be assisting accounting managers with projects and they'll expect you to handle all your regular duties like AR/AP and filing. You must demonstrate that you can maintain your work while taking on additional tasks they need assistance with.

If you don't have this experience, then you should be honest about it. Anyone in the accounting should be excited about the prospect of new projects to show they have initiative.

Samantha's Answer #1
"I've helped with several projects and maintained my duties. It's all about time management and blocking time for the project while giving yourself time to complete your regular duties. If you start to feel overwhelmed, check the schedule you made, which gets you back on track."
Samantha's Answer #2
"I'm just out of school, so I'd block time for the project and work my regular duties around whatever meetings or tasks they needed me to do. If I need to work a little late to get it done, then that's no problem. I love taking on new and fun tasks."
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