For this question, start off deciding in your professional experience if FiFO or LIFO method was used. Then give the definitions and example. Anyone that is new in their career and does not have any experience, then be honest with the interviewer at the initial part of the question, but word it like this...As I'm only 2 years into my career, I have not been exposed to LIFO or FIFO, yet, but I understand the two inventory processes very well. LIFO means ....and FIFO means ....Most companies favor the LIFO methods especially manufacturing and retail industry. With LIFO...
"FIFO stands for First In and First Out. Basically, here the first piece of data to be stored is the first one to be accessed. Hence, it can be said that the data is accessed in the order that it was stored. Think of FIFO as a line, where the first person to get in the line is the first person to get service, the second person in line gets service second, and so on and so forth. "
"If a company that sells products (retailer, manufacturer, etc.) finds the cost of its items increasing, the use of LIFO will result in less taxable income and less income tax payments than FIFO. Over a long period of time, or when costs increase dramatically, the lower income tax payments will be significant. FIFO and LIFO are exact opposite accounting methods that deliver dramatically different results. If costs are increasing, with FIFO you pay a larger amount of income taxes in the near-term since the first items sold are the least expensive. If costs are increasing, with LIFO you pay fewer income taxes in the near-term since the last items sold are the most expensive and you report the fewest profits. Another reason for a company to use the LIFO cost flow assumption is to improve the matching of costs with sales. Under LIFO, the recent costs will be matched on the income statement with the recent sales revenues. (Recall that LIFO means the "last costs in" will be the "first costs out" of inventory and onto the income statement as the cost of goods sold.)Let's illustrate this with an example. A new company purchases aluminum for $1.00 per pound and sells it for $1.20 per pound. After several months, the company has 10,000 pounds of aluminum in inventory at a cost of $10,000. Its next purchase of 20,000 pounds came with a cost increase: the cost of aluminum increased to $1.10 per pound. The company immediately increased its selling price by ten cents per pound and sold 10,000 pounds of aluminum for $1.30 per pound. The company's income statement will report sales of $13,000. The company must now match the cost of the 10,000 pounds of aluminum with the $13,000 of sales. Under LIFO, the cost of goods sold will be $11,000 (10,000 lbs. sold X the recent cost of $1.10 per lb.). Using FIFO, the cost of goods sold will be $10,000 (10,000 lbs. sold X the first or older cost of $1.00 per lb.). How much gross profit did the company actually earn? Did it earn $2,000 ($13,000 - $11,000) as LIFO indicated? Or, did the company earn $3,000 ($13,000 - $10,000) as indicated by FIFO? Business-savvy people will say the company earned only $2,000 from its main operating activity of buying and selling aluminum. They argue that the true profit is the amount remaining after you replace the 10,000 pounds of aluminum that was sold. If it will cost $1.10 per pound to replace the aluminum that was sold, the true profit is $2,000. The $3,000 computed under FIFO includes $1,000 of phantom or illusory profits. (In other words, the company was lucky to be holding 10,000 pounds of aluminum when the aluminum market increased by ten cents per pound.) In our example, LIFO will mean $1,000 less of taxable income and $400 less in tax payments for a corporation with a combined federal and state income tax rate of 40%. That's good for the company's cash flow. It will help the company meet its payments to its suppliers for the higher costing aluminum. It means that whenever the inventory will be reported as sold (either after conversion to finished goods or as it is) its cost will be taken equal to the cost of the oldest inventory present in the stock. This, in turn, means that the cost of inventory sold as reported on the Profit and Loss Statement will be taken as that of the oldest inventory present in the stock. On the other hand, on the Balance Sheet, the cost of the inventory still in stock will be taken equal to the cost of the latest inventory added to the stock."
Sub ledger is the subset of General ledger in the accounting terms. The relation between sub ledger to general ledger is many to one. There can be multiple sub ledger accounts linked to same general ledger account. Posting from sub-ledger to general ledger is a process in which entries from general journal are periodically transferred to ledger accounts (also known as T-accounts). It is the second step of accounting cycle because business transactions are first recorded in the sub ledger and then they are posted to respective ledger accounts in the general ledger.
"The key difference between general ledger and sub ledger is that while general ledger is the set of master accounts where transactions are recorded, sub ledger is an intermediary set of accounts that are linked to the general ledger. The relationship between these two is that multiple sub ledgers are attached to the general ledger. The sub ledger is also referred to as 'subsidiary ledger', this is a detailed subset of accounts that contains transaction information. his account is referred to as the 'Control account', and account types that generally have a high activity level is recorded here. Subsidiary ledgers can include: purchases, payables, receivables, production cost, payroll and any other account types. The general ledger is the principal set of accounts where all transactions conducted within the financial year are recorded. The information for general ledger is derived from the general journal which is an initial book for entering transactions as two sided entry known as the debit and credit: assets, liability, owners equity, income and expenses. "
"The general ledger is the central place that stores every accounting entry a company makes. The entries, called journal entries, are debits and credits. The entries are made to various accounts ( payroll, inventory, or advertising). These accounts fall into categories such as assets, liabilities, revenue, etc. A company often has dozens of accounts and tens of thousands of journal entries in the general ledger in a year. Every journal entry should involve a debit and an offsetting credit -- this is the basis of the double-entry bookkeeping method. "
Answer this questioning a practical manner, meaning how you have used SOX in a professional environment. If you do not have any experience, then discuss your learning and education of SOX.
"The general idea of SOX is to identify areas of risk in a company that are vulnerable to fraud. I work as an Accounts Receivable Clerk and the company adheres to SOX by separating the receiving of money for the receivable and how it's applied to another department to handle the cash. When I receive a credit card payment or check for and invoice, I can only apply the payment to the invoice in the system, and then must provide the check or credit card paperwork to the Cash Management Clerk. "
"Sox has impacted how I set up internal processes within the accounting department. If a company is publicly traded, then there must be a formal SOX audit process. Mostly involves user permissions and SOD's to ensure an individual(s) does not have access to commit fraud or mis-represent financials, without any oversight. "
I like this question, because it doesn't matter the experience level/education, it's all relevant. A person new in their career or just out of college might not have the experience to answer this question. So focus on any process in school that you had developed or revised. Or if you do have some professional experience, but still unable to answer the question, then tell about a time that you made an improvement in your job and why.
"I am the Accounts Receivable Clerk for a mid-sized company, with two people in the department. My direct Report is the Accounting Manager, who helped train me upon being hired, as she was promoted from the Accounts Recievable Team Lead, to the Accounting Manager. During my training, it was emphasized to make the job fit my style. I did not know what that meant at the time, but after a year into the job and understanding how to do the job well, my next step was to work with me team and make suggestions that could make our work easier. I did just this, and my two co-workes agreed that it would be better to have all communicate and notes taken in the software system and not in a spreadsheet that would be used to notate any conversations or phone calls with a customer. What was happening is the spreadsheet was not being updated on a routinely basis, and was causing a lot of duplicate work and miscommunication. The accounting software has a Notes Section that allows for all users to make any updates. This was easier and more efficient, since we all work in the same system and only had to update one system. "
"When I was a Finance Manager and just starting with the company, I will never forget on my first day, I had asked the Financial Analyst for an AR and AP Aging Report. The individual looked at me and stated that they are not current and it's 30 days behind. I did not understand and listen for the Analyst to explain to me the process that has been put into place. Before changing anything, I went and asked all users why the report not kept current. The explanation I was given, was that it's updated every month-end close and that's just been the way it has been for years. I can't stand this explanation, and does not answer the question, 'why?' After a few weeks of observing the process, this was changed to balance the cash on a daily basis, therefore updating AR and AP. this sound like it would be easy to change, but the owner was not for this change at first and had to be persuaded as to why real time information is better than 30 day old information. "
The questions is straight forward. Give an example and the result. When I worked in payroll... When I was in school...costs were reduced by using less textbooks and more online resources. This was suggested by a group of students, and I was apart of this group. When I worked as an Accounting Clerk...
"My biggest cost reducing plan was to source new suppliers for our office supplies. By doing some extra research, I was able to bring costs down by 20% in less than one year and this equated to a saving of $10,000. The company budget for office supplies is $50,000."
"I have been able to present cost-cutting suggestions many times to my previous employer. The one that I feel had the biggest impact was when I suggested additional warehouse staff. We had three various shifts and still an average of 100 hours of overtime per week. I presented to my employer that we hire one more warehouse employee for each shift, keeping the hours to just 120 regular vs. 100 hours of overtime pay (@1.5x) This recommendation saved the company $31,000 per year. They implemented this change across 15 warehouses the following year, amounting to nearly half a million dollars in savings per year."
Variable costs are expenses incurred based upon the production volume. Examples of common variable costs include raw materials, packaging, and labor directly involved in a company's manufacturing process.
"Variable costs are made up of: Direct materials, Direct labor, Commissions, Credit card fees, and Shipping and packaging. Most business owners and Accounting Manager must know your total variable costs. To find your total variable expenses, multiply the total products or services you sell by the variable cost per unit."
"Working in manufacturing, its extremely important to know the variable costs and to be able to forecast and budget for them. If one does not understand the variable costs, then any type of budget and forecast will be rendered useless. The direct labor, materials, sales commissions, and shipping and receiving. When putting together the 2018 budget for company XYZ, the hourly labor is the biggest company expense, and therefore must "
This is a good question to answer at any career level. If you are just finished school, discuss a project (as there will be many) where you did financial analysis, even if it was a team project. if you have worked in accounting, you generally have done some type of financial analysis.
"I have been and accounts payable clerk for 3 years, and my month end responsibility is to ensure complete accuracy of the payables, and GRIR accounts. The average monthly balance of the payables account is around $3m, and about 2000 invoices processed on a month. This does not include the packaging slips that get matched to the invoice, along with ensuring that the open PO list does not age, and a good has been received with a packslip and there has not been and invoiced sent, to be proactive to call and get a copy. I'm extremely proactive to maintain the AP, as this is a major company liability and expense. I try very hard to ensure that all capital costs are recognized in the appropriate CIP account on the Balance Sheet and not expensed onto the P&L. "
"In my current role, I build 13 week cash flow projection model in Exclel. The model measures the DCF, WACC and CAPEX of past, current and future projects. The business was looking to implement two new additional lines and there was not any reports to measure the future projects. The building of the cash flow projection model, provided the information for the Senior Leaders to be informed and make better decisions. One line was delayed and another was approved to start production, along with the purchase and investment of the equipment and machinery. "
If you have no accounting experience then you could talk about how you studied GAAP rules in college classes and used what you learned to solve homework problems or about how you did some financial statement project where you had to use GAAP rules. GAAP stands for Generally Accepted Accounting Standards, and it's the framework for accounting standards.
"I report general transactions using Sage accounting software with extra emphasis made to ensure I am following GAAP revenue recognition principles. At month end close, I prepare trial balances and check the overall system for discrepancies and prepared adjusting entries at relevant intervals. If I do not understand a certain transaction, or how to set up a certain transaction per GAAP rules, I will confer with my CPA. For example, when putting a new capital equipment into service, I will confirm the depreciation and years in service is correct according to GAAP and IRS. "
"GAAP is a cluster of accounting standards and common industry usage that have been developed over many years. It is used by organizations to: organize their financial information, and summarize into financial statements. As and accounting, GAAP is used everyday in my job with the double sided entry. "
This is a very good question for anyone just getting out of school, as you will be very updated on accounting principles, rules, any changes and techniques. People that are experienced professionals will need to demonstrate how they stay updated, and this question is asked to find out from the interviewee if they are continuing to improve their knowledge in the field they work in.
"I feel very fortunate to have an Accounting Degree, from a University that put much focus on current accounting practices, changes in GAAP and SOX, industry trends, proposed legislation, and bank regulations. I will continue to stay updated by being active in my reading LinkedIn Group articles and CPA newsletters. "
"I take advantage of PwC, BDO, EY, and Deloitte. They have lots of resources, and their articles do a lot of the researching for me. KPMG's Alert is a crucial email I review every time it comes in. Locally, I'm a member of the CPAA chapter and listen to quest speakers on a quarterly basis for CPE credit. As a CPA in the state of Ohio(say your state) its required to take 120 hours in 3 years of CPE classes in order to maintain CPA permit. "
Ensuring the invoices you pay are accurate is essential to keeping your company's budget in order. Otherwise, you could find yourself overpaying for supplies and services or even paying for things you never received. Having a standard procedure for approving invoices helps you avoid these costly mistakes. Having a streamlined process also lets you pay vendors and contractors faster, fostering goodwill and better business relationships.
"The internal controls that I have established within the accounting department before approving an invoice for payment are: 1. Examine the supplier or contractor information to ensure that the information you have is accurate. This includes the vendor's name and address, as well as any account number or other number that identifies the payee. Inaccuracies in any of these areas can cause you to pay the wrong vendor or send payment to an incorrect address. 2. Make Sure the Invoice is Unpaid. Make note of the invoice date and number and check your accounts payable or other financial records to confirm that the invoice has not yet been paid. Check individual entries on the invoice to determine if any of the charges have been paid already. 3. Verify the Invoice Against Documentation. Use purchase orders, receipts, contractor time sheets and other forms of documentation to confirm that the amounts on the invoice match your records. This includes verifying quantities and checking to make sure the prices for products or services are consistent with the agreed upon amounts. Double-check the math to ensure accuracy. 4. Clarify discrepancies in a timely manner. Consult with managers and other employees to resolve any discrepancies you come across. If you can't figure things out on your end, contact the supplier or contractor to get things sorted out. "
"I Use a purchase order as approval. If the purchasing department has already issued a purchase order, then the purchase order itself should be sufficient evidence that an invoice can be paid. Eliminate approvals for small amounts. Establish a threshold invoice amount, so there is no need for an approval."
You should know how to respond to this based on the job description and whether the position requires experience doing financial audits, operational audits or something else. Make sure to before going into any interview, to read the job description.
"I have not had any auditing experience working in a professional setting. I just graduated and I think education is an integral part to gaining the technical knowledge needed to be an auditor. For example, have a bachelor's degree in accounting and a Certified Internal Auditor designation. This education has given me a better understanding of the state and federal rules and regulations different companies need to follow. I also have a clear understanding of the skills and dedication it takes to be a successful auditor."
"I gained a lot of the technical knowledge needed to be an external auditor while I pursued my bachelor's degree in accounting. I also have my Certified Information Systems Auditor designation from ISACA, which indicates I have a lot of technical knowledge related to information systems and operational auditing experience. I also gained much of my technical knowledge while I was an internal auditor for five years and an external auditor for three years."
For this question tell the number of years of experience or exposure to QuickBooks. If you don't have any, then be honest. Do some research to find out if any of the accounting systems you have used are similar to QuickBooks.
"I have just graduated from college and my system and software experience includes exposure to QuickBooks and a solid user in Excel. For school projects, we would use QuickBooks Pro in simulations and school projects. This allowed me to become familiar with the software in: creating a payment, generating an invoice, and creating a chart of accounts and all the 3 financial statements. I also, have created the COA and financial statements in Excel. "
"My experience of 10 years in the field of accounting has allowed me to work with a variety of software programs. I have used QuickBooks, which I like for the simple user interface, speed, and accuracy. My proficiency lies in QuickBooks and NetSuite. I've used both programs to to create balance sheets and financial statements. Additionally, I believe my skilled computer literacy will allow me to pick up on any new accounting software very quickly."
This might be a questions that if you're just starting out in your career that you just are not sure. This is okay. Most people are open to taking and studying of the exam if the company supports their progress (meaning time off to study) and offers reimbursement. There are questions, I would definitely ask the interviewer.
"While I was in school, it was highly encourages, and now that I have a few years of experience, I still open to taking the CPA and want to work for a company that supports employees to further their knowledge and expertise. Does company XYZ have provide any monetary support to their employee's that do take the CPA?"
"Being 15 years into my career and obtained the knowledge in both the accounting and finance field, I feel a CPA is not necessary. Especially when most of the people I manage are CPA's. "
Many entry level individuals will not have experience in preparing accounting reports. Do not worry about this, and instead discuss the work that you do (or have done) that gets recorded on the financial statements. In your answer demonstrate your experience in maintaining accounting principles, practices and procedures to ensure accurate and timely financial statements and reporting. Discuss the ability to meet tight deadlines and undertake a multitude of accounting activities.
"In my 4 years as an Accountant, my job duties have included reviewing the Daily Cash Report, to ensure daily balancing of the cash book against the Open AR Report. This ensures that the cash received from customers, has properly been applied to paid invoices. I'm also responsible for managing the GRIR (Goods Received Invoice Received) report on the purchasing and payable side. This report ensures the purchased items have been received, and will be reflected as an expense on the income statement, and not stay on the balance sheet in the liability GRIR account. "
"As a Controller there are many accounting reports that are run throughout the month, to monitor the financial performance and to ensure the day to day accounting functions are being done in a timely manner. Outside of the month-end Financial Statements and Monthly Summary Report, other accounts reports are a Daily Activity Report, that looks was total labor dollars for the day, how labor was used operationally for that day, total sales books for the day, and total goods shipped for the day to track inventory. This report provided the labor hours/total sales dollars. This metric would tell me the % of labor on per sales dollar basis. The higher the percentage, then there was either a slow sales day, or major down time in the plant. "
The answer to this question will evolve as your career evolves. Your experience and knowledge will be different from when someone is starting out in their career. Some reasons to chose accounting could be; good in math and with numbers, like the black and white in accounting, to better understand the other side of the business, or accounting touches every part of the business.
"There were many influences that went into my decision to select this career field. One of my early mentors was a business friend of my mother, who worked in the insurance industry and encouraged me to explore opportunities in this field. She pointed me in the right direction to explore the possibilities. But it was the combination of my career research along with my professors in my major who helped to solidify my decision. My internship last summer helped me to get an inside view into the world of accounting and I didn't just like it, I loved it."
" I committed myself as an Accounting major my Freshman year of college. I spent my energies in college preparing myself to become a world-class accountant. But it wasn't until my internship after my Junior year that I began to develop my interest in tax accounting. I was assigned a mentor that summer who continued to stay with me as my mentor after I graduated and helped me understand the field better and map out my career plans... I have become a Tax Accountant Professional and have never looked back. "
Answer this question honestly. Below I give two clear and concise high level answers. But there is there other side to the coin, where many people major in accounting because they had to chose a major or it was recemmended, etc. Whatever the case or reason, do not be negative in the interview. Let's just say that you really did not enjoy college or any of the classes, but there was a professor you liked. Focus on why you liked the professor and how you felt encouraged to learn more fro him.
"I enjoy business as a whole so I really enjoyed coursework in accounting, compensation theory/management and organizational management. All these classes gave me a great feel for the work involved in effective accounting practices and its contribution to a company."
"I have always enjoyed working with numbers and thus accounting was my favorite subject. Preparing the balance sheets was one of my favorite activities."
This maybe relevant to your job or it might not, as this question is very specific. Be honest if you do not have any tax preparation; but also think about this question. If you have done payroll, then you have exposure to all the payroll taxes. Have you prepared any journal entries for taxes, or figured out VAT or CAT taxes, income taxes, property taxes, federal taxes, etc. There are many different types of taxes, so think about what you have worked on. For an individual that is just getting out of school, refer back to your educational classes and learning. The answer to this question might be your own personal tax. For Example: When I was in college in Washington D.C., my athletic scholarship was taxed on a federal level, and the District of Columbia. I have to file a separate federal and city forms, so I could not do a 1040EZ.
"I have spent the past 1.5 years as a payroll clerk, for a company of 22 employees. There are 18 hourly and 4 salary employees. Payroll is on a bi-weekly basis. and I'm in charge of processing payroll, confirming transfer to the bank, posting it to the GL and balancing the balance sheet payroll tax accounts: municipality tax, school district tax, state, any child support withholding, unemployment, etc. Once I have verified the account balances are correct, then the accounting manager will file appropriate payroll taxes thru the online state tax portal. I can do this, and I'm back-up if she is gone, but do to SOD's within the company: I process and transmit payroll and the Accounting Manager reviews and submits the payroll taxes. "
"As the Senior Accounting Manager, I'm in charge of the accounting department with a staff of 7. I have filed taxes for companies in the past, but currently I focus on ensuring the financial reporting is accurate, and have an external CPA firm prepare the company's federal taxes, only. All other taxes are prepared and filed by myself. "
Keep your response brief, like you would for the , 'Tell me about yourself,' but outline important experiences you've had in this area. By keeping your response brief, it can open up the conversation to be more like a dialogue about the employer's business metrics rather than a Q&A.
"Outside of the month-end Financial Statements and Monthly Summary Report, other metrics, I have reviewed on daily basis come from the Daily Activity Report (DAR), that measures the total labor dollars for the day, how labor was used operationally for that day, total sales books for the day, and total goods shipped for the day to track inventory. The metrics provided was labor hours/total sales dollars. This metric would tell me the % of labor on per sales dollar basis. The higher the percentage, would reflect either a slow sales day, or major down time in the plant. Which in turn means, the hourly plant labor was not being used efficiently. If there was significant downtime, why wasn't labor sent home? This metric was a great operational gauge that directly impacted the P&L. "
"I'm a big proponent in arming myself with information to better run the company and advise the stakeholders, and make cost cutting decisions, along with improving processes and procedures with better efficiencies. Month-end close was an area where I had my Financial Statements to review and analyze, but there was not any metrics to measure the average cost of total labor dollars divided by total labor hours. Or a metric that breaks out direct vs indirect labor, or total labor hours divided by total sales revenue for the month. Metrics are and extremely important to show anomalies, or unusual patterns that can not be spotted in simply reviewing the financial statements. "
Your response will depend on whether you've been working for a bigger or smaller firm. 1. At a bigger organization, your responsibility may be a bit more siloed, whereas at a smaller company you probably have to wear many hats, and there are not as many checks and balances compared to a big company. Highlights your skills, rather than just saying you have experience in accounts payable.
"I have worked at a smaller company where my job title does not define what I do on a day to day basis, due to the nature of the job requirements: being interrupted a lot with questions, being the resident accounting expert to answer questions for the salesman and hourly plant employees, handle payroll and AR and AP. I was not good at multitasking, until I came to work for my current employer. "
"As an Accounting Manager of an accounting department of 15 people, for a company with annual business sales of $2.3bn, I spend most of my time either filling in for employees that are off of work, managing and always looking for better ways to streamline the process. I have a hands on role at month-end close, to ensure all deadlines are meant. If the deadlines are not met, then it's my responsibility to troubleshoot the issue. My role is a balance between managing the people and the process. "
Discuss how data or a chart or graph helped you make your case, and how the outcome worked in the organization's favor. If you do not have any working experience, then describe an assignment a class.
"I am an Accounting Clerk and responsible for paying all the bills. I noticed we were receiving an increase in bills from our gas supplier that would come and refill the gas tanks for the welding department. I brought it to my Controllers attention and they spoke to the Operations Manager, who said that there was a increase in production and production hours in the welding department. I then pulled out past production plant hours and costs and thought that the costs were still too high. So, I created a simple graph showing the current production volume and labor hours in the welding department and compared it to higher past spikes and in production within the welding department. The chart showed that even in the past 4 months when there were higher spikes in productivity the gas costs were still not as high. My controller understood why I brought this to her attentions, because the gas costs were doubling with a 2 week period, as the gas tanks were exchanged on a weekly basis. Upon further investigation from the Plant Manager, we came to find out that the Welding Supervisor was sending all the tanks back on a weekly basis and not just the ones that were empty. This was stopped immediately, and checks were put into place. In the two weeks the increase occurred, it cost the company $1600."
"After three months of a high waste percentage, I decided to graph the companies past 4 years of waste % versus net income. This graph was telling by providing real historical data into what a true average waste % should be at this plant. I was very new in my role, but a triple wall corrugated plant the average waste % should be around 9%. The current waste percentage was average 12%, and was increasing over a 3 month span. The plant was very seasonal, with regards to production, so I knew my graph could only include 5 years of watermelon bin production (April-August). I showed my information to both the Plant GM and Regional Manager, and what the graph showed was a higher waste percentage during watermelon season, with and average of 10.3%. The current trend, was reflecting something happening operationally within the plant (and it wasn't customer waste or additional waste for using a larger paper size then what the order calls for, as this was backed out of my calculation). The Plant GM, Plant Supervisor, and myself sat down to determine what factors could be driving the increase. On average, a 1% increase to waste accounting for a $15,000 loss to the bottom line. Currently, we were an average of being 2% higher than normal. Without my graph and historical data, they Plant GM and Plant Manager would not have bought into my concern, as I had tried explaining my concerns to them earlier. They dismissed, but did not understand the true numbers. "
If you don't have a professional example to share, a relevant experience from college might work. Regardless of the example you pick, do not exaggerate or over-dramatize for effect. Your interviewer will notice and might decide that you're being less than honest.
"My first job I ever had, I was just hired to handle payroll and had two weeks of training before the person left the company and did not have any backup or anyone to ask for help. The week I was processing payroll, the Accounting Manager, whom was my boss, noticed I was not comfortable with what I was doing and never helped me once, even though I asked everyone for it. It was extremely frustrating and at I thought about leaving, but didn't want to quit something that I had not finished. At the end, I managed to get payroll completed, but could not transmit direct deposit and all 600 employee's received manual checks. Manual checks had to be printed because I did not complete payroll until Thursday late evening and the information for direct deposit had to be sent to the bank by Wednesday at noon. I did not make the cut off, but I successfully completed payroll. There were mistakes made on the paychecks, and employees were very patient me. At the end of the week, my Accounting Manager calls me in and says that I did a nice job. She informs me that she did not offer any help, because she wanted to see how I handled the pressure and situation. She congratulated me, and then gave me a dollar raise and told me to keep up the good work. This is an example where tenacity and perseverance, helped me achieve a successful payroll, but not without much frustration and errors. "
"This is a mistake that I'm honestly surprised that company did not fire me, when I told them about my mistake. I was working as a Plant Controller in a new accounting system that I had inherited, and the valuation of the inventory was misstated and miscalculated on the balance sheet. The inventory should have a valuation with a unit of measure of 1000 per point, it was being valued at 100 per pound. It took me six months to discover this process, and it cost the plant $230,000, which was a hit to the bottom line and off the net income of the plant. The Plant Manager said it was not my fault since I was new, trying to learn the system, it was my first job as a plant controller, and felt the planner who places the order for the roll stock and views the internal and external price transfers, should have been the one to catch the error. I was looking at a report everyday of all the roll stock and value on a daily basis and did not catch it. After error, the Plant Manager and myself came up with a checks and balance system between the Planner and Accounting Department to review a specialized report on a daily basis to ensure this did not happen again. "
This is a subjective question and one that will be asked (maybe in a different way), but this is the strength vs. weakness question. I highly suggest to practice a response to this question, because it's almost a guarantee it will be asked in the interview.
"My answer to this question is going sound perplexing, but it's month-end close. I have only had one job in accounting, and it's my current job. I say this, because at my current job, there is not an organized month-end close checklist, with certain deadlines and it just always causes major issues. For example, if the AR department had a cut off of when to stop processing invoices, or AP had a deadline to stop cutting check which impacts the cash management. Month-end close could take 3 to 7 days. I'm a very organized individual and would like to have a formal and structured month-end close process that is documented with deadlines. I report to the owner and he is not an accountant, so he does the month-end close process when he get to. "
" I have to say that I did have a job where there was an inordinate amount of paperwork that was outside the scope of finance and accounting and involved operations. The company took 9 months to find a Plant Manager and shifted an immense amount of the workload to me. The additional work bogged me down, and prevented me from doing what I do best, which is maintaining the accounting and financials. I was spending more time working in the plant, then review the daily financial metrics. I was spending about 70% of my time learning a new job, and trying to maintain doing my job. It simply is not a realistic business model. "
There are many different ways to answer this question, because every company's procedure will be different for recognizing bad debt. For this question, answer the process at the company you currently work for or one in the past. If you do not have any experience, then discuss how you were taught in school to answer the question (this is just as important).
"In my last job, I only recognized bad debt twice, instead of a percentage of aged sales on a monthly basis. The company I worked for in the 2.5 years only had 2 invoices that were not paid by a customer, and totaled around $12,000. After we were unable to contact the customer, over a 4 month period, the whole invoice was entered as bad debt. "
"I have worked for 3 different companies and they have all recognized bad debt through different processes. As the Controller in my last job, I streamlined the monthly entry and would take 100% of all AR this is greater then 90 days, and accrue 100% of the invoice as bad debt. This does impact the monthly sales commission, but it makes the salesman start contacting the customer to collect as well. "
If a Trial Balance is not in balance, I would first start by figuring the out of balance total, and then dividing the balance by 2, because a very common mistake is posting the debits and credits incorrectly. If the out of balance number is one used in a posting, then make the correction and no further action needs to be taken. If this is not the case, then check for one sided or two sided errors.
"In case a Trial Balance disagrees, I would start by figuring the out of balance total, and then dividing the balance by 2, because a very common mistake is posting the debits and credits incorrectly. If the out of balance number is one used in a posting, then make the correction and no further action needs to be taken. Opening balances of all the accounts are properly brought down in the current year's books of account. Ledger accounts have been properly balanced and the balances of ledger accounts have been correctly shown in the trial balance. To locate some errors the difference in the trial balance in halved. Another way is dividing the difference in the trial balance by 9. If the difference gets divisible without leaving any reminder that indicates the transposition of the amounts. To locate certain other errors, current year trial balance can be compared with the trial balance of the previous year."
"If a Trial Balance is out of balance then I would start by: 1. Check the overall of the trial balance and determine the accurate amount of dissimilarity in the trial balance. The dissimilarity is halved to find out whether there is any balance of the similar amount in the trial balance. It is because, such a balance might have been recorded on the wrong side of the trial balance and hence, the dissimilarity is double the amount. 2.If the second step fails to find the error, the dissimilarity in the trial balance is divided by 9. If it is divisible by 9 without any remainder, the mistake is due to transposition of figures. For example, transposition of figures represents writing of $ 780 for $ 870. 3. See whether the balance of all ledger accounts including cash and bank balances are included in the trial balance. 4. Ensure that all the opening balances have been appropriately brought forward in the current year's books. 5. If the dissimilarity in the trial balance is of big amount, the trial balance of the present year is compared with that of the earlier year and an account showing a big variation over the figure in the previous year's trial balance should be rechecked. 6. If the error is not detected by the above steps, care should be taken to analyze the: totals of all the subsidiary books, posting made from the journal and the subsidiary books to the, relevant ledger accounts, balances extracted from the different ledger accounts totaling of the ledger balances"
After posting all transactions from an accounting period, the trial balance is checked to verify that the total of all accounts with debit balances equals the total of all accounts with credit balances. The trial balance lists every open general ledger account by account number and provides separate debit and credit columns for entering account balances. An accurate Trial Balance means that debits and credits are in balance.
"Trial Balance is a summary of all the balances of various ledger accounts and Cash/Book accounts of an organization at any given date. For the preparation of a Trial Balance the entire Ledger accounts and Cash book/Bank book are required to be balanced to get the closing balance. Assets and Expenses accounts having debit balance are posted on debit side whereas Income and Liability accounts having credit balance are posted on credit side of the Trial Balance. An accurate Trial Balance is an evidence that all the transactions are recorded and posted in the General Ledger account as per the accounting principles. It also ensures arithmetical accuracy of the process of ledger posting."
"Before the financials statements can be prepared, the Trial Balance must be verified and in balance. The amounts in the debit accounts equal the amounts in the credit accounts. This is done by preparing a trial balance. A Trial Balance lists all of the accounts, including assets, liabilities, revenue, expenses and equity or ownership accounts. The current balance for each account is entered into the corresponding debit or credit column. Each column is then totaled; if the two columns do not have equal amounts, something was entered incorrectly."
Simply list the ERP systems and any financial tools you have used. A list of common Financial ERP systems are: QuickBooks, Quicken, Peachtree, SAP, Infor, Visual, Xero, Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, Oracle JD Edwards, Epicor, Yardi, etc. Don't forget to mention your Excel skills, Google Spreadsheets, and being familiar with CSV files and uploading into different systems.
"I have just graduated from college and my system and software experience includes exposure to QuickBooks and a solid user in Excel. For school projects, we would use QuickBooks Pro in simulations and school projects. This allowed me to become familiar with the software in: creating a payment, generating an invoice, and creating a chart of accounts and all the 3 financial statements. I also, have created the COA and financial statements in Excel. "
"My past SAP ERP implementation experience, has left me the technical ability to learn accounting systems very quickly. Since SAP is considered a robust and not user-friendly system, this has allowed me to adapt my technical skills in any new system, quicker then most individuals. My past two jobs, I was hand selected my management to lead system implementations. I an also create simple to complex accounting and finance tools in Excel; meaning creating very user-friendly Excel templates that can be used 5 years from now. For example, a common month-end report is the 12-month budget vs. actual report and this is a template. I created this template, knowing it will be a recurring report. The template was populated by downloading financial information from the company's ERP system which is updated on a monthly basis. The time-consuming part, is creating the spreadsheet and the tool. The key to creating functional excel reports is to help the company create a tool. The information becomes empowering and the company is able to be proactive instead of reactive. "
This question can be asked in several different ways, but is still a very good interview question. The answer will always vary, but some topic to elaborate on could be: a successful implementation or launch, building an Excel spreadsheet that is used as a tool by others, etc. Once you have stated what motivates and excites you, then follow up with a brief example.
"Being around an environment that encourages and fosters learning. For example, my current employer gave me my first job about a year ago, I'm very grateful. My title is Accountant, but I mostly do clerical and receptionist work. The time I do spend working with the Controller, any question I ask, she always replies,'I will have to circle back to you, because I do not have time.' I feel very capable of handling what changes are put in front of me, but asking clarification or why, is something I expect an back. I am currently not in a work environment that offers me this opportunity. "
"As an Accountant III and 10 years of experience, I have worked in all the GL areas: payroll, AP, AR, inventory and purchasing. What has been most exciting to me, has been trying all the different departments and work areas within the Accounting Department. It's been very challenging and hard a times. My prior company had 17 people in the Accounting Department, and we were all cross trained. Many times, my role and position changed without notice, due to someone leaving for various reasons. I welcomed the changed, because it was something new I was about to learn. "
Explain your experience month-end experience and elaborate on all responsibilities. Especially if there is a complex journal entry that made. The point of this question is to ensure that your responsibility is not just typing in the debit and credit into the system. That you have additional responsibilities and understand the GL impact. Some company's do not have month-end close and due quarterly or just end of they year true up's by a CPA firm. If this is the case, then explain your role in preparing and maintaining as many accounts and reconciliations. If you are just out of school and new in the field, then use an example from a class or project.
"I'm new in the accounting field, and have spent one year working as a General Accountant and this included reconciling bank statements, invoicing the customer, and paying vendors. I did not have any direct month-end duties, besides reconciling of the cash accounts, via the bank statements. "
"As a Senior Accountant, I have spent the past two years as a General Ledger Accountant, where I am responsible for a posting 50% of all monthly journal entries for a specific profit center. One of the more difficult JE's is the payroll entry. This includes the actual and accrued payroll entry. Since, the payroll system is not linked to the company's current ERP system, it's done and generated in a separate system. Each entry is about 54 line items and it can not be downloaded and then uploaded into the GL, due to system limitations, so it's all manually entered. It's very time consuming and most importantly, need to ensure the accrued payroll entry is correct based on the number of payroll working days left in the month. Because if this entry is off, then the following month's entry will be imbalanced. "
For this question the interviewer is looking for the interviewee to be familiar with DSO or Days Outstanding? If you do not know what the acronym stands for then do not be afraid to ask the interviewee. DSO or Days Outstanding and is a measure of the average number of days that it takes a company to collect payment after a sale has been made. This is a very important metric in Accounts Receivable. DSO = Total Accounts Receivable/Total Sales x Number of Days.
"DSO is often determined on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis, and can be calculated by dividing the amount of accounts receivable during a given period by the total value of credit sales during the same period, and multiplying the result by the number of days in the period measured. This is a metric to allow companies to gauge how fast cash flow will be coming in. "
" Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) is a widely used method to help evaluate how effective a company is at collecting receivables. This metric is used to measure the average number of days it takes a company to collect what is owed to them after a sale has been completed. Put in fewer words, it is the average collection period. DSO has always been an emphasis for all companies I have worked and is calculated by There is much to know about measuring and interpreting DSO; 1. A low DSO indicates the company is collecting receivables quickly and generally a positive sign. 2. A high DSO proves that a company takes longer to collect on credit sales and can indicate current or impending cash flow problems, operational issues, or a lack of effort or focus on credit collections. A healthy DSO is one that is half the payment terms. For example, is payment terms are net 30 and the DSO is 45 day, then this considered good. "
Almost everybody forgets small details sometimes - except accountants, who can't afford to. What do you do to make sure you don't forget or unintentionally alter important numbers? If you happen to be a savant who doesn't need any special method, be sure to explain this so that your interviewer knows you are not simply trying to make yourself look good.
Accounting professionals handle all the financial dealings of the company they are working with. Their specific duties may vary depending on the size of the company as well as the industry they are working in. Generally, accounting professionals analyze accounting data, prepare asset and liability reports, document financial transactions, audit documents and recommend financial actions when necessary.
A bachelor's degree in finance, economics, accounting or related fields may be sufficient to get hired by a smaller organization. Larger corporates will only hire applicants with a master's degree in the above fields along with substantial experience. The best way to get the necessary experience is by doing an internship with an experienced accountant. This will help you learn all the duties and responsibilities of the role and also boost your chances of employment.
Most of the questions asked at your interview will be aimed at evaluating your competency and skills in accounting. The interviewer will ask you several questions to gauge your knowledge and skills and also to determine your career goals. How you answer the question about your career goals will speak volumes about how long you are likely to stay on in the job. Most employers are looking for long term employees so you need to be careful how you answer this and all other questions. A look through mock interview questions can prove to be very helpful.