MockQuestions

Accounts Receivable Specialist Mock Interview

To help you prepare for your Accounts Receivable Specialist interview, here are 30 interview questions and answer examples.

Accounts Receivable Specialist was written by and updated on January 7th, 2019. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 30

Name for me the most important functions of an A/R department.

How to Answer

The accounts receivable department is critical, for any company. The responsibilities of the department may include:

- Customer credit limit applications/approvals
- Establishing payment terms with new customers
- Overviews of customer credit history
- Sending customer invoices and follow up on them
- Updating customer data in master files
- Follow up on late payments
- Communicating payment issues and flagging unstable accounts
- Creating invoices
- Receiving payments and applying them to the correct accounts

Show the interviewer that you take pride in your job, as an A/R Specialist. Discuss why you believe your role.

Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

Next Question

List of 30 Accounts Receivable Specialist Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1.

    Name for me the most important functions of an A/R department.

      How to Answer

      The accounts receivable department is critical, for any company. The responsibilities of the department may include:

      - Customer credit limit applications/approvals
      - Establishing payment terms with new customers
      - Overviews of customer credit history
      - Sending customer invoices and follow up on them
      - Updating customer data in master files
      - Follow up on late payments
      - Communicating payment issues and flagging unstable accounts
      - Creating invoices
      - Receiving payments and applying them to the correct accounts

      Show the interviewer that you take pride in your job, as an A/R Specialist. Discuss why you believe your role.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

      1st Answer Example

      "A/R performance has a significant effect on a company's cash flow, so it's crucial that business employes talented A/R people who are organized, detailed, and unafraid to pick up the phone and collect payment. An excellent accounts receivable department will track customer payments, send invoices promptly, keep updated master records, follow up on overdue accounts, and take action when customers are non-responsive."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I believe that an accounts receivable department has a major role in any company. The responsibilities of the department are the approval of a customers' credit limit by studying the history of the customer. The department sends invoices promptly, updates customer statements and make sure to follow up with the customers' payment commitments. An A/R department can have a huge impact on a business' cash flow situation by ensuring few payments are left outstanding."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

      Experience

      "The Accounts Receivable Departments main responsibilities are:
      1. Ensuring the credit worthiness of a company to pay its debt and establishing payment terms.
      2. Creating invoices
      3. Follow up with customers for payment.
      4. Receiving the cash and reconciling the AR and cash account."

      Written by Bobbi Witt

  • 2.

    Do you have any plans for continued education?

      How to Answer

      Some A/R roles do not require post-secondary education, while others need an Associate's Degree or even a Bachelor's Degree. The interviewer would like to know if you are planning to complete some higher education. If you are, it is essential that you express your desire to work in tandem with your classes. The concern of the interviewer is that you will be hired, trained, and then want to leave your job to go back to school full time.

      Some organizations will offer tuition support or a reimbursement program for their employees who wish to continue their education. If they do provide this type of perk, you can indeed show interest but make sure that your continued education aspirations are related to the industry and job. If you are working as an accounts receivable professional, you want to avoid saying that you would like to take courses in zoology.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

      1st Answer Example

      "I believe that continued education is always a good idea. I like to expand my knowledge when possible. With that said, my job would always come first. I understand that you have a tuition reimbursement program for your employees seeking related coursework. I would be interested in learning more about this down the road."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "I like the idea of taking some coursework in Excel and Powerpoint; however, I have no plans to exit the workforce to gain another degree for instance. If other industry related opportunities present themselves, I would be interested."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

  • 3.

    In your opinion, what makes you a great problem solver?

      How to Answer

      Employers want to know that you have a systematic approach to problem-solving. Consider the skills and qualities that help you successfully face problems. Perhaps you have a keen eye for detail. Maybe you can see opportunity when others can only focus on the issue. Share your strengths as a problem solver, and your ability to come up with innovative solutions.

      Strong problem solvers are:

      - Systematic thinkers
      - Open minded
      - Okay with being wrong sometimes
      - Always researching and exploring
      - Able to identify the core problem
      - Able to reverse engineer a challenge to avoid future issues
      - Ready to come up with multiple avenues that work well for all stakeholders
      - Are do-ers and not worriers

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

      1st Answer Example

      "I am a great problem solver because I can compartmentalize all aspects of a problem before studying it. I also like to bring more experienced team members in to add to the solution. I will never try to be a hero and solve a complicated problem without tapping into the resources around me."

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

      Entry Level

      "What makes me a great problem solver is that I have a keen ability to research, read, and explore so that my recommendations are based on fact and study rather than guesses."

      Written by Rachelle Enns

  • 4.

    Have you ever worked in a cross-functional environment?

      How to Answer

      If you work for a larger company, you may have been asked to work on a project with teams from another department. Your ability to work with cross-functional teams will be a significant asset to your potential employer, especially if they are a larger organization. Maybe you headed a collections project which required you to collaborate with the members of the accounting and sales teams. Share any challenges that came up and what you learned from the experience.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 5.

    What is your current A/R Specialist salary?

      How to Answer

      It is important to note that this question may be illegal, depending on your geographical location. If you are in a place where it is unlawful for a hiring authority or recruiter to ask this question, you can politely decline by saying, 'I am aware that this question breaches my rights as a candidate in the state of XYZ.'

      A potential employer will often want to base their offer on your current salary. Whenever possible, you should be transparent about your most recent earnings and be prepared to back up any salary requests in states or provinces where it is entirely legal to ask about compensation. Keep your answer simple, and to the point. It is indeed okay to ask the interviewer what they are offering in return!

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 6.

    Have you ever broken company rules, or payment terms, to make a customer happy?

      How to Answer

      Breaking the rules, and bending them, CAN be different from each other. Often, organizations are okay with you bending the rules to keep a customer happy. You need to know your audience, though! If the company is very stringent when it comes to their policies and procedures, then approach this question with caution. If the organization is well known for being flexible, then you can indeed be more free with your answer.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 7.

    As an A/R Specialist, you will be customer facing. Have you received any formal customer service training?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know about any formal training you have received, related to customer service. This training could include a robust onboarding plan, on-the-job training, courses taken, or even books that you have read in your spare time. Show the interviewer that you have an interest in bettering your customer service delivery. This question is a great time to ask the interviewer about their company-specific customer service training and manuals.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 8.

    Explain to me the term DSO or, Days Outstanding.

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is looking for your level of familiarity with the term DSO or Days Outstanding. 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 is made. This metric is a significant one in accounts receivable. DSO = Total Accounts Receivable/Total Sales x Number of Days.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 9.

    How much time needs to pass for an A/R account to be considered delinquent?

      How to Answer

      This question is a very straightforward one, as the industry standard is usually 90 days. This question is testing your very basic A/R knowledge. Feel free to expand on your response, showing that you are aware of different credit terms for various clients.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 10.

    Give me an example of when a credit memo would be issued.

      How to Answer

      Think of a credit memo as store credit! Businesses who have an unsatisfied customer, perhaps from a defective product or an error in delivery or an invoicing mistake, will often issue a credit memo. As an A/R specialist, you may not be able to adjust the original invoice, especially after delivery or if the invoice is past 30 days. Show the interviewer that you have worked with credit memos in the past. If you are new to your A/R career, show that you understand the purpose of a credit memo.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 11.

    Do you have experience setting up auto-invoicing for customer accounts?

      How to Answer

      The hiring authority is seeking further clues on your technical competency. It's one thing to use invoice templates as an A/R professional, but another skill to be able to customize these invoices and set up auto-invoices in a company's accounting software. Simply put, do you know how to set up recurring payments? Most accounting software allows businesses to set up automatic invoices or recurring invoices. Be ready to explain your proficiency in these systems.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 12.

    After receiving a customers' payment, what do you do next?

      How to Answer

      This question is a very straightforward one that you can answer by drawing on your experience or academic knowledge. Because it is an open-ended question, it is easy to get stuck on your response. Think of the processes that you follow every day, and walk the interviewer through those steps.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 13.

    What are the most common issues related to Accounts Receivable?

      How to Answer

      The issues which you most often come across in your role as an A/R specialist will show the interviewer the level of responsibility that you currently take on in your position. What you deal with will say a lot about the tasks required of you on a daily basis.

      Some examples may include:

      - Your customers cannot pay their invoice on time
      - You are responsible for collection calls or setting up customer payment plans
      - You are fixing inaccurate invoices with old customer information
      - Customers are short paying accounts

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 14.

    What is an Accounts Receivable Aging Report, and why do they matter?

      How to Answer

      An aging report is a critical tool used by collections personnel to determine which invoices are overdue for payment, and by how long. Most aging reports will also have the clients' contact information. As an A/R professional, your work performance may be graded based on these reports, so it's important to understand what these reports are and why they matter. Most aging statements address invoices in 30-day sections so that you can run a report based on 30 days, 31-60 days old, 61-90 days past, and so on. Briefly explain to the interviewer what you understand an A/R Aging Report to be, and why they matter to you as an accounts receivable specialist.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 15.

    Have you encountered Factoring in your professional experience?

      How to Answer

      If you are unaware, Factoring is when one company will purchase another company's accounts receivables. This purchase gives a company immediate cash flow to work with, to pay for business needs such as payroll or new equipment. Factoring will generally occur when one company is in financial trouble due to too many outstanding receivables. This situation is never one that a company would desire. Discuss your exposure to factoring, and how you dealt with the process.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 16.

    Walk me through your accounts receivable experience.

      How to Answer

      Bring your resume to life, walking the interviewer through a brief history of your accounts receivable experience. This question is open-ended, and it can be easy to give a long-winded answer. Remain focused by discussing your past job titles, how long you were employed there, and the volume of work you handled. You could also explain the type of customers you were typically working with, or what your most significant achievement was in each role. Mention one thing that you enjoyed about each job. This question offers an excellent opportunity to show the interviewer your passion for accounts receivable.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 17.

    What is a Customer Master Record?

      How to Answer

      The hiring authority would like to see how well you understand basic accounting terminology. Briefly describe the purpose of a Customer Master Record, and what type of information should be stored in the CMR. Also, discuss why an accurate Customer Master Record is essential for a business to keep.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 18.

    What information is contained in the Accounts Receivable sub-ledger?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is looking for your basic A/R knowledge as well as your ability to explain a straightforward concept in an easy to understand way. Walk the hiring authority through the information that an A/R sub-ledger would contain. Briefly describe the purpose of an A/R ledger, and why they are essential in accounting.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 19.

    If a customer is also a vendor and not paying their invoice, do you think it is good practice to pay them with the open A/R dollar amount?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is looking to see how you troubleshoot, and where you stand when it comes to handling cross-over accounts that are in arrears. It's not a common practice to do this, and one that most Controllers dislike. Most schools will agree when you are taking your A/R training, that this is not the best practice; however, a business must do what they have to, to receive payment. Discuss your thoughts on this practice.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 20.

    How do you reconcile customer payments from credit card, ACH or wire, to cash or check, in the A/R system?

      How to Answer

      Your response may vary based on your level of experience, but the main points are:

      1. Recognize customer payment. Once payment is received, then it will need to be applied to the customer account in the system. This means that accounts receivable is debited (decreased) and cash will be credited (increased).

      2. Reconcile the payment type. Depending on how the customer payment was received, it will need to be reconciled. For example, if the payment was an ACH, then it's essential to double check the bank entry matches the system entry, and this includes any banking fees.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 21.

    When you see a large account starting to age, and they are a very good customer, what do you do?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is looking for an answer that displays the fact you are detailed oriented, willing to take the initiative and are proactive. As an A/R professional, healthy client relationships can be the difference between a client who pays late and a client who respects your payment terms. Show the interviewer that you understand the balance between great client relationships and timely payment collections.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 22.

    When a customer is unable to pay, what are steps that you have taken to retrieve the money?

      How to Answer

      As an accounts receivable specialist, you will come across situations where you need to get creative with clients, to collect payments. Some common steps are:

      1. Communicate the aged invoice/invoices to your direct report
      2. Follow up with the client by phone, regularly
      3. Send reminder letters and emails
      4. Escalate your calls to the department head
      5. Legal action/outside collection firms are an option once all avenues have been exhausted

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 23.

    Have you ever worked for a company that accepted cryptocurrency as a form of payment?

      How to Answer

      Since cryptocurrency is still not mainstream, there is a high likelihood that your response to this question will be 'no.' The point of the interviewer asking this question is to find out if you have taken the time to research and learn about crypto payments.

      Briefly discuss what you know about cryptocurrency and be sure to express interest in learning more. An excellent question for the interviewer in return is if the interviewing company currently accepts any form of cryptocurrency. If they do not, perhaps it's in the works!

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 24.

    Do you think cash should be accepted as a form of payment?

      How to Answer

      There are some industries where cash payments are not accepted and other sectors, such as retail and food where cash payments are welcome. Your response is going to depend on the company and the industry with which you are interviewing. Either way, try to respond in a way that does not single out a particular payment type.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 25.

    Have you ever been in a situation where you had to bargain on an overdue invoice?

      How to Answer

      Negotiating is a common task for A/R Specialists, and the interviewer is trying to learn what amount of experience you have. Begin by telling the interviewer if you have negotiated payment terms or an invoice in general, with a customer. Discuss what types of deals you have settled as well as how often you have conducted negotiations.

      Next, mention what you liked about the negotiation process, and finish up by discussing one specific example of a negotiation which worked out well for you. If you do not have experience in negotiations, that is okay too. You could mention that you are open to training when it comes to collections, or discuss any sales training you may have.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 26.

    How do you handle an insufficient funds notice after trying to process a customer payment?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to know how you handle uncomfortable customer situations. Show the interviewer that, despite the position you're in being awkward, you can stay calm, cool and respectful while following company procedures. Keep in mind that most customers have great intentions, and odds are, they just made a mistake.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 27.

    When have you had to be extra thorough in completing tasks?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer would like to know that you are willing to go the extra mile when it's required. Some accounts receivable tasks will require a keener eye and additional diligence. Discuss a time when you were extra thorough during work-related tasks.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 28.

    How do you manage your time in Accounts Receivable?

      How to Answer

      With this behavioral based interview question, the hiring authority wants to hear that you are working wisely and not wasting much time during the day. Think about the ways that you control your time during the day. Perhaps you have a to-do list or plan your day using a particular app or software program. Whatever your method, ensure the interviewer that you are mindful of your time. Show that you deliver quickly on your work while maintaining exceptional quality and accuracy.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 29.

    Why is excellent A/R execution important for a business?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer is testing your business understanding of the A/R function. There are a few reasons why organized and accurate accounts receivable execution is essential.

      1. Integrity and ethics associated with maintaining exceptional business records
      2. Ensuring customers are paying their bills means your business is receiving income
      3. Every business needs accurate records to know where the company is at financially
      4. Enables easier reporting when the A/R function is exceptional

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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  • 30.

    Have you ever had to prepare a bill or invoice for services rendered? If so what should be included?

      How to Answer

      The interviewer wants to hear proof that you understand the basics of accounting. The information you need to include on an invoice varies depending on the specific services you perform, but most invoices should consist of:

      - Company contact information
      - Company logo
      - Customer purchase order number (also known as a PO)
      - Number of service hours, or price per item
      - Dates
      - Client contact information
      - Total amount due
      - Item descriptions
      - Freight, for physical products
      - Payment terms
      - Payment due date

      Express to the interviewer that you understand the work that goes into invoicing. Also, if you have ever made invoice templates before, you can mention this experience.

      Written by Rachelle Enns on January 7th, 2019

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