MockQuestions

Finance Manager Interview Questions

To help you prepare for your Finance Manager interview, here are 25 interview questions and answer examples.

Finance Manager was written by and published on January 1st, 2021. Learn more here.

Question 1 of 25

Have you ever had to explain complex accounting concepts to non-finance leaders? How did you go about that task?

How to Answer

This is a question to gain insight into your communication skills. Finance Managers and other financial leaders will often need to present to other leaders and colleagues who may not have strong financial backgrounds. Give a specific example of a time when you were able to communicate with other non-finance functions..

Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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25 Finance Manager Interview Questions & Answers

  • Behavioral

    1. Have you ever had to explain complex accounting concepts to non-finance leaders? How did you go about that task?

      How to Answer

      This is a question to gain insight into your communication skills. Finance Managers and other financial leaders will often need to present to other leaders and colleagues who may not have strong financial backgrounds. Give a specific example of a time when you were able to communicate with other non-finance functions..

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "When I was Finance Manager at ABC Retailers, we noticed that bad debt expense was higher than normal. After analyzing the situation, we determined that our sales teams would need to change their product selection in order to return bad debt expense to an acceptable level. In order to do this effectively, I first needed to explain what we were seeing on the financial reporting side and the impact to the financial statements. I created a deck that laid out some concepts like accrual accounting and the components of how bad debt expense was measured. These were concepts I knew the audience would not be familiar with. Then I also gave examples of what steps could be taken from the sales side and the impact it would have financially. This process helped the sales team understand the importance of getting bad debt under control."

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

  • Behavioral

    2. Where do you see yourself in five years?

      How to Answer

      DO highlight that you want to continue growing professionally and help the company grow. DO NOT say you want the interviewer's role. The interviewer is probing to see that you aren't using this role as a quick stop before moving on to another organization.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "If I am fortunate enough to be hired for this role, my goal in the near term is to get up to speed on my responsibilities and learn as much as possible about the organization and my team. For my first year, I want to be a sponge and soak in as much as I can. From there, as long as I feel empowered to drive growth for the company and continue learning and growing professionally, I think I would be very fulfilled."

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

      Community Answer

      "I believe in working hard in my role so that I can understand areas that can be improved upon. I also want to understand ins and outs of the organization that would help me to look for opportunities to improve the finance department to be as efficient as possible. I believe in the next five years, I will be an expert in my role and able to extend my expertise to other departments."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      You have taken a great approach to this question by assuring the interviewer that you expect to be in the role you are interviewing for the long-term and anticipate growing professionally in that time to the benefit of the company. Great job! If possible, discuss some of the smaller goals you would set for yourself over 5 years to realize that career growth.

  • Behavioral

    3. How do you keep up with the latest developments in accounting and financial reporting practices?

      How to Answer

      This question is to see if you take the initiative to stay current on the latest accounting developments. If you are a CPA, talk about how you use mandatory continuing education requirements to stay up to date on the latest trends and regulations. Also, subscribing to e-letters and joining trade groups are other great ways to keep current on relevant developments.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

      1st Answer Example

      "I stay up to date in various ways. First, as a CPA I am required to obtain 80 hours of continuing education every two years. I use this to my advantage by taking courses that are most relevant to my organization's industry and my job responsibilities. Additionally, I like to absorb information in other ways such as reading newsletters and participating in industry groups. I am always looking for ways to expand my knowledge."

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

      Community Answer

      "I am a member of the accountants' body in my Country, and I read about business news so that I can stay updated. I am also planning to further my studies in accounting."

      Written by an Anonymous User

      Chad Wilson

      Our Professional Interview Coach
      Chad Wilson Reviewed the Above Answer

      Good! It is important to stay current on the latest accounting developments, and it sounds like you are committed to learning and remaining up-to-date. However, I suggest being more specific to strengthen your response. For instance, you may want to let the interviewer know your preferred source of business news or discuss where you plan to study accounting.

  • Behavioral

    4. Identify a time when you made a mistake and the actions you took to correct it.

      How to Answer

      Everyone makes mistakes, so don't be tempted to say you don't! This is a good opportunity to show that you don't let a bad situation become worse. It is an opportunity to speak to your honor and integrity.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Behavioral

    5. What are some methods you use to motivate your team?

      How to Answer

      The job of a finance professional can be stressful. As a leader, you will be expected to not only manage your employees but also help motivate them to complete difficult assignments and 'stay sane' during the more hectic times.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Behavioral

    6. How do you mitigate and manage stress?

      How to Answer

      The Finance Manager position is stressful as it is visible to leadership and is constrained by tight deadlines. The role is responsible not only for their team but also for presenting their work to leadership and other departments. Stress is inherent, and this question helps assess how you would manage the stress.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Behavioral

    7. What skills or qualities do you believe a good leader should possess?

      How to Answer

      Highlight that a good leader should have the ability to train their employees (patience/educator), trust/inspire their employees (trustful/not a micromanager/motivational), and be able to anticipate and react to changes (analytical/curious/flexible/nimble).

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Behavioral

    8. What skills or qualities do you believe a good Finance Manager should possess?

      How to Answer

      Highlight that an Finance Manager should have good technical skills (in other words, they have the knowledge to do the job), an analytical mind (curious/inquisitive) and will be thorough when it comes to reviewing statements/catching errors (detail oriented/meticulous).

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Behavioral

    9. What is your experience with presenting to senior executives?

      How to Answer

      A Finance Manager is expected to not only prepare monthly financial reporting packages, but also be able to present their work to leadership. Highlight that you not only have experience presenting in front of leadership, but also that you are comfortable doing it. Be specific with what you presented. For example, monthly results, pitches for new initiatives, etc.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Behavioral

    10. Describe how previous experience has prepared you for the Finance Manager role.

      How to Answer

      Use this opportunity to expand on your experience as it specifically relates to the Finance Manager role. Some key areas to highlight, if applicable, include: performing 'nuts and bolts' accounting functions in early roles (journal entries, balance sheet recs, etc), managing staff, and involvement in the budgeting and forecasting process.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Behavioral

    11. Why do you want to work for XYZ Corporation?

      How to Answer

      This question is an opportunity to show that you did your research. Speak about why the company itself is attractive. Tie in how the company is a great place to utilize your skills and experience.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Behavioral

    12. How would your management style change if your employees and team members worked remotely full time or part time?

      How to Answer

      Many professionals are working remotely in the wake of the pandemic. Even as things return to normal, a partial or full remote work environment may be common in the future. Speak to changes to your management style that you have implemented in previous roles.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Technical

    13. What experience do you have with analyzing business metrics?

      How to Answer

      Business metrics are key performance indicators that can be used to measure the financial health of the company. A Finance Manager should be able to calculate relevant metrics and compare vs benchmarks. For example, Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) measures the health of Accounts Receivable. If the days outstanding get too high, there is an issue with collecting receivables which could present a cash flow problem.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Technical

    14. What is the role of a Finance Manager as you understand it?

      How to Answer

      You may want to touch on most of the following key Finance Manager responsibilities: prepare monthly financial reports with analysis of variances; manage the annual budget and long range plan process; mange reforecasting throughout the year; plan and analyze free cash flow; liaison with other departments such as accounting, tax and treasury

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Technical

    15. What is free cash flow and what does it tell about a company's finances?

      How to Answer

      Free Cash Flow (FCF) is the cash a company generates from operations less expenditures for capital expenditures and other assets. FCF is a measure of profitability, and it tells investors how much cash is available for a company to repay creditors or pay dividends. At many organizations, a Finance Manager may be required to forecast and report on free cash flow. Even if not, it's still important for the candidate to know what free cash flow is.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Technical

    16. Do you have experience handling massive amounts of data? Give an example of how you used data to solve a problem?

      How to Answer

      Due to the advancement of technology, Finance Managers and other finance professionals have the ability to take massive amounts of data and analyze it . Give a specific example of a time when you used data to answer a question or solve a problem.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Technical

    17. Have you ever been involved in accounting and financial reporting software implementations?

      How to Answer

      It is common for companies to change or upgrade their software every few years. A Finance Manager is heavily involved with all stages of the implementation. The implementation of these updates typically involves meetings with all stakeholders and user acceptance testing (UAT) to ensure proper implementation

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Technical

    18. What is your approach to budgeting, forecasting and other forward-looking projections?

      How to Answer

      Budgeting and forecasting are core responsibilities of the Finance Manager position. Forward looking projections are part art and part science, so this question is being asked to learn about your thought process when there is some gray area.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Technical

    19. What are some benchmarks that you compare actual results to when completing monthly analysis?

      How to Answer

      When analyzing actual results, a Finance Manager should compare to benchmarks. Most commonly, comparisons will be to last year actuals, budget and prior forecast. Actual vs forecast should theoretically have the lowest variances, as it was built off the most recent information. Actuals vs last year may have some 'noise' - variances from big items that occurred last year but not in current year, or vice versa. The current year budget may or may not have accounted for this 'noise'.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Technical

    20. Do you have experience using data visualization software?

      How to Answer

      Data visualization software, such as Tableau, has been implemented at various companies in recent years. Depending on the role you are interviewing for, knowledge of data visualization software may either be a requirement or a 'plus'. Speak to what functions you can perform with the software.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Technical

    21. Give an example of a time when you took a manual process and made it automated.

      How to Answer

      Innovative companies are always looking for ways to improve their processes. Many times, financial processes have been carried over from previous years and could use a refresh. Give a specific example of a time when you took a clunky process and made it more efficient.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Technical

    22. What ERP systems have you used?

      How to Answer

      ERP systems are robust software systems that combine accounting and reporting with other functionality such as inventory management, payroll, etc. Popular systems include SAP, Hyperion and Oracle. Being able to effectively use these systems are a must for a Finance Manager and their team.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Technical

    23. What is the difference between cash flow as presented on the Statement of Cash Flows and Free Cash Flow?

      How to Answer

      This is a technical question that tests whether you know the difference between two common measures of cash flow. The main difference is Free Cash Flow excludes cash from financing activities (loan proceeds, dividends paid) while the Statement of Cash Flows includes those inflows and outflows.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Technical

    24. What tools do you use to perform the duties of a Finance Manager?

      How to Answer

      A Finance Manager will need several tools in order to perform the duties of their role. First, they need to be able to access accounting data. To this end, they will need access to accounting systems (such as SAP). Additionally, many large companies use reporting software, such as BPC, to run automated financial reports. Lastly, data visualization software is becoming more utilized across many companies (Tableau, for example).

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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  • Technical

    25. How have you managed the annual budget process in previous roles?

      How to Answer

      At most companies with December 31st year-ends, the budget process can kick off as early as summer and normally wraps up in December or January. Describe important parts of the process, such as where targets are obtained from, the budget build, and review process. It may be good dialogue to then ask the interviewer how the company's process differs from the one you described.

      Written by Brian Schuchart on January 1st, 2021

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