28 Questions and Answers Written by Professional Interviewers
Question 1 of 28
If I gave you a ten key pad, and a list of numbers, could you enter them in without looking at the key pad?
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Be candid with the interviewer sharing if you would be able to accomplish this task. Your candid response will help the interviewer understand what training will be necessary if you are selected for the position as well as what workload you can be expected to complete during a given week. If you have extensive ten key experience, share it! Explain how long you have been using it as well as how often you were using it each day.
The interviewer is trying to gain a better understanding of your background to determine the best training you can be provided if you are hired for the position. Go ahead and list the accounting software packages you have utilized, and describe some of the typical day-to-day functions you were utilizing the software for.
What kinds of management reports have you prepared?
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The interviewer is trying to determine if you have experience working with and preparing data for senior staff members. Begin by sharing if you have experience preparing reports for any staff members mentioning their job titles and the reports that you typically prepared for them. Then, mention how often you have been preparing these reports as well as the purpose of each report. Will it be used for a large presentation or a Board meeting?
The interviewer wants to hear that your past employer will describe you in a positive manner. Think about the positive things your former employer has said about you in the past. Instead of listing these things, tell the interviewer what each person has told you. For example, you might say, "John has told me that I am a hard worker, and he has told me that he really likes how I am always happy to be at work!" These concrete examples will be sure to impress the interviewer!
"John has told me that I am a hard worker, and he has told me that he really likes how I am always happy to be at work!"
Interviewers want to hear that you will be actively involved in the accounting department! Tell the interviewer that you see yourself actively engaged in the organization as a professional member of the accounting team in five years. Explain how you hope you have grown professionally in the department and are viewed as a top-notch leader for the team. If you have aspirations to be promoted within the department, now is a great time to share them mentioning that you understand it will take several years to accomplish this goal.
6. What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it? Pick one of your weaknesses that is not a necessity for the role. Be candid and humble in your answer recognizing that you really aren't great at something and acknowledging your need to improve. Be sure you have an action plan in place for improving on this weakness too. Perhaps you are watching speakers talk about the weakness, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community center in the near future. We are all human and all have weaknesses, so don't be afraid to share yours! Here is an answer example: 7. What work objectives did you set for this year and what steps have you taken to ensure you will achieve them? Interviewers love hearing that you have goals that you are actively working towards. Think through the goals you have personally set for yourself or projects that you are hoping to complete. Perhaps these goals will be department-wide instead of personal. That is okay too! Go ahead and share 2-3 goals that you have for yourself this year. Describe your intended deadline, and explain where you are at in the current process. Be sure to explain what measures you have put in place to keep yourself on track with achieving each goal. Here is an answer example: 8. Are you willing to work overtime, nights, weekends? Be candid and open with the interviewer expressing what type of availability you have. Be sure to factor in your family's activities, and understand that you may be disqualified from consideration if you are unavailable to work weekends and it is a requirement of the position. It is better to make this determination during the interview process rather than after starting in the position. Here is an answer example: 9. What motivates you to perform your best? The interviewer is trying to learn how you can be encouraged to perform at your best in the workplace. What works best for you? Does having a role model in the department keep you motivated? Are you goal driven? Does working independently keep you motivated? Or, do you prefer working on projects as a team? Simply share what keeps you moving forward with your work each day. Here is an answer example: 10. Give me examples of the accounting reports you have prepared. Start off by listing a handful of reports that you have prepared including a high-level overview of what data can be found in the reports. Expand on this by telling the interviewer how you can manipulate data within your accounting system to generate any reports you are looking for, and mention that you can create reports in many formats including Word, Excel, and Adobe formats. Here is an answer example: 11. What do you know about our company? With any job interview, it is crucial to understand the organization you are applying to. We recommend visiting the company website to learn key information such as current seasonal promotions and ongoing events. Watch the videos on their website, and take note of the information on their Careers page if one is available. Come prepared to list 5-6 things you learned from the company's website such as number of locations they have, when the company started, who started the company, mission statement, vision statement, core values, etc... Here is an answer example: 12. Tell me about a suggestion or successful contribution you have made in your past job or in college? Employers are looking for team members who will be actively involved in the department. How have you been actively involved? Have you initiated a positive change within the department or on a college project? Have you thought of a process improvement that was implemented? Or, have you completed a major project for the team? Go ahead and share how you have contributed while being actively engaged either in the workplace or in college. Here is an answer example: 13. Do you work well under pressure? Absolutely! The interviewer needs to hear that you can handle a little pressure. Simply tell the interviewer that you are accustomed to meeting deadlines, having a busy workload, and working under pressure. Be sure to mention that you never let pressure get the best of you, and you know how to delegate work to the right people to help you manage your workload when necessary and applicable. Here is an answer example: 14. Why have you chosen a career in accounting? How did you land in the accounting field? Have you always enjoyed working with numbers? Did you take a high school or college accounting course that made you interested in the field? Or, did you have a mentor who encouraged you to pursue the field? Go ahead and share your story describing what led you to pursue a career in the accounting field. Here is an answer example: 15. Give us an example of how you have used your creativity to solve a problem on the job. Interviewers love hearing that you take the initiative to solve a problem! Think about the problems you have solved within the past year. Which one required the most creative solution or the most creative problem-solving approach? Did you have to utilize new resources? Did you have to reach out to other accountants for possible solutions? Did your problem require you to put together a committee to come to a resolution? The key is that you took the initiative to figure out how to solve the problem and had a positive attitude while doing so! Go ahead and share your unique scenario describing the problem you had to solve, how you approached solving the problem, your resolution, and your positive outcome. Here is an answer example: 16. What cost-cutting measures have you been responsible for implementing? The interviewer wants to hear that you are capable of leading department initiatives. Openly share the largest, and most impressive, cost-cutting measure you have been in charge of by sharing who identified the initiative, how you were selected to lead the implementation, providing a brief overview of the cost-cutting measure, and talking through an overview of what steps you took during the implementation. Be sure to mention all of the positive kudos you received following the implementation. Here is an answer example: 17. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the different accounting packages you have used. The interviewer is hoping to hear that you understand the ins-and-outs of accounting packages. The key is ensuring you have a positive attitude about any system that is put in front of you. Think of the pros and cons of the systems you have utilized. Begin by sharing 3-4 things that you functionally really liked (advantages) about the system. Next, share one thing you would change if you could (disadvantage) to improve the system. Here is an answer example: 18. What is your greatest strength? How does it help you as an Accountant? What things have you repeatedly been complemented for? What are the common positive comments you receive on your performance reviews? These can be great starting points for identifying your greatest strength! Share one of these things with the interviewer stating that others have told you this is your greatest strength. Next, share how this strength will help you as an accountant. You might say something like this, "I have been told by past managers that my greatest strength is my ability to strike up a conversation with anyone! As an accountant, this will help me build relationships with my clients making us a stronger team." Here is an answer example: "I have been told by past managers that my greatest strength is my ability to strike up a conversation with anyone! As an accountant, this will help me build relationships with my clients making us a stronger team."19. What do you consider to be the biggest challenge facing the accounting profession today? Challenges come with any profession, and the interviewer wants to hear that you are in tune with industry trends. If you are unsure of the biggest challenge facing the accounting profession today, talk with a few other accounting professionals before arriving for your interview, or check out a copy of a recent accounting magazine for some ideas. Begin by describing the biggest challenge you see. Explain what possible options you think the field has to address the challenge, and describe if you have personally seen evidence of this challenge in your career. Here is an answer example: 20. What are your career goals? Do you have aspirations to stay in the Staff Accountant role long-term? Do you hope to become a Manager or VP? Would you like to transition into Finance and become a Controller? Do you hope to work for a specific company some day? Or, do you hope to get your Master's Degree? Whatever your aspirations may be, go ahead and share them with the interviewer explaining that you understand it may take many years to achieve these goals. Here is an answer example: 21. How much money have you saved the company and how did you do this? Have you had an idea for an efficiency that was implemented? Have you decreased the amount of late payments the company was making? Have you implemented a new software system that saved a company time and money? Think through your work history, and explain the most significant money saving initiative you have been responsible for. Describe who identified the initiative, how it was recognized, and what steps you took in leading the initiative. Here is an answer example: 22. Why are you the best accountant for us? Talking about ourselves in this way can be challenging. We recommend reaching out to a few colleagues, family members, and friends. Ask them for their opinion. You'll probably be surprised at the consistency in their responses! Their answers will give you the response to the question. Tell the interviewer what sets you apart, and explain how your colleagues, family members, and friends have encouraged you with your gift in this area. Here is an answer example: 23. Are you detail oriented? Absolutely! Accountants must be detail oriented, and the interviewer wants to hear that you are confident in your detailed nature. Begin by sharing that you are a detail oriented person, and explain 2-3 things you do to ensure the details are managed well. Do you keep checklists to ensure steps in a process are not missed? Do you color code files to ensure you are processing things correctly? Sharing your examples will enforce that you are in fact detail oriented. Here is an answer example: 24. How have you implemented recent tax changes in your company? Interviewers want to hear that you keep up-to-date with tax changes. The first step is describing how you stay in tune with this information. Do you subscribe to an email service that sends you these updates? Do you have a third-party that sends you these changes? After you receive these changes, how do you make the changes happen? Next, share a couple of recent tax changes that were made, and discuss how you implemented them. Did your accounting software company automatically make these changes for you? Did you work with your account representative to make these changes? Or, did you work together as a team to manually make these changes? Here is an answer example: 25. If hired, how do you intend on making a difference with our company? Interviewers love hearing that you look forward to improving their company after you have a solid understanding of their culture and current practices. Begin by telling the interviewer that you intend to begin the role gaining an understanding of current practices and spending time observing how things are currently operating. Tell the interviewer that you want to learn the culture and become a part of it. Next, share that once you have an understanding of these things, you will make strategic decisions regarding any possible changes and decisions for the future that will provide the best results for the company. Here is an answer example: 26. How do you handle stressful situations? Tell the interviewer that you understand a Staff Accountant's role involves a lot, but you take it in stride! There are days when you may feel a bit overwhelmed, and you take steps to ensure these situations do not get the best of you. Share that you tend to talk to your co-workers about challenging situations to gain wisdom, and remember that you are a part of a team filled with wise people who are willing to help you out when your workload is not attainable some days. Here is an answer example: 27. How proficient are you with Excel? Be candid with the interviewer sharing if you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced user of Excel. Then, give a few examples of things you commonly utilize Excel for such as creating charts/graphs, making pivot tables, or analyzing data. Your candid response will help the interviewer understand what type of training you should be provided if you are hired for the role to ensure you will be successful with your assigned tasks. Here is an answer example: 28. How do you prioritize your work? Managing your workload is easy for you! What things do you do to ensure you prioritize your work? Do you spend time every Monday morning planning out your work? Do you have a label system on your to-do list to recognize what things are the most urgent? Do you schedule the most urgent tasks on your calendar? Tell the interviewer which methods you utilize on a regular basis to ensure your work remains organized! Here is an answer example:
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