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Staff Accountant Interview
Questions

28 Questions and Answers by Rachelle Enns

Updated August 30th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter
who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Job Interviews     Careers     Business    
Question 1 of 28
Give us an example of how you have used your creativity to solve a problem on the job.
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How to Answer
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.
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Answer Examples
1.
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.
2.
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.
Anonymous Answer
"I want to improve my Excel skills this year. I am reviewing my Excel work that I did in college at home."
Rachelle's Answer
Nice response! The interviewer should appreciate that you are taking action to improve.
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3.
What kinds of management reports have you prepared?
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?
4.
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.
5.
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.
6.
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.
7.
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."
Rachelle's Answer
"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."
Anonymous Answer
"My boss told me I am methodical. I always take my time; try not to make mistakes. This strength will help me to be successful in this role."
Rachelle's Answer
This is an excellent strength to highlight in an accounting interview. Good work!
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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.
Anonymous Answer
"I would love to work overtime if needed."
Rachelle's Answer
Wonderful! Any interviewer should appreciate your enthusiasm.
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9.
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...
Anonymous Answer
"I see your website, and I like the program that provides a therapeutic classroom for parents."
Rachelle's Answer
Go as far as in-depth with the company as you can. This is a great start; however, you will want to give more information.
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10.
If I gave you a ten key pad, and a list of numbers, could you enter them in without looking at the key pad?
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.
Anonymous Answer
"I excel at ten keys. I am above average."
Rachelle's Answer
Wonderful! If appropriate, you can offer to do some testing as well.
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11.
What accounting software packages have you used?
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.
Anonymous Answer
"I used QuickBooks during my accounting internship. Also, I used an ERP system called Banner when I was working at College."
Rachelle's Answer
It sounds like you have some exposure to accounting software. If you are not sure what is used in this role, it is certainly okay to ask. This way, you can gain a head start in learning the program if it's one that is new to you.
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12.
How would your former employer describe you?
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!
Rachelle's Answer
"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!"
Anonymous Answer
"My former employer would describe me as a hard-worker. Also, I am someone who always stays positive and goes the extra mile."
Rachelle's Answer
Good for you! These are excellent qualities that any interviewer should appreciate.
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13.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
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.
Anonymous Answer
"My dream is to become a staff accountant. I still want to develop my skills, but I want to involve more volunteer work outside and grow personally."
Rachelle's Answer
These are very nice goals! You could also include more details, such as which skills you want to develop and where you would like to volunteer.
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14.
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!
Anonymous Answer
"I am a very focused person, but I tend to sit down and work on the computer for an extended time. In my last job, I set the alarm to take a break to refresh my mind. In this way, when I go back to work, I can work more efficiently."
Rachelle's Answer
A good example of a weakness, and great job with the action steps you take to make improvements.
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15.
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.
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28 Staff Accountant Interview Questions
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Interview Questions
  1. Give us an example of how you have used your creativity to solve a problem on the job.
  2. What work objectives did you set for this year and what steps have you taken to ensure you will achieve them?
  3. What kinds of management reports have you prepared?
  4. What do you consider to be the biggest challenge facing the accounting profession today?
  5. Why have you chosen a career in accounting?
  6. What motivates you to perform your best?
  7. What is your greatest strength? How does it help you as an Accountant?
  8. Are you willing to work overtime, nights, weekends?
  9. What do you know about our company?
  10. If I gave you a ten key pad, and a list of numbers, could you enter them in without looking at the key pad?
  11. What accounting software packages have you used?
  12. How would your former employer describe you?
  13. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  14. What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?
  15. Give me examples of the accounting reports you have prepared.
  16. Tell me about a suggestion or successful contribution you have made in your past job or in college?
  17. Do you work well under pressure?
  18. What cost-cutting measures have you been responsible for implementing?
  19. Describe the advantages and disadvantages of the different accounting packages you have used.
  20. What are your career goals?
  21. How much money have you saved the company and how did you do this?
  22. Why are you the best accountant for us?
  23. Are you detail oriented?
  24. How have you implemented recent tax changes in your company?
  25. If hired, how do you intend on making a difference with our company?
  26. How do you handle stressful situations?
  27. How proficient are you with Excel?
  28. How do you prioritize your work?
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