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Staff Auditor Mock Interview

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

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Question 1 of 25

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.

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List of 25 Staff Auditor Interview Questions & Answers

  • 1.

    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.

      1st Answer Example

      "One time at internship last summer, I caught a formula error in a file that I had already sent to a client. Even though I was embarrassed, I knew that the mistake needed to be corrected. I immediately told the intern manager what had happened and asked for her advice. We called the client and explained what had happened, and they were fine with us sending the corrected file."

  • 2.

    Explain the steps involved in a bank confirmation process and what it helps evaluate.

      How to Answer

      This question dives into a common responsibility for first year staff on audits. Bank confirmations test the existence, ownership and accuracy of bank accounts. Answering this question correctly will show that you paid attention in class and are ready to take on responsibilities right away.

      1st Answer Example

      "Bank confirmations are a key test for auditing cash. Confirming bank accounts involves compiling a list of the clients bank accounts from the balance sheet and then sending letters to the banks to confirm the balances. By completing these procedures, the existence, accuracy and ownership of the bank accounts on the client's balance sheet are properly tested."

  • 3.

    In your opinion, why is it important for organizations to have effective internal controls?

      How to Answer

      Internal controls are rules, regulations and safeguards that an organization puts in place to ensure integrity of financial information and to prevent fraud. There are several benefits to having robust and effective internal controls, including preventing fraud/theft, improving accuracy of financial reporting, and complying with laws and regulations.

      1st Answer Example

      "Internal controls are vital for organizations of all sizes. First and foremost, internal controls are necessary to be in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations. Additionally, strong internal controls are necessary to prevent fraud and theft by employees. Finally, strong and effective internal controls result in improved timeliness and accuracy of financial reporting, which makes for smoother audits."

  • 4.

    How do you manage your manager? In other words, what steps do you take to make sure you get what you need from your boss and make both your lives easier?

      How to Answer

      Also known as "˜managing up', "˜managing your manager' is a soft skill that can be developed over time. It essentially means doing whatever is necessary to make your manager's job easier. Some clear-cut benefits of managing up include increased productivity and better working relationships between boss and employee.

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  • 5.

    What are some of the ways that you can show professionalism when on an audit engagement?

      How to Answer

      In public accounting (as well as many other service-based professions), showing professionalism while interacting with clients is essential. Since professional behavior may not be obvious to someone who is new to the workforce, the interviewer is gauging how much awareness the candidate has.

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  • 6.

    What is the auditor's responsibility when planning an audit?

      How to Answer

      Auditing standard AU-C Section 300 Planning an Audit covers what the auditor's responsibility is during the planning phase of the audit. The engagement partner and other key members of the audit team should be involved. As a staff auditor, you will be heavily involved in the planning process, so it's important to brush up on the requirements detailed in the standard.

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  • 7.

    In an audit, who is primarily responsible for the prevention and detection of fraud?

      How to Answer

      According to auditing pronouncement AU-C Section 240, the client's management is primarily responsible for detecting fraud and preventing it in the first place by having effective internal controls. An auditor must conduct an audit in accordance with GAAS (generally accepted auditing standards). However, given the limitations of an audit, there is an inherent risk that not all material misstatements will be detected.

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  • 8.

    How do you mitigate and manage stress?

      How to Answer

      The life of an auditor can be stressful, especially during "˜tax season' which runs from January through April. The interviewer wants to gain insight into how you react to stressful situations.

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  • 9.

    What is the difference between fraud and error?

      How to Answer

      This is a technical topic covered in the auditing standards under AU-C Section 240. The key difference between fraud and error is that the former is intentional and the latter is unintentional. There are two main types of fraud that an auditor should be concerned with: fraudulent reporting and misappropriation of assets (ie theft)

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  • 10.

    How do you keep up with the latest developments in auditing standards?

      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.

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  • 11.

    Have you sat for the CPA exam or are you planning to sit for the CPA exam?

      How to Answer

      Obtaining a CPA license is a major step an auditor can take to show they are committed to growing in the accounting profession. These days, many students are able to sit for the CPA exam before they graduate. But if this is not the case for you, it is likely expected that you will obtain your CPA license within the first couple of years of employment at the firm.

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  • 12.

    What is the purpose of audit documentation?

      How to Answer

      This is a technical question to see if you are able to articulate the information that is gathered in the field to support the audit. According to auditing standards (pronouncement AU-C Section 230), the two primary purposes of audit documentation are 1) to provide evidence to support the auditor's conclusion and 2) to provide evidence that the audit was planned and performed appropriately

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  • 13.

    How would you handle working in an increasingly remote environment?

      How to Answer

      This is a question to gage if you are disciplined enough to work from home. Be sure to touch on how you would stay focused and communicate with team members. Even after things return to normal, remote work may continue to be more common across many industries including auditing.


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  • 14.

    Why do you want to be an auditor?

      How to Answer

      This question is a way for the interviewer to find out a little bit about what makes you tick. Be honest and direct - don't give a phony answer that the interviewer will see through.

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  • 15.

    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, auditors have the ability to take massive amounts of data and analyze it. For example, an auditor may be asked to review exported data from a client's general ledger. Give a specific example of a time when you used data to answer a question or solve a problem.

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  • 16.

    Are you open to travel with this position?

      How to Answer

      The topic of travel will almost certainly come up during your interview. Almost any auditing role involves some travel, so be prepared to articulate how much travel you are comfortable with (for example, 25%, 50%, etc). Most job descriptions will include the expected amount of travel. The interviewer is gauging whether you are a candidate that is willing and able to meet the travel requirement, so try to align your answer with the expectation of the role.

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  • 17.

    During an audit, you discover one of the firm's largest clients uses a questionable methodology to value receivables. What would be your course of action?

      How to Answer

      This is an opportunity to highlight your integrity and honesty. The high-level answer should be obvious - that the concern must be addressed immediately.

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  • 18.

    Explain how the Sarbanes-Oxley Act changed the auditing profession.

      How to Answer

      The Sarbanes-Oxley Act is major legislation passed in 2002 that substantially changed the accounting and auditing professions. It was enacted in response to major fraud scandals such as Enron and WorldCom. The interviewee should know the Act in detail as it is a key driver of the profession, but a summary here will suffice.

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  • 19.

    How would you deliver excellent customer service to clients?

      How to Answer

      Being able to interact and communicate with clients is a key skill for a new auditor, and also shows that the candidate possesses the ability to grow into larger roles within the firm such as manager and director. Even new auditors will need to email and call clients, so be sure to mention that you have attention to detail and are responsive.

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  • 20.

    Why do you want to work at ABC Public Accountants?

      How to Answer

      This question is an opportunity to show you have done your research on the firm. Be sure to mention some of the firm's biggest clients, as well as some of the industries they specialize in.

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  • 21.

    How do you feel your education has prepared you for the auditor role?

      How to Answer

      Be sure to highlight all of the different subjects within accounting you have studied to show you have a well-rounded education. To not sound like a "˜know it all', make sure to acknowledge that there is still plenty to learn once you have been hired.

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  • 22.

    What are the differences between an audit, a review and a compilation?

      How to Answer

      Audits, reviews and compilations are the three main types of engagements an accounting firm will perform. Being able to articulate the differences between these services is essential. Conversely, not being able to state the differences could be a disqualifier from the role you are interviewing for.

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  • 23.

    Why do companies require audits?

      How to Answer

      This question tests your understanding of the audit process beyond just the technical aspects one would learn through college coursework. Being able to answer this question shows you have a firm understanding of one of the basics of the profession.

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  • 24.

    Where do you see yourself in five years?

      How to Answer

      DO highlight that you want to continue growing professionally and help the firm grow. DO NOT say you want the interviewer's role. The interviewer is basically probing to see that you have goals for your career.

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  • 25.

    What qualities or skills do you believe a good auditor should possess?

      How to Answer

      This question is a good opportunity to show you have an understanding of what qualities make a good auditor. Some key areas to hit are ethics (honesty/integrity), ability to interact with clients (communication skills, people person), ability to limit mistakes (focused/attention to detail) and ability to get to the correct answer (skeptical/inquisitive/problem solver)

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