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7 Questions Hiring Managers Ask From An Accountancy Firm

  • June 19, 2019

Are you preparing for an upcoming accountancy interview? Would you like to know the common questions that come up time and again?

When preparing for any interview, it helps to have some insider knowledge on what types of questions typically come up. Having in-depth recruitment knowledge at our disposal here at Clayton Recruitment based on over 30 years experience, we share the most common accountancy interview questions. Read on to find out which questions accountancy hiring managers are asking this year.

Why Do You Want to Work For THIS Company?

You have accountancy skills, that’s why you’re sitting in this interview, but hiring managers will often want more than this. They will want to know why you are more hungry for the job than any other candidate. Is the location where you want to be? Did you see something on their website that caught your eye? Was it the culture, potential career opportunities or the chance to work with a marketing leading product or service. Demonstrate that you’ve done your research on the company to nail this question.

Do You Know About These Accounting Standards?

Rehearse your basic accounting principles including real and nominal accounts, accounts payable and receivable, everyday business transactions and the difference between International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).

When applying for a higher level role such as senior accountant, be prepared to talk in depth about how provide financial support to your current business ensuring sufficient understasnding of various financial issues that facilitates the achievement of business targets.

How Have You Managed Bad Debts?

This is a handy question for hiring managers to see not just how much experience you have, but your financial nouse. As an accountant, the blame often lies with you when the numbers don’t look good, even though the root of the problem might have come from a different department.

Have specific examples that you can share of when you have turned around a negative debt situation. Be able to describe what the situation was, what you did and the result you achieved for your company. Only by sharing these situations do you demonstrate the value you bring to a company who is lucky enough to have you on their team.

What Would You Do Differently?

All candidates are human, and hiring managers know this. There is often a worry from the candidate that they think the interviewer expects them to be superhuman – they don’t. This question is useful because it helps the candidate talk about how they approach and solve problems, without having to admit to previous mistakes.

When this or a similar question about problem-solving arises in the interview (because there will be one), remember to answer with a focus on the positive. You can say ‘while this was a problem at the time, this is how I solved it…’ or ‘if this problem arose again, I would approach it in this way…’.

Tell us About a Time When You Reduced Costs

As an accountant, you will be expected to be able to reduce outgoings at all costs. Give examples of when you have achieved this in previous roles, by sharing the details of the problems and the steps you took reduce expenditures.

Showing that you are continually looking to manage and reduce costs for a business will get the attention of a hiring manager’s good books and validate that you are responsible in your role as an accountant – looking after the health of the companies finances and not just keeping them in order.

Hiring managers are looking for pro-active candidates who understand how vitally important credit control is in today’s financial sector, not just someone with the right certificates.

Tell us About Your Hobbies and Interests

This might seem like an outdated question but now more than ever hiring managers are trying to create a company culture which aims to retain staff. This question is not necessarily about finding whether you are going to be a new member of the company squash club, but it seeks to find out what drives you and if you have a similar ethos to other employees. Be honest and talk about your passions outside of work – hiring managers want to see the real you, not a homogenised version.

Where Do You See Yourself In (X) Years?

This is a standard question but it applies now more than ever. There is a chronic skills shortage in specialised sectors such as accountancy and businesses are desperate to keep the best talent. If the truth is ‘I want to do it for a year to put on my CV’, you might want to modify this answer.

Make it clear that you want to grow with the company. Talk about the plans you have for the future that you can incorporate these into their business, sharing how you want to develop professionally and you see yourself doing that with this company.

Prepare your answers to these common questions and you will have all the main topic areas covered.

Remember, this isn’t an exhaustive list. If you work in the field of tax, audit, treasury or management accounting, be prepared to answer more in-depth questions on your subject area. Remember that interviews are not about being right or wrong, they are mostly about allowing the interviewer see the real you.

After all, if you get the job and you realise you aren’t the right fit, it will be costly for the company and yourself. Lastly, relax, and remember to smile!

About Clayton Recruitment

Clayton Recruitment has been partnering with organisations across the country since 1989 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability.

With specialist divisions covering Commercial, Financial, Industrial, and Engineering appointments, on both a permanent and temporary basis. If you are looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to download our latest interview checklist, you can do so here.

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