3 Common Accountancy Interview QuestionsDo you have an interview coming up for an accountancy role? Have you prepared for these three common accounting job interview questions?
Interviews for jobs in accountancy are very much like any other interview. It will feature many of the same questions such as ‘Tell me what you know about the company’ and competency based questions such as ‘Tell me about a time you failed/Tell me about a time you dealt with a difficult client’.
However, because accountancy is a very distinctive industry you will certainly face some more accountancy specific questions.
Are you prepared? We take a look at some of the more common accounting job interview questions and answers.
1. Why did you choose ICAEW/ACCA/CIMA/CIPFA as your accountancy qualification?
In the UK, you can qualify as an accountant with a number of Chartered bodies such as:
- ICAEW – Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales
- ACCA – Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
- CIMA – Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
- CIPFA – Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountants
You will be inextricably linked with one of these bodies throughout your career. Whether you are starting out in accountancy or studying for your professional qualifications, your choice of qualifications and body speaks a lot.
For example, ICAEW accountants work almost exclusively in practice whilst CIMA accountants nearly always work in industry. CIPFA graduates are public sector accounting specialists. ACCA graduates tend to be generalists who can work across sectors.
You may be asked about how the qualification or syllabus has helped your accountancy work. Or if you are planning to expand your skill-set with further qualifications such as an MBA.
2. Why do you want to be an accountant?
If you are new to accountancy and are ready to begin studying for you professional qualifications or if you are already into your career and midway through studying for them, this is a very common question.
Accountancy is a popular career choice thanks to the rewards on offer but it is also a tough one to break into. Working a full time job whilst also completing your professional Chartered qualifications is tough and there is a high dropout rate.
Employers want to know what your motivation is to become an accountant as only the most determined will make it.
3. What are the key skills you will bring to the role?
This isn’t the time to list generic skills that you have. It’s time to highlight the specific skills that will help you become a success in the job. That means the skills you choose will depend upon the type of accountancy job you are applying for:
- Audit: Working in audit requires a great deal of accuracy and attention to detail. Large amounts of self motivation, analytical and problem solving skills.
- Industry: Working as a management accountant involves lots of solid mathematical skills. This because much of your time is spent working out costings and budgets. Management accountants tend to work closely with the directors of the business to help inform decisions. This means that a good strategic knowledge is vital too.
- Financial accountant: Unlike management accountants who look ‘forward’ with budgets and costings, financial accountants deal with historical data to prepare financial documents such as balance sheets, profit and loss accounts and end of year accounts. This requires solid mathematical functioning and data analysis skills to deal with huge amounts of data. It also requires a lot of self motivation and resilience as it can be a frustrating job at times.
Prepare for these questions for your next accounting job interview and you should be in good stead to land that job of your dreams. Good luck!