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Ace That Accounting Job Interview

by | Mar 8, 2021 | Accounting

Whether you are interviewing for an accounting internship or an entry-level accounting position, this blog will help you navigate the steps to ace that interview.

Start by knowing common interview questions, but there will be many questions testing your knowledge, skills, and experience in accounting. These questions can be difficult, but you’re in the right place.

Resources to Prepare Pre-Accounting Interview

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You already have the accounting skills but you need to display that to recruiters and hiring managers within the process. Not only is it important to have this knowledge, but knowing the accounting applications are important as well. 

The most important thing is to brush up on your accounting knowledge. Act like it’s a test and you are going to ace it! 

  • Henry Harvin Accounting Blogs: This blog has a great general overview of accounting processes.
  • Journal entry basics: This site gives a great general overview to brush up on pre-interview.
  • Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP): these rules and standards are something that you want to be familiar with, as hiring managers will most likely be asked within an interview. A company wants interns and entry-level accountants who know GAAP.
  • Review of the Cash flow statement (CFS): Understanding the elements of a CFS are important to have in front of mind. Investopedia has a great Guide to Accounting that covers it. 

Along with accounting knowledge, make sure to brush up on the common interview questions and how to answer those!

Skills to Highlight

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Within the interview, many times you will be highlighting your hard skills, but those soft skills should shine through! For more general tasks for accounting interns, read here.

  • Time Management
  • Ability to work well with team members
  • Communication skills 
  • Capability to work on a tight deadline
  • Many entry-level positions will require a CPA license, if applicable, highlight this skill.
  • High level of comprehension of the accounting field.
  • The ability to do complex accounting tasks.
  • To know how to operate Microsoft Office especially Excel

Most interviews will ask about bookkeeping accounting software. You should share these, it will show your critical thinking, assessment, and basic knowledge of accounting. specific examples of times you used accounting software and the pros and cons. 

  • ABC Accounting
  • Fresh Books
  • Free Agent
  • Invoiced
  • Zoho Books
  • Docuphase
  • Tally
  • NetSuite ERP
  • QuickBooks

Main Types of Questions, Examples, and How to Answer Them

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Common Interview Questions

There are some questions that are almost always asked at interviews. It is a good idea to prepare an answer that is accounting-focused.

To learn how to masterfully answer these questions, read the blog dedicated to it.

Questions about knowledge

These questions will ask about your basic accounting knowledge

  • What are the main differences between accounts payable and accounts receivable?
  • What are the three types of special journals?

Questions about knowledge of specific experiences that you’d use in the job

This segments into more specific accounting questions. Typically, these will center around the skills you would need for this internship or entry-level position. Ensure that you know the job description well and the tasks that are required of the position.

  • Describe your experiences with enterprise resources planning (ERP) systems. How have you used them?
  • What is your definition of big data and what is its importance in accounting firms?
  • Say that a company has three bank accounts for processing payments, what are the minimum ledgers that the company requires?

Situational Questions

Situational questions are questions that describe how you would react to a situation. To read the blog dedicated to how to best answer these types of questions, read on here.

  • If you had to give an estimate with bad debt, what methods would you use?
  • If you were beginning a balance sheet, how would you start?

The Top 7 Accounting Interview Questions

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Corporate finance institute compiled a guide for the top accounting interview questions and answers. Here are their 7 most important questions to know.

  1. Walk me through the three financial statements.
  2. If I only had one statement and wanted to review the overall health of a company, which statement would I use and why?
  3. What happens on the income statement if inventory goes up by $10?
  4. What is working capital?
  5. What does negative working capital mean?
  6. If cash collected from customers is not yet recorded as revenue, what happens to it?
  7. What’s the difference between deferred revenue and accounts receivable?

Questions to Ask the Interviewer

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All interviews will end with you getting a chance to ask your own questions. It is a great practice to think of questions ahead of time for the interview. 

  1. How did you begin working for this company?
  2. What will day-to-day work look like for me? Are there any times that are higher in tasks?
  3. What do you find the most enjoyable about your position as an accountant for this company? 
  4. How would you describe the corporate culture of this company?

Hear directly from an accounting intern at PwC on The Internship Show and on the Scholars website. Also, read a blog on a how to land a job at KMPC.

About Scholars

Scholars helps companies build engaging candidate experiences at scale. Create personalized journeys for all of your candidates from application through onboarding.

About Scholars

Internships and early-career jobs are unlike any others. They are often accepted months, if not years, in advance of the start date leaving plenty of time for candidates to change their minds and decide to work elsewhere, costing your team time and money.

There are two ways that have been proven to decrease renege rates for any company: keeping candidates engaged by sharing personalized information and helping them make connections with their future teammates. Companies use Scholars to accomplish both of these at scale.