Questions to Ask on Accounting Interview

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Accountants taking notes during interview.
Accountants taking notes during interview. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Interviewing for a job is uncomfortable for many people, and the pressure goes up iif you are a new graduate or simply do not have a lot of experience in interview situations. When you're interviewing for the first time for an accounting position, you should ask questions that address specific functions or needs, but save questions regarding salary, insurance and other benefits for subsequent interviews.

Duties

Ask the hiring manager to describe the exact accounting duties you'll be expected to perform, preferably in a "typical day" format. Ask him to explain the hierarchy of command within the accounting department, specifically the title of the person you would directly report to and his number of years of accounting experience and years with the company.

Environment

You want to determine if each accounting employee is responsible only for assigned work or if you will work on a team. If the company employs a team concept for certain functions, ask how teams are created and how work is divided. Ask if you will conduct all work at the corporate office, or if you will be required to perform some work off-site. If you will perform some work off-site, ask how often you will be expected to travel.

Software

If you know which software the company utilizes, you may have a chance to brush up on the software or research the software prior to starting the job. Also, certain software packages are widely used among different industries, so exposure to the top brands of software makes you more desirable to other employers when you wish to change jobs.

Promotion

Unless you want to accept a position and stay in it forever, you'll want to ask about the opportunity for promotion either within the accounting department or by transferring to other finance-related departments within the company. Ask about on-the-job training and cross-training so that you can get a clear picture of the skills you will develop in the accounting position.

Continuing Education

If you do not yet have and wish to obtain your Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or other applicable professional license, ask if the company will pay for course preparation and/or the cost of the exam. Professional licenses also require continuing education each year for your license to remain active. Ask if the company will cover the cost of continuing education for you to maintain professional licenses.

Revenue Generation

If the accounting job is with an accounting firm that only provides services for outside clientele, ask how much revenue you are expected to generate and the increases in revenue generation required each year.

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