Accounting job interviews are generally no different from other employment evaluations, but you must be familiar with some specific concepts and regulations that are unique to the profession. These include generally accepted accounting principles, international financial reporting standards and ethical rules concerning accountants. In addition to GAAP and IFRS knowledge, you must also have analytical skills.
In an accounting interview, your future employer wants to make sure you understand basic accounting and financial concepts. These include financial accounts such as assets, liabilities, revenues, equity items and expenses. Other important accounting concepts are the four financial reports that organizations typically prepare at the end of each month and quarter. These accounting data sets include statements of financial position, statements of profit and loss, statements of cash flow and retained earnings. Knowing these concepts will show the interviewer that you possess the dexterity necessary to record and report operating data.
Planning and Organizing
Planning and organizing skills are important in accounting activities, and you must demonstrate to the interviewer that you possess these. For example, your future employer may want to know whether you are adept at planning. This is another way of testing your time-management aptitude. Depending on your professional level, questions concerning planning acumen may differ and you may need to tailor your answers appropriately. If you apply for a bookkeeper position, planning skills will help you record month-end accounting entries on time. For a senior accountant role, time-management aptitude will help you prepare financial reports within required deadlines.
Information and Task Monitoring
As an accountant, you may have to monitor the tasks of other personnel, including your subordinates and colleagues from other departments. You must demonstrate to the interviewer that you can assume your responsibilities while tracking information coming from other business segments. For example, if you interview for an accounts receivable supervisor position, you must demonstrate that you can coordinate data flows from the sales, marketing and shipping departments.
Problem Analysis and Assessment
Problem analysis and assessment are important functions in accounting activities, enabling companies to evaluate the effectiveness of operating activities and the performance of business segments. You need to show your interviewer that you possess analytical dexterity. It may be helpful to provide concise, suitable examples of past activities in which you applied analytical skills to solve on-the-job problems. For example, companies typically need accountants with audit expertise to identify operating problems and help establish sound controls in financial processes.
Attention to Detail and Accuracy
Detail orientation and mathematical accuracy are key parameters to which interviewers pay attention when evaluating candidates. Accounting is a quantitative discipline, and thus requires a high level of accuracy. Make sure you can demonstrate to the interviewer your quantitative acumen and financial expertise, especially when it comes to reviewing accounting reports and recording operating data.