So you want to be successful in the field of accounting and finance. But before anything else, one of the first things you need to go through is passing the job interview. You may have the accounting expertise the employers are looking for, but without having to market yourself properly in your interview, there’s a minimal chance that you could land the job. That’s how vital preparing for an accounting interview is—you want to build that confidence and ready your answers before the big day.
What are employers looking for an accountant?
Although the specific expertise varies per company, most recruiters look for common qualities that make an accountant impressive at the first meeting. As the applicant, you should make a way to demonstrate these qualities to shine during the interview.
Written communication skills
These skills are essential in every accountant’s job as they often draft audit reports, create work papers, and make financial statements. It is also a necessity since you are more likely to write to the firm’s internal and external clients.
One of your responsibilities will be talking regularly to clients, stakeholders, and coworkers when providing updates about the firm’s financial engagements.
Working in accounting means you have lots of software to deal with. And recruiters would love to know which software you are familiar with since it shows your compatibility with their own used software.
Attention to detail
Crunching numbers, you have to have the utmost care when dealing with numbers. Any minimal effort might cause a massive discrepancy in your end balances.
Tips you need in preparing for an accounting interview
To ace your interview, here are useful tips to keep in mind.
1. Research well about the firm.
You never go to an interview without knowing anything about the company you are applying for. That’s why even before sending out your applications, you should have a good understanding of the company’s background and culture. Knowing these will help you assess your compatibility with the firm’s vision. And on top of that, you can impress the recruiters when you answer an interview question about the company.
2. Know your resume and application form well.
The recruiter is more likely to ask about what’s written on your submitted resume. That said, you need to review what’s in it and prepare for any potential inquiry about them. However, you need not just repeat what’s written on your resume. Instead, you can use it for an outline, but you can expound more by providing additional details that are not written on your resume.
3. Plan ahead your outfit.
Since you are working under the accounting department, the dress code is usually on the formal side. So ensure you demonstrate professionalism by wearing a work-appropriate outfit in the interview. Remember, first impressions count, so take this opportunity to impress recruiters with the right interview clothes.
4. Prepare for the potential interview questions.
This is the most important as this is the main event of the job interview. Before coming in for the appointment, you must brush up on common interview questions and the technical questions that might be thrown at you. The interviewer will ask you a variety of questions about your background, experience, vision, and accounting knowledge. And the best way to answer them with conviction and certainty is by preparing ahead the answers.
Here are some of the questions you need to prepare for in your accounting interview:
- What accounting software are you familiar with?
- What matters more for accounting software—price or functionality?
- Have you tried developing your own accounting process?
- What is the biggest challenge working in the accounting profession for you?
- Cite an instance where you helped reduce operational costs on your accounting job.
- How do you ensure accuracy in preparing financial statements?
- What types of audits have you performed?
- How do you break down complex accounting terms into simple statements for someone unfamiliar with it?
- Describe to me the three financial statements.
- Why do you want to work for us?
5. Think of stories you can share and be specific.
The interviewer is more likely to be interested in instances that demonstrate your impressive qualities as an accountant. So think ahead of the stories worth mentioning in your interview to highlight your expertise and promising capabilities. Remember to be specific as you answer questions and give examples by sharing those stories.
6. Highlight your value as you answer the interview questions.
To set you apart from other candidates, you must showcase your strengths that the firm will not see from anyone else. Include these in your answers by expounding on situations that show your expertise. Shed light on qualities that make you the best applicant for the job by emphasizing them when a question relates to them. This is important as the interviewer is looking forward to seeing the value you can bring to the table as early as now.
7. Communicate with confidence.
Your interviewer is evaluating your communication skills during the entire interview. That’s why you need to brush up on your verbal skills and wear your confidence as you answer the questions. This will build the rapport that will testify to your effectiveness in communicating with others.
8. Clarify when in confusion.
Don’t be afraid to ask for some clarifications if you get confused in the middle of the interview. It’s better to address it now than realize later your mistake of not asking earlier. Politely ask some clarity, and you’re good to go. The recruiter won’t see this as a bad moment for you; rather, it is a good thing that you genuinely ask for clarification before you move on to other important matters.
9. Ask the right questions.
You cannot conclude the interview without asking the recruiter any questions. This is your opportunity to ask any inquiries you want to know about the job position, company culture, and even about your application. However, be mindful to avoid general questions that can be quickly answered by one search on Google. Instead, ask for questions that can spark a conversation, impress the recruiter, or clear up any confusion.
10. End the interview with conviction.
Close your accounting interview with such conviction that your recruiter will remember your name. Last impressions are just as important as the first impressions. So make yourself stand out by exuding the confidence and conviction of a strong candidate for the position. Do it by expressing a closing remark that will surely capture the recruiters’ penchant.
These are the ten things that will help you in preparing for an accounting interview. Bear these in mind as you come in for your next interview to help you stand out among a sea of other candidates vying for your desired position. In addition, check out these Skill Success courses that will even amp up your chances of landing the job:
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