It's the last day for these savings

Top 12 Accounting Interview Questions with Answers

8 Jul, 2024 - By Hoang Duyen

Securing a job in the competitive accounting field requires more than a strong resume and solid technical skills. The interview process is a critical step where candidates must demonstrate their expertise, problem-solving abilities, and understanding of complex financial concepts. To help you stand out in your next accounting interview, we've compiled a list of the Top 12 Accounting Interview Questions and detailed answers

This guide aims to prepare you for the most common and challenging questions you might face, making sure you can confidently showcase your knowledge and experience. Whether you're a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, these insights will help you navigate your interview with ease and impress potential employers. Dive in and equip yourself with the strategies needed to succeed in your accounting career.

General Questions in Accounting Interview Questions

general questions in accounting interview questions

Preparing for an accounting interview implicates anticipating the types of questions that may be asked and crafting thoughtful responses that highlight your expertise and experience. Here are some general questions you might encounter in an accounting interview, along with tips on how to answer them:

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your accounting background?

“Thank you for the question. My name is [Your Name] and I'm a [Number] year accounting professional with a strong background in [Mention your area of expertise, e.g., tax accounting, financial accounting, auditing].

I obtained my Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and have been working in the field since 2014. During my studies, I particularly enjoyed courses in Financial Accounting, Auditing, Cost Accounting as they solidified my foundation in Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), internal controls, financial statement analysis].

In my previous role as an Accountant at [Previous Company Name], I gained experience in accounts payable, receivable, bank reconciliations, journal entries, preparing financial statements. I was responsible for processing a high volume of invoices, assuring timely payments to vendors, and identifying and resolving discrepancies in bank statements. It resulted in increased efficiency in accounts payable processing by 20% or reduced errors in bank reconciliations by 95%.

I'm proficient in accounting software like QuickBooks, Xero, Microsoft Dynamics and possess strong analytical and problem-solving skills, which allow me to identify and correct accounting errors, analyze financial data to identify trends and risks, simultaneously recommend solutions to improve financial processes.

I have a genuine passion for accounting and enjoy staying up-to-date with the latest tax regulations or helping businesses achieve their financial goals through strategic financial planning.

I'm confident that my skills and experience align well with the requirements of this Accountant position, and I'm eager to learn more about the team and how I can contribute to your company's success.”

Why did you choose accounting as your profession?

"I've always been drawn to challenges that relate to logic and analysis. Accounting, which focuses on accuracy and data interpretation, really appealed to me. I enjoy the process of untangling complex financial information and finding solutions to guarantee financial health."

  • Highlight the stability and career prospects:

"Accounting offers a stable career path with a clear progression. The demand for skilled accountants is strong, and I appreciate the variety of specializations available within the field. It allows me to continuously learn and grow throughout my career."

  • Emphasize the importance of financial data for decision-making:

"I believe strong financial data is defining for any successful organization. Accounting allows me to play a vital role in this process. I find it rewarding to translate financial information into insights that can guide informed business decisions."

  • Connect your interest to a specific industry or area of accounting:

"I'm particularly interested in [Mention specific industry, e.g., healthcare or non-profit] and how accounting principles are applied within that sector. Understanding the unique financial challenges of this field motivates me to pursue a career in [Mention specific area of accounting, e.g., tax accounting or forensic accounting]."

  • Be honest and genuine:

"While I may not have always envisioned myself as an accountant, the more I learned about the profession, the more I discovered its complexities and the impact it has on businesses. Now, I find it a stimulating and rewarding career choice."

What are your key strengths as an accountant?

Structure your answer:

  • Highlight 2-3 key strengths: Identify 2-3 strengths most relevant to the job description.

  • Provide specific examples: Briefly showcase each strength with a concrete example from your experience.

"I believe my key strengths as an accountant lie in Time Management Skills. I'm a highly organized individual with excellent time management skills, letting me meet deadlines consistently."

Can you describe your experience with financial reporting?

Structure your answer:

  • Highlight relevant experience: Briefly mention your experience level with financial reporting (e.g., beginner, intermediate, advanced).

  • Detail your responsibilities: Describe the key tasks you performed related to financial reporting in your previous role.

  • Focus on specific reports: Mention specific financial statements you prepared or assisted with (e.g., income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement).

Here's a template you can adapt:

"In my previous role as an [Your Job Title] at [Previous Company Name], I gained experience with financial reporting at a [Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced] level. My responsibilities included [List key tasks related to financial reporting, e.g., preparing journal entries, reconciling accounts, and assisting with closing procedures]. I was specifically joined in preparing the [Mention specific financial statements] each [Monthly/Quarterly/Yearly] and made sure they adhered to [Mention relevant accounting standards, e.g., GAAP]. [Optional: Briefly mention a specific instance where your work improved financial reporting processes or accuracy]."

Here are some additional points to consider:

  • Tailor your answer to the job description: If the job description emphasizes specific financial reporting software or standards, highlight your experience with those.

  • Showcase your understanding of the financial reporting process: Briefly explain the steps in financial reporting if the opportunity arises.

Technical Skills in Accounting Interview Questions

technical skills in accounting interview questions

During an accounting interview, you can expect to be asked questions that assess your technical skills and knowledge of accounting principles. Here are some common examples and how to approach them:

What methods do you use to keep up with changes in accounting regulations and standards?

Let's show initiative by mentioning various ways you stay updated.

  • Professional Associations: "I actively participate in the Accountant-Lawyer Alliance (ALA) and stay informed through their publications, webinars, and conferences. These resources offer insights from industry experts and updates on the latest accounting pronouncements."
  • Continuing Education: "I believe in continuous learning and regularly attend continuing education courses offered by Future Connect to ensure my knowledge aligns with evolving standards."
  • Industry News and Publications: "I subscribe to industry publications like the Journal of Accountancy, The CPA Journal, and news websites that provide timely updates on regulatory changes and their potential impact on financial reporting."
  • Regulatory Body Websites: "I monitor the websites of regulatory bodies like the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) or International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) for the latest pronouncements and exposure drafts for upcoming changes."
  • Internal Resources: "If applicable, I leverage internal resources at my current company, such as training provided by the accounting department or knowledge-sharing platforms, to stay informed about company-specific interpretations of new standards."

Quantify your efforts (optional):

"I attend at least 3 continuing education courses per year to update my knowledge."

"I dedicate 5 hours each week to reviewing industry publications and updates."

Can you explain the difference between accounts payable and accounts receivable?

"Accounts payable and accounts receivable are two fundamental accounts used in accounting to track money flowing in and out of a business. However, they represent opposite sides of the transaction.

Accounts payable (AP) represents the money a company owes to its suppliers or vendors for goods or services purchased on credit. It's essentially a short-term liability, meaning the company must pay the outstanding amount within a specific period, as outlined in the credit agreement.

Accounts receivable (AR) represent the money owed to a company by its customers for goods or services purchased on credit. It's considered a current asset because the company expects to collect the payment within a relatively short timeframe."

  • Highlight the Key Difference:

"In simpler terms, accounts payable track what you owe (liabilities), while accounts receivable track what others owe you (assets)."

  • Optional: Provide an Analogy (if appropriate for the interview setting):

"Think of accounts payable as your credit card bill - it represents money you owe. Accounts receivable are like money a friend owes you - it's money you expect to receive."

How do you handle discrepancies in financial records?

"When I encounter discrepancies in financial records, I follow a systematic approach to identify and resolve the issue.

First, I pinpoint the source of the discrepancy. I review transaction details, compare different reports, or trace the data trail.

Once I've identified the source, I carefully analyze the data to understand the nature of the discrepancy. Is it a simple typo, a missing entry, or a more complex issue?

Depending on the situation, I may need to recalculate figures, adjust journal entries, or communicate with relevant departments (e.g., sales, purchasing) to gather additional information.

So, I always document the entire process, including the identified discrepancy, the investigation steps taken, and the final resolution. It builds transparency and helps prevent similar issues in the future."

  • Highlight specific skills:

"Throughout this process, attention to detail is important in resolving these issues accurately. I meticulously review all relevant information to find a correct resolution."

  • Optional: Provide an Example (if applicable):

"In my previous role, I encountered a discrepancy between the accounts payable report and the bank statement. By tracing the data back to the original invoice, I identified a missing decimal point that caused the difference. I then rectified the error in the accounting system and documented the process."

Experience and Expertise

experience and expertise

These questions are designed to delve deeply into the candidate's experience and expertise in accounting, supplying a comprehensive understanding of their capabilities and approach to the profession.

What types of financial reports have you prepared?

Start by mentioning the core financial statements you've prepared: "I have experience preparing the three main financial statements: the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement."

  • Tailor Your Answer to the Job Description:

If the job description emphasizes specific reports (e.g., budgets, variance analysis reports), highlight your experience with those: "In addition to the core statements, I've also prepared [Specific reports mentioned in the job description] for previous roles."

  • Quantify Your Experience (Optional):

Briefly mention the frequency with which you prepared these reports: "I prepared these reports [Monthly/Quarterly/Yearly] in my previous role."

  • Showcase Additional Expertise (Optional):

If you have experience with industry-specific reports, consider mentioning them: "In my previous role within the [Industry] industry, I also prepared industry-specific reports like [Specific report example]."

  • Here's an example answer:

"I have experience preparing the core financial statements, including the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement. In my previous role at [Previous Company], I prepared these reports monthly and guaranteed they adhered to GAAP - Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Additionally, I have experience creating [Specific reports from your experience] which were momentous for [Mention the purpose of these reports, e.g., budgeting or performance analysis] in that role."

What is your experience with tax preparation and filing?

If the role is for a tax preparer or involves tax responsibilities, highlight your experience in detail. If the role is less tax-focused, you can show a brief overview of your experience and willingness to learn more.

"While my primary experience hasn't been in tax preparation, I've assisted with basic tax tasks like gathering documentation and understanding tax implications for certain financial decisions in my previous role. I'm a fast learner and eager to expand my knowledge in this area if the opportunity arises."

Have you been involved in financial audits? If so, what was your role?

If you have experience with audits: Briefly state your involvement (e.g., participated in audits, led audit teams). Describe the type of audits you were involved in (e.g., internal audits, external audits of public companies).

If you have no direct audit experience: Briefly acknowledge you haven't participated in audits but express interest in learning more (relevant for entry-level positions).

"Yes, I have experience with financial audits. In my previous role as a Senior Auditor at ABC & Co., I participated in external audits of public companies for three years. My responsibilities included performing analytical procedures on financial statements, testing internal controls, and preparing audit working papers to document our findings. I also actively participated in the fieldwork and communicated effectively with client personnel throughout the audit process."

Tips for those with no direct audit experience:

"While I haven't directly participated in financial audits, I'm familiar with the auditing process through my coursework [if applicable] and interest in the field. I'm a fast learner and eager to gain practical experience in this area. Also, my experience in [Previous role] with financial analysis, data analysis, internal controls has equipped me with strong analytical and problem-solving skills that would be valuable in an audit environment."

Closing Questions

closing questions

At the end of your accounting interview, it's important to demonstrate your ongoing enthusiasm and proactive attitude.

Where do you see yourself in five years within the accounting field?

Structure your answer:

  • Start with your career goals: Mention your long-term aspirations within accounting.

  • Connect your goals to the role: Explain how this specific position aids you achieve your goals.

  • Highlight potential growth within the company (optional): If the company offers career paths or specializations relevant to your goals, talk about your interest in exploring them.

Here's an example answer:

"In five years, I see myself as a Senior Accountant with a strong foundation in financial accounting. I'm particularly interested in the area of financial analysis. This role at [Company Name] is a perfect fit because it permits me to gain experience in a fast-paced environment, working on complex financial statements and reports. It will help me develop my analytical skills and understanding of financial markets. [Company Name] seems to have a strong track record of promoting from within, and I'm particularly interested in the possibility of exploring opportunities in the financial analysis department in the future."

Do you have any questions for us about the role or our company?

Always have questions prepared to demonstrate your interest, proactiveness, and that you've put thought into the interview. Tailor your questions to the specific role and company you're interviewing for. Steer clear of questions easily found on the company website or in the job description.

Here are some examples of good questions to ask:

  • About the role and responsibilities:

"What are the biggest challenges and opportunities associated with this position?"

"Can you describe a typical day or week in this role?"

"What are the key metrics used to measure success in this role?"

  • About the team and company culture:

"Can you describe the work environment and team dynamics here?"

"What are the company's values and how are they reflected in daily work?"

"Does the company offer opportunities for mentoring or professional development for accountants?"

  • About career growth and development:

"What are the growth trajectories for someone succeeding in this role?"

"Does the company encourage further education or certifications for accountants?"

  • Here's an example of a well-rounded answer:

"Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. I'm very interested in this opportunity and believe my skills and experience in [Mention relevant skills] would be a valuable asset to your team.

Following up on what you mentioned about [Something specific you found interesting about the role or company], I was curious to know more about [Ask a specific question related to the role or company].

Additionally, I'd like to understand how someone succeeds in this role. What are the key metrics used to measure success, and what are the growth trajectories for someone who performs well?"


Mastering the art of answering accounting interview questions is significant for aspiring accountants and seasoned professionals alike. The "Top 12 Accounting Interview Questions with Answers" aims to equip you with the insights and confidence needed to navigate the most challenging queries you might encounter. From technical know-how and problem-solving abilities to ethical considerations and communication skills, these questions cover a broad spectrum of what employers are looking for in a competent accountant.

An interview is not just about answering questions correctly; it's about presenting yourself as a well-rounded candidate who can add value to the organization. So, take the time to understand each question, reflect on your experiences, and practice articulating your answers clearly and confidently.

If you have a desire to become a comprehensive accountant, register for Skilltrans courses today at the most attractive price.

Hoang Duyen

Meet Hoang Duyen, an experienced SEO Specialist with a proven track record in driving organic growth and boosting online visibility. She has honed her skills in keyword research, on-page optimization, and technical SEO. Her expertise lies in crafting data-driven strategies that not only improve search engine rankings but also deliver tangible results for businesses.