How to ace your first accounting interview in 2022

So you’ve decided to become an accountant? Excellent. Get ready to join a thriving profession where skilled and qualified financial professionals are in high demand in the corporate world. Whether working with MNCs or small businesses, an accountant holds a revered position in every organization. While accounting is a traditional occupation, companies want future-ready accountants. 

The ACCA course is the gold standard for accountancy, preferred by organizations around the world. The curriculum covers all relevant topics in management and financial accountancy, ensuring that each student receives a thorough education and rigorous training. 

Once you finish your course, you are ready for the job market. The ACCA certification will help your resume get shortlisted over your peers who lack similar qualifications. This will lead to the interview round, which can be quite intimidating when you are a fresher. Most recruiters are looking for confident, capable candidates with a firm grasp of accounting concepts. You need to prepare and practice your answers before your meeting. Below are a few possible accounts-related interview questions to get you ready for the big day.

Commonly asked accounting interview questions 

Recruiters have a set time frame to determine if the candidate has the knowledge and the expertise to thrive in the company. They tend to shoot out a few questions about accounting concepts that can establish just how well trained you are. To put your mind at ease, and to avoid any unexpected stress points, here are some basic accounting interview questions that you can practise and prepare, so you ace your interview round. 

1. What are the three different types of accounting? 

The three different types are:

  1. Management accounting 
  2. Financial accounting 
  3. Tax accounting 

2. How good are your MS Excel skills?

The MS Excel software is ideal for accounting requirements. It saves a lot of time and maintains perfect records. Here are some of the functions that work well:

  • The macros recorder can be used to automate repetitive tasks. You can format and organize an enormous amount of financial information quickly and efficiently 
  • You can monitor data across different financial records to keep track of the cash flow
  • You can customize tables to suit your specific requirements, and then use this modification as a template for other reports

3. Can you tell us the difference between ‘account payable’ and ‘account receivable’? 

Accounts payable — This is a record of the money needed to pay off the expenses and purchases made on credit. They fall under liabilities.

Accounts receivable — the funds generated through sales of the company’s goods and services that are made on credit. They are assets. 

4. What are the common mistakes most accountants make on the job?

There are a few standard errors that occur quite often. They are:

  • Inaccurate record-keeping that leads to discrepancies in the financial details 
  • Adjusting the closing period which can create confusion when making decisions
  • High dependence on automation 
  • Communication gaps between departments can lead to misinformation
  • Not having regular backups or saving receipts 

5. Which statement reveals the fiscal health of an organization?

All three types of statements are needed to determine the value of a company. However, if you want to understand the overall financial condition of any company, the cash flow statement offers an accurate big picture. This statement can give details on the exact amount of money earned over a duration, compared to the others. 

6. Explain working capital and negative working capital?

When you subtract a company’s assets from its liabilities, the remainder is called the working capital. The assets include the available cash, raw materials and finished products, while the liabilities are the debts and accounts payable.

When a business has more current liabilities than assets, it could result in negative working capital. It can be a problem as the organization won’t have enough funds to pay for short-term expenses. In some cases, negative working capital isn’t an issue if there is a line of credit or the company has established a long-term payment plan with the suppliers and vendors. 

7. What is TDS?

The full form of TDS is tax deduction at the source. It is an action where the tax is deducted directly from the generated income.

8. How would you ensure accuracy in accounting?

To minimize mistakes, it is best to catch errors and find solutions right away. It also helps to: 

  • Keep track of every revenue stream
  • Diligently check invoices and receipts when writing financial statements
  • Ensure all tax papers are prepared in advanced or before deadlines 
  • A watchful eye on expenses, double-checking if necessary, also helps to maintain accuracy

9. How would you estimate bad debts?

Some of the ways are:

Aging analysis

Percentage of outstanding accounts

Percentage of credit sales

10. Can you describe the three financial statements in a nutshell?

The balance sheet — contains information about the company’s assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity. 

The income statement — documentation that highlights the company’s revenues and expenses. 

The cash flow statement — the funds generated from different business-related activities

11. Can you explain tally accounting to us?

This is a popular software created by the company, Tally solutions. It is used by small businesses to create financial records, statements and other accounting transactions.

12. What is a trade bill?

It is a systematic procedure where every transaction is recorded by generating bills.

13. How would you explain offset accounting?

This is a process where an accounting entry is canceled by the creation of another equal but opposite entry.

What do recruiters look for in an accountant? 

Here are the top skills you need to make a lasting impression on a potential employer.

Good communication skills 

While the core job revolves around numbers, written and spoken communication is equally important. You will be required to:

  • write reports and statements
  • analyze financial information and present your findings 
  • work with team members, department heads, clients

Effective communication is key when working in managerial or financial accounting, as you have to convert clinical data into a cohesive and articulate report.

Knowledge of accounting standards 

If you are interviewing with one of the big 4 firms or a top MNC, you need to stay well informed on all the international accounting standards and practices. There are currently 41 standards issued by the International Accounting Standards Board. It’s okay if you don’t know all of them by heart, but you must be aware of any updates, changes or modifications. 

Time management skills 

The accountancy department runs on a tight schedule. There may be many projects going on simultaneously, yet each one comes with a strict deadline. You should be able to organize an efficient timeline, structure your priorities and deal with any unexpected changes along the way.

Proficiency with accounting software 

Like everything else in the corporate world, the finance and accounting industry has gone digital. When creating reports, statements and tax returns, professionals are expected to be well-versed in accounting software to get the job done. Most of the work is done using spreadsheet software such as advanced MS Excel. Those working on tax management need to be proficient in tax software. Financial modeling is also essential when it comes to recording fiscal-centric information. Once you are at a higher position in the company hierarchy, you may have to use the ERP software system to manage business operations and other activities. It will also help if you have a working knowledge of business analytics, as it will help you make educated decisions about the company’s future. 

Analytical and critical thinking 

You will be working with large quantities of raw data, and converting them into articulate, relevant and purposeful financial information. It takes a sharp, analytical mind to summarize and record all this knowledge into a statement or report. 

The Proschool GPA program 

The Global Professional Accountant course is a comprehensive education that kick starts your accountancy career into full gear. The curriculum includes ACCA subjects, financial modeling and relevant soft skills that make you a complete accounting professional. It is an enhanced program that gives you an edge over your peers in many ways.

Highlights of the GPA course

1. Practise mock interviews

The program has many experienced faculty members who have seen considerable success in the industry. They offer an insider’s perspective and help you prepare for your recruitment process by holding mock interviews. 

2. Write strong resumes

You have a few seconds to catch a potential employer’s attention with your resume. If you fail, your papers end up in the trash bin. GPA students learn the tools and techniques needed to draft a competent resume that gets noticed for all the right reasons. 

3. Enhance your people skills 

During an interview, your soft skills are as vital as your technical skills. The GPA program has helped many accounting students become effective communicators. You learn how to convey your ideas, articulate your thoughts and express yourself coherently and professionally. 

4. Increase your knowledgeable

Proschool’s innovative learning methods ensure that each student has a firm grasp of accounting concepts through interactive sessions and real-world applications. 

5. Get placement assistance 

The institute ensures that every GPA student receives help and guidance throughout the recruitment process. 

In conclusion 

Getting through the first job interview can be daunting for any candidate. It’s your first step into the corporate world, and you don’t want to mess it up. It is normal to feel nervous or uncertain when sitting across a table from a prospective employer. It pays to prepare in advance and rehearse potential answers to a few accounting interview questions. The Proschool GPA program also helps many students practice for the Q and A round during the recruitment process. Once you are ready, you can go ahead and ace that interview. 

Curious about the GPA program? Click here for more details.