Top 35 Entry-Level Accounting Interview Questions (And Sample Answers)
Updated March 10, 2023
Interviews are an important part of the hiring process. For entry-level accounting professionals, interviews will often test the individual candidate's knowledge of commonly used accounting programs, as well as teamwork and project management skills. In this article, we discuss 35 of the most commonly asked entry-level accounting interview questions, while also providing you with insight on how to answer.
What are entry-level accounting interview questions?
Entry-level accounting interview questions are designed to evaluate a candidate's basic knowledge of accounting practices in the industry. Hiring managers will also use behavioral questions to determine whether or not a candidate is a good fit for the culture of the business. Entry-level accounting professionals can expect to be asked about accounting programs, internships, volunteer experience and academic background.
General entry-level accounting interview questions
These general interview questions allow the interviewer to learn more about a candidate's interest in the industry and open position:
What qualities make a good accountant?
What do you do to reduce accounting mistakes in your daily workload?
What would you do if you suspect a coworker was not acting in an ethical manner?
How do you plan a large project to ensure that it is completed by the due date?
Why do you want to work here?
What is your knowledge of general accounting standards?
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses in the accounting industry?
What methods do you use to keep up with the latest accounting trends?
Where do you see yourself in five years? 10 years?
What type of work environment do you prefer?
Questions about entry-level accounting experience and background
These questions will provide the interviewer with more information about your professional and academic background in the accounting industry:
What made you choose a career in accounting?
How has your education prepared you for a junior accountant position here?
What steps will you take to prepare yourself for a senior accountant position?
What accounting programs have you used previously?
What accounting programs would you like to learn more about?
Tell me about a time when you made a mistake on the job.
Tell me about a recent accounting project that you are proud of.
Do you prefer to work individually or on a team?
Tell me about a time when you used your accounting skills in your academic career.
What is one major takeaway from your accounting internship?
In-depth entry-level accounting interview questions
These in-depth interview questions will allow the interviewer to learn more about the candidate's strengths and weaknesses and detailed knowledge of the accounting field:
What are the biggest differences between accounts receivable and accounts payable?
What is the difference between auditing and accounting?
What is your experience with double-entry accounting?
How do you keep up with ethical and legal regulations in the accounting industry?
What steps do you take to ensure client information is always confidential?
What methods do you use when calculating debt?
What enterprise resource planning programs have you used?
Tell me about a time when you reduced costs on a project.
What steps do you take to reconcile a client's bank account?
What ERP programs have you previously used?
Sample entry-level accounting interview questions and answers
Here are a few common interview questions for entry-level accounting professionals with sample answers. Remember to always consider what the interviewer is asking and give a clear and concise response that directly answers the question.
Why did you choose a career in accounting?
This question requests more information about why you want to work in accounting. In addition to answering the question, you will also want to discuss your career goals as they relate to accounting. You can use this question to highlight your dedication and passion for the accounting industry. This is also a great time to discuss any internship or volunteer experiences related to accounting.
Example: "During high school, I served as my school's treasurer. In this position, I learned how to predict the cost of upcoming events while also tracking expenses. I found that I thoroughly enjoyed the position and pursued an education in accounting. I spent my time in college volunteering as an accounting consultant with the local community center.
I've learned that my ability to be organized and to look at things analytically has provided me with the background I need for a career in accounting" I hope to continue developing these skills to eventually work my way to a senior accounting position."
What are your greatest accounting strengths and weaknesses?
This question requests information about your work-related strengths and weaknesses as they relate to the accounting industry. When answering this question, be sure to include examples. Discuss a few strengths and when you used them or how you will apply them to the open position. When discussing your greatest weakness, be sure to include steps that you are taking to overcome it.
Example: "Excellent project management and communication skills have proven to be my biggest strengths thus far in my career. I was able to provide structure and implement a new and more organized way of doing things when volunteering at the community center. My written and verbal communication skills were beneficial during my internship at the Delta Group where I used them to understand client expectations and provide detailed reports.
While I am comfortable working in a team, I have learned that one of my greatest weaknesses is my ability to delegate tasks. I tend to accept a large workload and do not always request help from my team. This has previously led me to feel overwhelmed as the due date nears. I've learned to overcome this by planning my tasks ahead of time so I can easily pinpoint when work will need to be delegated."
What steps do you take to plan a large project while reducing any accounting errors?
Accounting work can be time-consuming and involve a lot of data entry. This question refers to your process of planning a project while also requesting information about which steps you take to reduce errors in your work. Break your process down into steps and be sure to include specific steps that you take to prevent any mistakes.
Example: "First, I meet with my team leader or the client to understand the expectations and goals of the project. I request information about individual objectives and expected deadlines. Then, I like to break down the project into weekly tasks, which are then broken down into daily duties. Each week, I set individual goals that will move the project toward completion.
I also leave a few hours each week to review work that has been previously completed to evaluate for any potential errors and to determine progress toward goals. In a team setting, I like to schedule time to review peer work as I have found that multiple edits lead to improved accuracy. Finally, I leave the last week of the project to do one more edit and review before completing the assignment and presenting it to the client."
What accounting programs are you most comfortable using?
This industry-related question requests more information about your accounting background. Discuss any accounting programs that you have used in school or your internship. Mention programs that you are comfortable using and discuss your comfort and experience level with each type of program.
Example: "My accounting educational program focused on programs like FreshBooks and NetSuite. I also had the opportunity to use NetSuite in a firsthand setting when volunteering at the community center. In my internship, we worked primarily with Tipalti and FreeAgent and I have had the opportunity to become familiar with each of its accounting features. I continue to follow industry publications to know when new programs in the accounting field are released while continuing my training in the existing ones."
Describe a time you worked with a difficult client.
This question requests information about your communication and client skills. Accountants will often work closely with clients to gather information and understand upcoming project goals. When answering this question, be sure to follow the behavioral STAR method. Begin with the situation, describe your task, the action you took and then complete the question with the overall result.
Example: "When interning at Delta Group, I worked with a client who requested tight timelines and often waited until the last minute to submit necessary documents. Since I prefer to plan out my projects weeks in advance, I found it challenging to meet this client's due dates. After discussing my timeline concerns with the client, I learned that they were feeling overwhelmed with their role in the project.
They were too busy with multiple projects to gather the data that I needed in a timely manner. We collaborated and came to an agreement that it might make more sense for me to request information for the project from their assistant. The client handed off this task and I was able to gather information more quickly, ensuring that the project stayed on its timeline."
Entry-level accounting interview tips
It is normal to feel nervous or overwhelmed as you prepare for your entry-level accounting interview. You can use these tips as you prepare:
Review your accounting paperwork
Many entry-level accounting interview questions will be related to your accounting knowledge. By reviewing your college accounting paperwork ahead of time, you can refresh any accounting concepts or terms before your interview.
Write down your 'why'
Many interviewers will not only ask why you want to work in accounting, but also why you want to work for their business. Prepare for these questions by writing out and rehearsing your 'why' ahead of time.
Demonstrate your organizational abilities
Organization is an important skill when working as an accountant. Organize your documents and outfit the evening before your interview so you can present yourself in an organized manner.
Research the latest trends in the industry
The accounting industry is constantly changing. By researching the latest trends in the industry before your interview, you can demonstrate your dedication to the field. This commitment to the industry can also help you stand out from other applicants who might have a similar education and internship experience.
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