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Accounting Clerk Interview Questions

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  1. What are debits and credits? How do you apply them in accounting? See answer
  2. Can you tell me more about your experience with accounting software and data entry? See answer
  3. Do you enjoy work that involves data entry, reconciling bank statements and processing invoices? See answer
  4. How do you ensure that your data entries are done accurately and efficiently? See answer
  5. Have you ever made an error in transcribing or bookkeeping? See answer
  6. As an accounting clerk, you may have to take over accounts and migrate data. What would you do if you received accounting files and paperwork that were unclear or confusing? See answer
  7. Do you have experience using the batching technique to process large amounts of financial information?
  8. How do you determine which financial details you need to store and which aren’t relevant? What is your strategy for indicating top-priority details in company records?
  9. Accounting clerks provide general support for our entire accounting department. Are you comfortable providing assistance to multiple different accountants at once?
  10. What are the steps for issuing a refund to a client and recording the process for your company’s records?
  11. You may have to interpret messy handwriting or unclear copies when performing data entry tasks. Do you have experience transcribing printed and handwritten documents into digital format?
  12. What are security best practices when dealing with confidential financial information?
  13. Explain the steps of reconciling statements with a financial institution.
  14. Are you a CPA and if not, do you plan on getting your certification? Why or why not?
  15. How would you adjust your workflow to meet a sudden deadline for completing an accounting project?
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6 Accounting Clerk Interview Questions and Answers

Q:

What are debits and credits? How do you apply them in accounting?

A:

This is a question that tests basic accounting knowledge and conventions. Your accounting clerk will be working with bookkeeping and accounting terminology on a daily basis, so it is important for your candidate to have a clear understanding of the work that they will be doing. Candidates with more technical knowledge of the field will be better suited for the job and will be less likely to make mistakes.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Clearly defines debits and credits
  • Clearly identifies where debits and credits are used in different accounts
  • Shows a strong grasp of accounting fundamentals

Example:

“Debits are accounting entries that increase asset or expense accounts. They decrease liability or equity accounts. Credits either increase a liability or equity account. They decrease an asset or expense account.”

Q:

Can you tell me more about your experience with accounting software and data entry?

A:

The majority of your accounting clerk’s job will be back-office work that supports the accounting and finance departments of your organization. They will need to process many invoices and expenses, so familiarity with accounting software can help speed up their work. Additionally, it is important that they talk about how the software has helped streamline their work and increase their work performance.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Identifies the use of a type of accounting software and interest in learning more types of software
  • Conveys their eye for detail
  • Past data entry experience is a plus

Example:

“In the past, my firm used QuickBooks, which helped me enter all my entries quickly and accurately. I’ve heard that FreshBooks is great for keeping track of invoices, and I’m looking to learn that program.”

Q:

Do you enjoy work that involves data entry, reconciling bank statements and processing invoices?

A:

Accounting clerks will spend a sizable portion of their time performing repetitive and detail-oriented back-office work. Their work, however, is critical for ensuring the financial success of the company, and it is vital that your candidate is patient and meticulous. Your candidates will need to be able to sit for hours on end to reconcile statements and ensure that all the numbers match up.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Expresses enthusiasm for detailed work
  • Emphasizes examples of past work that required accuracy
  • Shows patience and an interest in working with numbers

Example:

“I was the teaching assistant for my college accounting professor, so the majority of my time was spent writing up and grading problem sets. Since I made the answer keys, I needed to double check that all my accounts were balanced. These skills will translate well to the job I would be doing at your firm.”

Q:

How do you ensure that your data entries are done accurately and efficiently?

A:

Your accounting clerk will be your first line of defense for ensuring that data entries are made correctly. Depending on the size of your organization, your candidate may need to process large amounts of data and invoices on any given day, particularly as quarterly and annual tax seasons come around. It is vital that your candidate is able to explain how they would handle a fast-paced work environment.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Expresses interest in working in a fast-paced environment
  • Outlines a strategy for streamlining the work burden
  • Shows an aptitude for detailed work and prioritizes accuracy

Example:

“When I receive a lot of documents that I need to reconcile, I first organize all the files by placing the ones with the earlier due dates first. Then, I make a quick daily schedule to ensure that I am going through the requisite number of entries every day to make my deadlines. I also double-check all my entries before moving on to the next entry.”

Q:

Have you ever made an error in transcribing or bookkeeping?

A:

Even a single error in an accounting entry can throw the entire system off since the different accounts need to be balanced. Your accounting clerk candidate will likely have, at some point in their past experiences, run into situations where they have made a mistake in their data entry and needed to fix the problem. How they approach mistakes on the job will tell you whether they are an active problem-solver or not.

What to look for in an answer:

  • Identifies a past accounting error and the circumstances that led to the situation
  • Clearly explains the steps taken to remedy the issue and the results of his or her actions
  • Shows problem-solving capabilities rather than blaming others

Example:

“Last year, I realized that something didn’t quite work out in the accounts receivable section of our statements. While I was in charge of the accounts payable section, I knew we could not send in our quarterly taxes if the statement did not balance, so I went through the accounts receivable line by line to find the error.”

Q:

As an accounting clerk, you may have to take over accounts and migrate data. What would you do if you received accounting files and paperwork that were unclear or confusing?

A:

Accounting clerks not only have to track and organize data as it comes in but they may also have to re-organize and interpret existing data. The quality of existing files may vary, especially if their employer took on a new client with disorganized records. Candidates should be able to apply their administrative experience, organization abilities and problem-solving skills when managing unfamiliar files. This question tells the interviewer about the candidate's resourcefulness and logic in addition to knowledge about best practices for recordkeeping.

Top responses will feature the following elements:

  • A solution-oriented mindset
  • Research skills
  • Focus on data integrity

Example:

"If I was put in charge of poorly-kept records, my first goal would be to set up the proper structure for future recordkeeping to prevent similar problems from happening in the future. I would identify what parts of the records were causing the most confusion and start brainstorming ways to fill in those gaps. Depending on the data, I would reach out to the client or to other members of the accounting department to get hard copies of receipts and forms so that I could manually correct unclear information."

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