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5 Cpa Certified Public Accountant Interview Questions and Answers

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Q:

Which accounting platforms do you have experience working with?

A:

A knowledgeable and experienced CPA certified public accountant will have worked on a handful of accounting platforms during their training or previous job experience. This question allows them to show off their skill using accounting software suites. A prospective accountant should be able to identify specific software by version and name. They should also show a willingness to learn to use whichever program your firm uses. What to look for in an answer:

  • Experience using accounting software suites
  • Openness to learning to use new software
  • Knowledge of cross-platform functionality

Example response:

Example:

"I've worked extensively on Quicken and Sage X3, but I've also helped my last employer use QuickBooks to categorize their small business expenses."

Q:

How do you handle tight deadlines and working under pressure?

A:

Working under pressure is common in the accounting field, especially when meeting deadlines on multiple projects at once. This question will allow you to get a good idea of the applicant's time management skills and ability to prioritize tasks. What to look for in an answer:

  • Ability to prioritize tasks based on deadlines
  • Time management skills
  • Techniques to facilitate accurate data entry, even under tight deadlines

Example response:

Example:

"I focus most of my time on high-priority projects that are due the soonest and communicate with my team about deadlines."

Q:

How do you ensure the accuracy of your accounting entries?

A:

Accuracy is critical when maintaining accounts for businesses. Mistakes can lead to costly fees, so it's important for prospective CPAs to keep their entries as correct as possible. They should also be willing to fix their errors and make the appropriate team members aware of any inaccuracies. What to look for in an answer:

  • Willingness to double and triple check work
  • Being very detail oriented
  • Openness to admitting and correcting mistakes

Example response:

Example:

"I always check my entries multiple times before submitting a project. If I ever do find a mistake, I act quickly to correct it. I take advantage of the software resources at hand to ensure that everything is correct."

Q:

How would you answer a technical question for a client who's not from an accounting background?

A:

Accountants often have to explain accounting concepts to clients or members of your organization who aren't familiar with financial terms. It's important for prospective employees to have a willingness to simplify concepts and have the patience to explain their work to others. CPAs need to be able to have a firm understanding of basic accounting concepts in order to communicate them well to others. What to look for in an answer:

  • A good grasp of fundamental accounting concepts
  • Patience and good conversational skills
  • The willingness to help others learn

Example response:

Example:

"I would explain everything as simply as possible without getting exasperated or upset and explain things through concepts that they are familiar with. In my previous job, I often used analogies to help my bosses understand asset purchases and how they're taxed."

Q:

How do you keep up with changes in the tax code?

A:

Accounting is an ever-changing field that constantly adjusts to keep up with alterations to the tax code. Prospective accountants should demonstrate an interest in staying current with industry changes, especially ones that affect the company that they work for. They should also mention specific ways in which they keep their tax information current and the continuing education that they take part in to stay on top of industry changes. What to look for in an answer:

  • Interest in learning about tax-law changes
  • Ability and willingness to be continually learning
  • Clear about specific ways in which they stay current

Example response:

Example:

"In order to keep up with the yearly changes in tax laws, I make sure to read the publications put out by the IRS as well as individual states regarding their tax changes. I also maintain a subscription to the AICPA's tax change newsletter and make sure to update my tax software regularly."

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