Questions to Ask Accounting Job Applicants

When interviewing accounting candidates, are you asking the right questions? Candidates’ answers can reveal insight into their background and uncover their hard and soft skills to help determine which candidate is the best fit for the role. Here are five questions hiring managers should be asking accounting job applicants:

  • What Are Three Top Skills Every Accountant Needs?

This question determines what a candidate believes their three best attributes are. Candidates’ answers should include a mix of hard and soft skills, such as understanding big data concepts and displaying strong communication skills. Candidates should also provide examples of how they developed and used these skills in previous positions.

  • How Do You Remain Updated on Accounting Legislation, Rules and Policies?

This question tests a candidate’s knowledge of the industry and critical thinking skills. Although no candidate can be completely updated on every new development, the top candidate will describe the methods they use to remain as current as possible with major industry news. For example, a candidate may actively read accounting magazines, attend seminars or conferences, or participate in professional organizations such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Also, note whether a candidate provides a specific example of a recent change to accounting standards, especially as it relates to the position, to determine the authenticity of the candidate’s answer.

  • What Criteria Do You Use to Evaluate the Reliability of Financial Information You Are Given?

This question tests a candidate’s relevant skills. Candidates should mention generally accepted standards for evaluating the reliability of data, such as standards offered by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). Look for terms such as “neutrality,” “verifiability” and “materiality” and how candidates describe how those terms work. For example, “Neutrality is choosing accounting alternatives that are bias-free.”

  • Which Enterprise Resource Planning System Have You Used?

This question determines a candidate’s relevant skills. The top candidate should describe the brand or system they used and how it specifically benefitted the company. For example, the ERP system may have helped produce the annual financial statements 30 days sooner than before. Keep in mind that some companies are switching to cloud technology rather than using an ERP system, meaning a candidate may need additional training. Also, candidates with experience working for smaller companies may have used a more customized or hybrid ERP solution.

  • How Do You Handle Urgent Accounting Deadlines?

This question determines whether a candidate can effectively organize their work to ensure everything is completed on time. For example, a candidate may record all deadlines on a calendar, prioritize projects according to importance and how much time they may take, and complete the most important and less time-consuming projects first. If multiple projects have the same deadline, the candidate may come in early, work through lunch and/or stay late to complete their work. Also, the candidate may mention that they avoid answering phone calls or talking with colleagues unrelated to the project. In addition, the candidate may ask for help from their colleagues or manager or request more time if the deadline cannot be met.

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These are five questions to ask accounting job candidates. For help with securing top accounting professionals, contact WinCorp Solutions today.