25 Accounting Interview Questions & Sample Answers [Guide]

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Answering interview questions for accountants is an integral part of the job search process.

The correct answers can help you stand out from the competition and increase your chances of getting hired, while the wrong answers can cost you the job.

In this article, we’ll look at how to prepare for accounting interview questions and provide the most commonly asked accounting interview questions.

25 Accounting Interview Questions & Sample Answers [Guide]

What are employers and hiring managers looking for when interviewing accountants?

Knowing what employers and hiring managers are looking for when interviewing accountants is key to success. Here are the top qualities employers and hiring managers are looking for in an accountant.

Accounting skills

Employers and hiring managers are looking for someone with strong accounting skills. Be prepared to explain the specifics of your experience and any technical specialty areas you have expertise in, such as tax preparation or bookkeeping.

Qualifications and certifications

Employers will be interested in knowing about any qualifications or certifications you have acquired over time, such as CPA (Certified Public Accountant), CA (Chartered Accountant), CIA (Certified Internal Auditor), or CMA (Certified Management Accountant).

Data proficiency

Employers expect accountants to be proficient in data analysis in today’s high-tech world. They want to know that you can identify trends and insights from large data sets, so be prepared to demonstrate your data analysis and interpretation skills.

Written communication

Accountants often have to communicate complicated financial concepts in written form, such as client reports or regulatory filings. Employers want to see that you can write clearly and effectively, so be prepared with examples of documents you’ve written in the past.

Time management

Being able to manage time effectively is essential for success as an accountant. Demonstrate your ability to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines and adjust schedules when necessary by providing specific examples from your previous experience.


Prioritizing important tasks over unimportant ones is vital to being a practicing accountant. Be ready to highlight areas where you improved efficiency by knowing which tasks should take priority.

Attention to details

Accountants must pay attention to even the smallest details to ensure accuracy and compliance with regulations, so employers are looking for candidates who demonstrate strong attention to detail. 

Accountability and organization

Accounting relies on accuracy, so employers seek accountants who can be held accountable for their work. Demonstrate your ability to stay organized and provide accurate records by highlighting relevant experience from your past roles.

25 Accounting Interview Questions and Answers

Let’s now look at some of the most commonly asked accounting interview questions and answers.

25 Accounting Interview Questions and Answers

1. How do accounts receivable (AR) and accounts payable (AP) differ?

Interviewers want to know that you understand the fundamental differences between accounts receivable and accounts payable.

How To Answer:

Accounts receivable are amounts owed to the company by customers, while accounts payable are amounts the company owes to suppliers and other creditors. Accounts receivable occur when a customer purchases goods or services on credit, while accounts payable occur when a company buys goods or services on credit.

2. When a company uses double-entry accounting, what must be equal in ledger items?

Interviewers want to know that you understand the principles of double-entry accounting.

How To Answer:

In double-entry accounting, the debits and credits in each ledger item must be equal. This ensures that all financial transactions are correctly recorded and accounted for.

3. What are a few types of special journals?

Interviewers want to know that you understand the different types of special journals used in accounting.

How To Answer:

Special journals include a sales journal, a purchases journal, a cash receipts journal, and a cash disbursements journal. These are all used to record financial transactions more quickly and accurately than general ledger accounts.

4. If a company processes payments through three different bank accounts, how many ledgers does it need at a minimum?

Interviewers want to ensure you understand basic accounting principles when maintaining multiple bank accounts.

How To Answer:

A company needs at least three ledgers when processing payments through multiple bank accounts. This is because each account must have its log to track any associated financial transactions.

5. What methods have you used in the past to estimate bad debt?

Interviewers want to assess your experience estimating bad debt, a key accounting component.

How To Answer:

I have used several past methods to estimate bad debt, such as analyzing customer payment history, implementing credit scoring models, and doing trend analysis. I also regularly monitor accounts receivable aging reports and adjust my estimates accordingly.

6. Why is it easier to commit fraud with a journal entry than with a ledger?

Interviewers want to ascertain that you understand why committing fraud is more accessible using one form of accounting over another.

How To Answer:

Journal entries are more accessible to commit fraud with than ledgers because they are not as closely monitored. The journal entries are used to post financial data into the general ledger, so if errors or discrepancies arise, they may not be caught as quickly. This makes it easier for someone to commit fraud without being discovered.

7. Which ERP systems have you used in the past?

Interviewers want to understand your experience using various enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

How To Answer:

I have had previous experience working with several different ERP systems, such as SAP, Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics. I am familiar with each platform’s key features and functionality and how to utilize them effectively for business operations.

I also know how to customize these systems to meet an organization’s needs. Additionally, I have experience setting up integrations between the ERP system and other software tools, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and accounting systems.

I am confident in my abilities to use and customize ERP systems quickly and effectively. I comprehensively understand how they can be optimized to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve accuracy.

8. Could you explain your experience with developing or monitoring business metrics?

Interviewers want to know that you understand the importance of tracking business metrics and can use them to inform decision-making.

How To Answer:

I have extensive experience developing and monitoring business metrics to measure a company’s or project’s performance. I understand how to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) specific to each organization’s goals and objectives and which data points should be tracked regularly.

My background in accounting allows me to understand how these metrics relate to a company’s financial health and overall operations. Furthermore, I am knowledgeable about benchmarking techniques to compare performance against competitors or industry standards.

9. What are the three skills that you think are most important for a great accountant?

Interviewers want to ensure that you have the skills needed for a position as an accountant.

How To Answer:

I believe three essential skills are necessary for a great accountant: attention to detail, organization, and problem-solving ability. 

Attention to detail ensures accuracy in all aspects of accounting, from journal entries to financial statements. Organization is critical to keep track of data efficiently while meeting deadlines. Additionally, problem-solving is essential to troubleshoot any issues or discrepancies that may arise during an analysis project or other task. 

Equipped with these skills, I am confident that I can handle any accounting challenge.

10. If a private company barely making enough money to stay afloat received a $10 million investment, how would you suggest they spend or invest that money?

Interviewers want to know that you have a good understanding of business and financial operations and can make sound recommendations.

How To Answer:

To ensure long-term stability and success for the company, it is essential to assess its current assets and liabilities and its cash flow situation. 

With this information in hand, I would recommend investing in areas that will provide the most significant return on investment (ROI). This may include reinvesting in infrastructure or technology improvements that can increase efficiency or reduce costs. 

Additionally, allocating funds towards marketing initiatives to acquire new customers could help drive more revenue. Finally, any leftover funds should be allocated towards an emergency reserve fund for unexpected expenses or market downturns.

Overall, the goal is to ensure that the company is positioned to take full advantage of the new investment and maximize its returns.

11. What challenges have you experienced while leading a team through an analysis project?

Interviewers want to know that you have experience leading teams and can identify potential issues or roadblocks.

How to Answer:

I have often encountered communication and delegation challenges when leading a team through an analysis project. For the team to succeed, there needs to be clear communication regarding expectations and deadlines. 

Additionally, it is essential to ensure that everyone understands the scope of their tasks to make meaningful contributions throughout the process. Lastly, I always strive to create a collaborative environment where all members feel supported and comfortable sharing their ideas or suggestions.

With these measures in place, I believe teams can effectively tackle any challenge they may face during an analysis project.

12. Can you provide me with an example of how you might explain a complex accounting process or piece of financial data to someone outside of your team in a way they would understand?

Interviewers want to see that you can explain complex concepts in a simplified, easy-to-understand way.

How To Answer:

When explaining complex accounting processes or financial data to someone outside of my team, one approach I would take is to break the concept down into simple, actionable steps. 

For example, when discussing the importance of debits and credits in bookkeeping, I might start by providing a basic overview of each term’s meaning before going into a more detailed explanation of double-entry bookkeeping. 

Additionally, I find it helpful to provide visual aids such as diagrams or charts that illustrate key points. This helps make the information easier to digest and supports any verbal explanations provided. By taking this approach, I am confident I can effectively explain even the most complex accounting concepts to any audience.

13. When a company purchases new equipment, what is the financial impact on the three primary financial statements?

Interviewers want to see that you understand the effects of purchases on a company’s financial statements.

How To Answer:

When a company purchases new equipment, it will impact all three primary financial statements.

The cost of purchasing equipment is registered as an expense on the income statement. On the balance sheet, the purchase would be recorded as an asset typically offset by a decrease in cash or other current assets. Lastly, cash flows would be listed as an operational or investing activity depending on how long the acquisition is expected to last. 

Overall, understanding how new equipment affects each financial statement helps business owners assess the advantage of the new investment and maximize their returns.

14. What is big data, and why do accounting teams need to understand it?

Interviewers want to see that you have a good understanding of big data’s importance in accounting.

How To Answer:

Big data refers broadly to massive datasets that are typically too complex for traditional forms of analysis. Accounting teams need to be able to understand and utilize big data because these datasets often contain valuable insights that can help guide business decision-making. 

For example, a company may use analytics sourced from customer feedback surveys or sales records to identify trends and anticipate changes in demand. By efficiently mining and analyzing this data, accountants can make more informed pricing strategies or inventory management decisions.

A solid understanding of big data can help companies optimize operations and maximize profits.

15. Can you recall a time when you made an accounting error? How did you resolve the issue?

Interviewers want to see that you are aware of your own mistakes and are willing to take responsibility for them.

How To Answer:

Yes, I undoubtedly can recall an instance where I made an accounting error. I had incorrectly entered a transaction in our system, which resulted in incorrect totals on one of our financial statements. 

After quickly double-checking my work for any other possible errors, I reached out to my supervisor and explained the mistake so that it could be corrected as soon as possible. We quickly identified and rectified the issue, ensuring that our financial statements were up-to-date and accurate.

I learned from this experience that careful attention to detail is essential for any accounting task, and I now take extra time to double-check my work before submitting it.

16. How do you reduce the potential for errors in your work?

Interviewers want to know that you understand the importance of accounting accuracy and have strategies to minimize errors.

How To Answer:

I take several steps to reduce the potential for errors in my work. First, I always double-check my work before submitting it. This includes carefully reviewing all numbers and formulas to ensure they are accurate and verifying data with colleagues when necessary. 

Second, I try to keep up-to-date with industry best practices and technology developments so that processes can be automated where possible.

Lastly, I document any changes or new information so that all stakeholders know how it affects our accounts. These measures help me ensure that all reports I generate are accurate and up-to-date.

17. What is the difference between auditing and accounting?

Interviewers want to see that you understand auditors’ and accountants’ roles and responsibilities.

How To Answer:

Accounting involves the collection, organization, recording, summarizing, and reporting of financial transactions for a company. This can include tasks such as creating financial statements or calculating taxes owed. 

Auditing is the independent examination of a company’s financial records and performance to determine whether they are accurate and by applicable laws and regulations. 

In short, accounting focuses on collecting data, while auditing focuses on evaluating it.

18. Accounting is an integral part of any business. What software are you most familiar with?

Interviewers want to see that you are familiar with the most commonly used accounting software.

How To Answer:

I am familiar with QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks, as they are the three most popular accounting software programs in use today. I have experience using each of these products for various tasks, including bank reconciliation, invoicing, budgeting, and financial reporting. 

I am also qualified to use Microsoft Excel to create spreadsheets and formulas for more complex calculations. Overall, I’m confident that my knowledge of these tools will be an asset in any accounting role.

19. How do you determine whether the financial information you receive is trustworthy?

Interviewers want to see that you understand how to verify the accuracy of financial data and report any discrepancies.

How To Answer:

When I receive financial information, my first step is to compare it against the existing records for accuracy. If there are any discrepancies or inconsistencies, I will investigate further by comparing documents from different sources, such as invoices or receipts. 

I also use my knowledge of accounting principles and standards, such as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), to ensure data consistency and accuracy. 

Lastly, if necessary, I may contact colleagues or other stakeholders for additional information or clarification on any points in question. This helps me determine if the financial information I receive is trustworthy before compiling a final report.

20. How do you keep up-to-date with accounting legislation, rules and policies?

Interviewers want to ensure that you understand the importance of staying informed on accounting policies, rules, and regulations changes.

How To Answer:

I stay up-to-date with current accounting legislation, rules, and policies by regularly reading industry news and publications. 

This includes attending webinars or seminars hosted by professional organizations such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) or the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB).

Additionally, I subscribe to email newsletters that provide updates on any changes in legislation or new developments in the field. Taking these steps allows me to remain aware of any changes so that I can adjust my processes accordingly.

21. What makes you an effective remote worker? And what are the challenges of working from home?

Interviewers want to see that you understand how to be productive and efficient when working remotely.

How To Answer:

I believe my ability to stay organized and manage my time efficiently makes me an effective remote worker.

Additionally, I prioritize good communication with my team members so we can work together effectively despite the distance. I am comfortable using online tools like Microsoft Teams or Zoom for collaboration, and I have experience setting up a home office environment conducive to productivity.

However, one challenge of working from home is staying motivated without the structure of a physical workplace environment.

To overcome this, I use different strategies such as breaking down tasks into smaller chunks, taking regular breaks throughout the day, and setting measurable daily goals to stay on track. This helps me to remain productive and organized even when working remotely.

22. What are the three methods of budgeting that people commonly use?

Interviewers want to see that you understand the different budgeting approaches and when each is best used.

How To Answer:

People commonly use three methods of budgeting: Zero-Based Budgeting, Envelope Budgeting, and Rolling or Flexible Budgets.

Zero-Based Budgeting (ZBB) is a method where all expenses have to be justified and approved in every budget period. This type of budgeting is helpful for companies that require tight spending control.

Envelope Budgeting is where people allocate a certain amount of money into designated envelopes or accounts, depending on the expense category. This helps individuals manage their finances more effectively by keeping track of their spending limits while following pre-set budgets.

Lastly, Rolling or Flexible Budgets are dynamic budgets continuously updated as new data comes in throughout the year. This allows businesses to adjust their budgets better to accommodate changing market conditions or other external factors. All three methods can help individuals and organizations manage their finances more successfully.

23. How do you structure your work day?

Interviewers want to see that you have an organized approach to managing your day-to-day responsibilities.

How To Answer:

I generally begin my day by prioritizing tasks that need to be completed and prioritizing them according to importance. This helps me stay focused on the most critical items while also allowing me to track my progress throughout the day. 

Additionally, I schedule regular breaks throughout my day to be refreshed and focused when working on projects. Finally, I use technology such as task-tracking apps or project management tools to ensure that nothing slips through the cracks and that all deadlines are met. 

Overall, this structure helps keep me organized and productive, so I can accomplish tasks efficiently while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

24. When have you had to work under pressure with a tight deadline? How did you manage it?

How To Answer:

I recently had to finish an important project before the end of the week, and the timeline was extremely tight. To stay on track and meet the deadline, I broke down tasks into smaller chunks and allocated specific time slots for each job. 

This allowed me to focus on one task at a time while tracking my progress throughout the day. Additionally, I communicated regularly with my team members to collaborate effectively despite the tight timeframe. Following these steps, I completed all necessary tasks before the deadline.

25. What interests you in this company?

How To Answer:

I am very interested in this company because of its reputation for innovation and excellence. Additionally, I admire the company’s commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility initiatives.

The culture of collaboration and support also resonates with me, as I believe these values are essential for any successful organization.

Ultimately, working alongside such a talented team would be an honor, and I look forward to contributing my skills to the company’s mission.

Questions for You to Ask in an Accounting Interview

Now that you know what to expect in an accounting interview, you should also have a set of questions prepared.

Asking thoughtful, meaningful questions during the interview is an excellent way to show your interviewer that you are knowledgeable and interested in the position. 

Questions for You to Ask in an Accounting Interview

Here are some suggestions:

What landmarks can I hope to achieve in the next twelve months?

This question shows that you are looking for long-term success, not just a quick win. You want to understand the expectations and how you can contribute meaningfully to the company’s growth.

When would you like to hire somebody?

Asking this question demonstrates that you are interested in the job and eager to start contributing immediately. It also gives you an idea of when you can expect to hear back from the interviewer with a decision.

Who will be my direct supervisor?

Knowing who your direct supervisor is can help you build a relationship with that person and ensure that the expectations of the role are clear. It also lets you familiarize yourself with their management style and working dynamic.

How do you train new employees?

Asking about training demonstrates that you are committed to learning, growing, and adapting your skillset to best serve the company’s needs. It will also give you an idea of the resources available for ongoing development. 

How often do you assess employee performance?

This question shows that you understand the importance of monitoring progress and holding yourself accountable for delivering results. It also gives you a better understanding of the company’s expectations and how they measure success.

What is the leadership style of this department?

Knowing your supervisor’s leadership style will help you anticipate their expectations, adjust to their management approach, and communicate more effectively with them. It will also provide insight into the overall work culture and team dynamics.

What qualities and qualifications should the ideal candidate for this role possess?

Understanding what qualities and qualifications are valued most in an employee can help determine if you have all of the necessary skills for the job or if areas need improvement. Additionally, it can give you insight into the company’s goals and values.

Tips For Preparing for a Accountant Job Interview

Here are some of the best tips for preparing for a job interview as an accountant.

  • Do your research – Before the interview, take some time to familiarize yourself with the company’s history and services. Researching the organization will help you understand its values and goals, which may be discussed during the interview.
  • Practice common accounting questions – Developing responses to questions about financial statements, budget management, taxes, and other accounting topics will help demonstrate your knowledge during the interview. 
  • Prepare a portfolio – Show examples of past work demonstrating how you can contribute to the position by creating a portfolio or resume with relevant accounting experience.
  • Have good body language – Ensure good posture, eye contact, and a professional demeanor throughout the interview.
  • Ask questions – Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the role or company during the interview. This will demonstrate your interest in the position and show that you are prepared for the job.
  • Follow up – After the interview, follow up with an email expressing your appreciation for their time and reiterating why you are qualified for the position.
  • Dress to impress – Make sure to dress professionally and present yourself well when attending a job interview as an accountant. A polished look can make a positive impression on potential employers and increase your chances of landing the job.

Accounting Interview Questions FAQs

What are the golden rules of accounting interviews?

The golden rules of accounting interviews are:

  • Know the basics: Understand accounting fundamentals, such as GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles), double-entry bookkeeping, and financial statement preparation.
  • Prepare a portfolio: Have examples of your work ready to show employers; this will demonstrate your skills and abilities in accounting.
  • Think ahead: Anticipate possible questions that could be asked during the interview so you can prepare thoughtful and thorough answers.

What are the three rules of accounting?

The three basic rules of accounting are:

  • The Revenue Recognition Principle says that income should be recorded in the period earned.
  • The Matching Principle states that expenses should be recorded when a company records the revenue associated with them.
  • The Cost Principle: A company must record an asset at its historical cost—the amount paid for it. It also applies to other expenses, such as depreciation and amortization, which must be recognized over time instead of immediately expensed upon purchase or acquisition. 


Acing your accounting interview questions requires a strong understanding of the subject and preparation. 

Following the above tips can help you respond to accounting interview questions with confidence and poise and also help you land the job of your dreams.

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