Interview questions for an accounts assistant can be hard to prepare for and understand. Because of this, many individuals interested in this position end up doing poorly in interviews and end up not getting the job of their dreams.
On the other hand, account assistants who prepare well for the job perform much better. It takes time and effort to prepare for these interviews, which is why many individuals choose to skip this crucial part of the job-seeking process.
To truly make the most out of your interview preparation, you should get familiarized with the questions you could be asked. In this article, we will review the numerous commonly asked interview questions for accounting assistants and how you could answer them effectively.
What are employers and hiring managers looking for when interviewing people for an accounts assistant?
Every employer and hiring manager has a different existing team. And, every team has different goals, works in different ways, and has a different customer in mind. Therefore, every hiring manager has a wide variety of needs when hiring someone.
Still, most hiring managers want to see a few distinct traits in their hires.
A few of the skills that are universally appreciated by every hiring manager looking for a new accounting assistant are:
Being able to stay organized is an amazing skill to have, regardless of which specific job you choose to pursue. Staying organized will help you in numerous aspects of this career especially.
For example, accounting assistants often have to deal with large amounts of data and finances. Staying organized will help you stay accurate when doing this, and it will save you time as well as help you avoid frustration.
Individuals who work as assistant accounting managers need to learn how to properly manage and avoid stress. Stress resistance is a key skill for these individuals. This ability will help them to stay calm when working with difficult clients or large amounts of data.
It will help you to ensure small mistakes do not make you flustered. When someone makes a mistake due to stress, it can quickly spiral. Becoming more stress resistant will help you avoid these spirals.
Accountants need to know how to use the computer. They will be using digital skills on a day-to-day basis. They will need to know how to use programs such as Microsoft Word and numerous parts of the Google Suite, such as Google Docs or Google Slideshows for presentation purposes.
Knowing how to properly utilize technology will help you in a number of ways. It can boost your productivity, which saves you time and allows you to pursue tasks that are more urgent. Additionally, it increases the accuracy of your work.
It can be a struggle to manage your time effectively. However, the best accounting managers know exactly how to do this. Time management allows you to better prioritize your tasks so all the important activities are completed.
Additionally, this skill will help you better understand which tasks are most important so you can formulate a schedule that works for you. When you create the right schedule with the help of time management, you will have more time to do what matters most to you.
The best accountants know how to work in a team. They can effectively communicate with others, lead others, delegate tasks, and also listen. They understand the importance of teamwork in achieving group goals, and even individual goals as well.
Teamwork is the basis of any successful company. When you as an accountant work with others in a team, you will see how beneficial it is. Teamwork boosts productivity, helps you build relationships, and can even boost positivity.
Although you may have a great team and love working with them, there will still likely be miscommunications and tensions between team members from time to time. This is natural, but you need to ensure you respond in the best way possible.
This will undoubtedly require patience. With patience, you can ensure you keep your strong relationships without damaging them while still speaking about your disagreements with others. You may also have these disagreements with clients as well, and patience is extremely important with those communications as well.
As an accountant, you will likely encounter some problems throughout your career. This happens to anyone, in every field as well. Problem-solving skills allow you to address small issues far before they become large-scale problems that could hurt your entire team.
Therefore, account managers that know how to solve problems often become the leading candidates in the interview process. Note how you previously solved problems in your prior jobs to highlight this ability.
27 Accounts Assistant Interview Questions and Answers
Every company has a unique set of requirements and skills they want their employees to have. The same is true of businesses seeking out accounting assistants. While one business may be seeking out a more independent candidate, for example, others may want a leader who can work well in a team.
However, despite this, there are some interview questions that are more common than others. Here are a few of the most commonly asked interview questions for this position:
1. What made you choose accounting as your career?
When you were a kid, someone must have inevitably asked you the question: what do you want to be when you grow up? Most people would likely not answer ‘accountant.’ So, something must have occurred in your life to make you feel passionate about this line of work.
The interviewer wants to make sure you have a deep reason for committing yourself to this career. This will allow the interviewer to view you as a committed individual and loyal to this job.
One way to respond would be: “I chose to become an accountant when I saw just how much accountants helped my father in his businesses. They saved him so much time and made him so much more efficient. It led to me spending more time with him. When I realized that this was all because of accountants, I knew I wanted to become one.”
2. Tell us about our company.
The interviewer wants to make sure you have done your homework before they hire you. This is one reason why they ask you how much you already know about their company.
The interviewer does not expect you to know the ins and outs of every part of their business. But, they do expect you to be aware of some of the key parts of their brand. This would include key competitors, company values, customer profile, and other similar topics.
To respond, you could say: “I understand that your top client is a national grocery store. You also have a strong presence of helping local grocery stores with your checkout materials. I also saw that one of your top values, as listed on your website, is being customer-centric.”
3. What made you want to apply to this position specifically?
There are likely dozens of other accounting positions available in other companies near you. What made you choose this specific company? This will help establish a stronger employee and employer bond if you answer in a heartfelt way. Note the values of the company and the company’s history if you can, as this will also show how informed you are. This willingness to research in advance will will also make you stand out as an employee.
To answer, say something such as: “I applied to this job in particular because I know the history of your company. You have helped many small businesses. Your investment in local businesses is very inspiring to me, and it aligns with my values as well. I would like to work in a company like this.”
4. What are the top strengths you could bring to our organization?
An employee’s strengths make up a key reason for why they get hired. The interviewer wants their candidates to have a specific set of skills and abilities for them to become their dream candidates.
This is why clearly articulating your strengths is so crucial. If you can state your strengths clearly, and they can fill the strengths gap of the organization, you are very likely to get hired. But, you cannot just state your strengths. You must also prove you have them by giving specific examples.
One way to respond would be: “One of my top strengths is being detail-oriented. At my last organization, I was in charge of keeping all of the records up to date. One night, I noticed that someone had changed some of the files slightly and I informed my team leader. He said if I had not done this, hundreds of files would be at risk for deletion.”
5. Tell us what you believe the accounting assistant’s role in their team should be.
You need to be clearly aware of the top duties of an accounting assistant. This will show to your employer that you are a prepared and loyal individual. It will highlight your ability to do research and knowledge of the industry.
If an individual is not aware of where they fit in the team, they are unlikely to make significant impacts on the team’s success. The employer wants to hire someone who is aware of their unique role in the team, and is willing to work together with others to achieve overarching goals.
A sample answer would be: “I believe that the accounting assistants plays a key role in keeping the team on the same page. They should unite the team. To do this, the accounting assistant should accurately and effectively communicate data to the rest of the team. I plan to do this.”
6. What would your employer be like? Do we fulfill your needs and wants as an employer?
Individuals each have unique needs. They have certain desires that should align with their employers. To truly become the best employee you can be, you will need to find the right employer. Articulate what you want to see in your leader.
Speak about shared values and goals to show you focus on long-term successes. Then, ensure that you tie these qualities back to the company to which you are applying to.
One way to answer the question is: “I have always wanted an employer who works closely with small businesses. This fits my value of giving back to the community, especially this community which I grew up in. I have seen firsthand how your company does this. Therefore, yes, you do fulfill my dreams as an employer.”
7. How long would you like to work before changing your routine?
This is another question that is testing your commitment to this company and to the field of accounting. The interviewer wants to make sure you have the passion to stay in this field for the long term. After all, constantly hiring people only to fire them a year later will be costly and inefficient for the company.
You need to think about your long-term role in the business. Doing so will make you seem focused and more appealing to the employer. Plus, if you gave goals in mind, you will be even more likely to acquire the job.
To respond, you could say: “I would like to work with this company for at least ten years. Ideally, I would work here for the rest of my career. I want to have a commitment to one employer and one industry, so I can truly hone my skills and serve my customers the best way possible. I would see myself working up to 60 hours a week for this company.”
8. What are your plans for additional education? How far would you like to go in the ranks of this team?
This is another question centered around goals. Goal-oriented individuals are far more attractive to employers than individuals who do not have a vision for their careers. If you have any goals in furthering your education, mention this to the interviewer.
This will help the team decide if you are a good fit for their business. Additionally, if you show you have goals in advancing within the same company, you will seem extremely focused and dedicated.
A sample response is: “I currently do not have plans to go back to college. I am more focused on advancing my career and acquiring more knowledge through work. I would like to move through the ranks in the accounting department specifically. I know it will take time, but my goal is to become a leader in this department.”
9. What are your current workplace weaknesses? What is your plan for improving them?
Everyone has some weaknesses. By admitting that you have weaknesses, you will seem self-aware and more humble than those who overlook them.
However, you simply admitting your weaknesses is not enough to truly impress the interviewer. To do this, you must have a plan for addressing these undeveloped qualities.
When responding, you could say something along the lines of: “I recognize that I have several key weaknesses, and I am currently working hard on improving them. For example, I tend to get stressed quite easily. To combat this issue, I have been trying to take deep breaths and even chasing up my diet.”
10. Are you able to meet deadlines effectively? Why or why not?
Working to meet deadlines is a part of nearly every employee’s life. Individuals who meet deadlines consistently are seen as productive and skilled by their employers. Therefore, if you can prove that you have this ability, you will be looked on favorably by individuals. Additionally, it will show you have great time management skills.
One way to respond to this query would be: “Yes, I am able to meet deadlines effectively. I have repeatedly been one of my prior employer’s top employees for years. I am able to do this through repeatedly creating specific schedules and using my time management skills consistently.”
11. Do you prefer working solo or with a group?
This question is a matter of personal preference. Some individuals prefer working on their own to maintain their independence and creativity. Others have great teamwork skills and know working in a team improves their efficiency. Regardless of this, the interviewer wants to see how well you will fit with the rest of the team given your work preferences.
A sample response is: “While I do believe both are important in my career, I have a preference of working with others. I believe that I can learn well from others. This gives me a chance to not just learn from others, but also develop bonds with my coworkers. I much prefer having these great relationships rather than missing out on this.”
12. Are you more detail-oriented or focused on the big picture?
Both of these strategies are highly important to employers. However, it is especially important to focus on the details as someone who wants to be an accountant.
This is so because small mistakes in accounting can mean large consequences for the entire business. Thus, you should try to highlight how you can focus on the details and examples of you being detail-oriented.
A way to respond is: “I am more focused on using a detailed approach to accounting rather than the big picture. I do not stress over details, but I do know they are important to keep in mind when working. The details are what can make the difference between a major company’s success and a blunder, after all. Every little detail can set us apart as a business, and I tend to focus on this.”
13. Tell me about the software and materials you have experienced using.
It is undoubtedly true that individuals with more experience tend to get priority in the hiring process. Thus, the interviewer wants to see how much experience you have with technology specifically. In today’s digital world, this technological experience is crucial. It will allow you to become more efficient and boost your productivity. So, highlight the software and technological applications you know how to use (such as Google Docs, Slides, and other software).
A sample answer is: “I have lots of experience with a breadth of different technologies. I am very familiar with Microsoft files and the entire Google Suite. The Suite includes Slides, Reports, Docs, and more. These are the software I utilized at my last workplace to succeed.”
14. Do you have any experience with data entry, specifically filing?
Filing is a key skill that every accountant should have. It is crucial in up keeping the balance of the organization and ensuring the rest of the team stays informed as well.
Filing is typically one of the first and most essential skills for new accountants. So, you need to make sure you know how to do the basics before you move on to more challenging tasks.
To respond, you could say something such as: “I do have a lot of experience with this activity. I used to perform a lot of filing tasks at my last job. This allowed me to better understand how to leverage this skill to the benefit of the team.”
15. Do you know how to read bank account statements and work with these tools?
Knowing how to work with banking records is crucial to being able to succeed in the accounting world.
Therefore, you must ensure that you can highlight your abilities in these interview questions. In doing so, you must also highlight how you were able to use these tools for the sake of your team.
One way you could respond would be: “I have used a wide variety of tools throughout my accounting career. I know how to read bank records and have been doing so since I was very young, even assisting my parents before I became an accountant.”
16. Do you work well handling confidential materials?
Accountants are often trusted with highly classified and important company documents. You need to take this responsibility seriously, and ensure you can properly handle these documents. By showing that you can do this, the interviewer will view you as a more responsible individual who cares about their team.
A sample response is: ¨Yes, I can work well with confidential documents. I know the importance these documents have for our team, and I will handle them with the utmost amount of attention and focus on details. I will ensure they do not end up in the hands of anyone who is not supposed to see them, and keep them safe.
17. What is your experience with creating financial reports?
Financial reports are another crucial tool used by most accounting assistants. These reports allow the accountant to better understand what is occurring with the companyś finances.
It allows them to evaluate many of the intricate balances of the business, and even present these findings to other team members. Thus, this skill is highly crucial to maintain as an accountant.
One way you could respond would be: ¨I have decades of experience creating financial reports. Ever since college, I was responsible for creating presentations for my prior employer. These presentations included numerous aspects of our companyś finances. I will continue to do this for your business.¨
18. Are you able to work on numerous projects at the same time? If yes, provide some examples.
Knowing how to multitask can benefit you as an accountant. Still, you should balance both of these projects in a way that gives each task a proper amount of attention. This is difficult to do, which is why multitasking seems to fail for most individuals. If you can show you are the exception to the rule, then employers will be highly intrigued by your skills.
To respond, you could say something along the lines of: ¨Yes, I am able to work on numerous projects at the same time. I have had to manage my prior employerś HR data while also looking over the data collection from the finance team. These were two distinct projects and tasks, but my employer tasked me with both of them. In the end, I was able to accomplish both successfully.¨
19. Have you ever worked in an assistant job prior to applying here?
Assistants have a key role in the team. While you may think this is a minor role, that is far from the truth. Most assistants have to work with a large number of individuals, and they have to analyze large quantities of data.
The decisions an assistant accountant makes will have a significant ripple effect on the rest of the team. Thus, it is important to highlight your experience if you have any.
To respond, you could say something like: ¨I have worked in several assistant roles before applying to this position. I began my career as an assistant accountant at a tiny firm, and I was the only assistant at that organization. Now, I am excited to take my knowledge from that experience and transfer it to a much larger organization.
20. Do you have any strong relationships with your former senior employees or leaders? How were you able to establish those bonds?
Teamwork is a skill that is almost universally recognized as crucial to have for any assistant accountant. To test whether or not you have this skill, the interviewer may ask you to give a few examples of times when you created bonds with your prior team leaders and managers, as well as senior employees.
This allows them to evaluate how you would perform as an employee in their organization, and whether your teamwork method matches their existing team.
One way you could respond would be: ¨I have many strong bonds with my prior team members, especially with my team leader. I developed these strong relationships throughout many years of hard work, as I stayed with that company for 5 years. These seniors helped me as a young accountant, and I will always remember that.
21. How many individuals did you work with and help out with during your last job?
The size of your prior team will likely not make or break your application. However, every team size has a unique list of requirements for success. They work with different numbers and types of clients, too.
Therefore, if you have experience working in a team size that is similar to the company you are applying to, this would be seen as an advantage by the individual hiring you.
To respond, you could say something along the lines of: ¨Previously, most of my work was done in small teams. The firms I worked for specialized in assisting local clients, and thus, the teams tended to be smaller. It was a tight-knit community, and I knew all of the clients and all of the employees. I would help my coworkers with organization and especially presentations.¨
22. Have you ever had a serious conflict with one of your coworkers or bosses? How was this conflict resolved?
Conflict resolution skills are necessary for the success of any team. This is especially true for individuals that work in accounting. Even small misunderstandings can lead to significant mistakes, which can change the outcomes of an entire project. Therefore, you must highlight how you are able to stand up for your values while still being compromising and team-oriented.
A sample response could be: ¨I have had very few serious conflicts in my career. There is one, however, that was somewhat significant. I had incorrectly copied some data from the sheets another coworker provided me with, and my supervisor saw this error and confronted me with it. In the end, I apologized and ensured it never happened again.¨
23. Which qualities do you think are absolutely crucial to have as an accounting assistant?
The qualities which you believe are crucial in this line of work reveal an immense amount about your values, goals, dreams, and entire personality. By describing which qualities are most crucial, you give the interviewer a peek into which qualities you are striving to have yourself. If these qualities align with their goals, you are much more likely to get hired.
One way you could answer is: ¨I believe the most crucial quality to have as an accounting assistant is teamwork. Teamwork allows you to learn more from others, and it boosts efficiency as well. Building strong relationships can mean more trust within the team, and I believe trust and productivity are key to achieving goals.¨
24. What was one of the most significant career-related projects you have worked on? Was this project a success in your opinion? Why or why not?
This is another question that seeks to understand how experienced you are in this field. However, it also goes deeper than just that. This question wants you to not just recount the experience, but to reflect on it.
Giving a meaningful reflection means learning both what you did correctly and what you need to work on in the future. That way, you can highlight both your strengths and your humility/self-awareness.
One way to answer this question would be: ¨The biggest project I have taken part in during my career was one which involved the entire accounting department. We had to make a data analysis and presentation to a large software firm, which was in the Fortune 500. I was responsible for collecting the data, and I am proud of my performance during this project. I received positive feedback from the client. Still, I could have better-used technology, as I did most of the analysis by hand. Working on efficiency is one of my top goals for the future.¨
25. Suppose you are working on numerous tasks at once. How do you manage these tasks?
Knowing how to properly manage your time is essential for succeeding in the accounting industry. This will allow you to seem responsible and focused on your tasks while showing off your key strengths. You must not only state you are capable of multitasking, but also give specific examples of you doing this and state how you manage stress while working in this way.
One way to respond is: ¨I have had many times when I needed to work on multiple projects at the same time. For example, I needed to work for two large company clients at the same time. To do this, I used scheduling and worked with my colleagues consistently. We even communicated outside of work.¨
26. Could you describe the process of invoicing a document?
Individuals who are working in the accounting industry need to understand how to use invoicing strategies. This is one of the top skills that individuals in this field need to understand. To highlight your ability to invoice documents, highlight the steps you would use to do this. List a step-by-step systematic method you would use to achieve these goals.
To respond, you could say: ¨The first step to do this is to locate the software you would use. I often used SAP technologies, for example, but I can quickly learn other methods as well. I would then enter the customers’ details, such as their name, phone number, address, and invoice number, and provide a signature. Then, I send the invoice and keep a copy for the company.¨
27. Have you ever had to adjust to a new situation or problem at your prior jobs? How did you do this?
You cannot be a static individual who constantly avoids change if you want to become an accountant. The industry changes on a daily basis and customer demands also fluctuate constantly. Therefore, you need to highlight your ability to change and adapt to the interviewer.
Do not just say you are capable of doing this, but rather, actually give examples of you doing so in the past.
To respond, you could state something along the lines of: ¨Yes, there have been many times when I have had to adapt to new situations at my last job. For example, I have had to work with clients in an industry I previously knew little about healthcare. In the end, though, I listened to our clients and learned from coworkers to create successful projects.¨
Questions for You to Ask in an Accounting Assistant Job Interview
Now that you have seen the many different questions you could be asked in an interview as an accounting assistant. If you feel more confident about the interview process after reading them, that is fantastic. Understanding commonly asked interview questions is crucial to succeeding in the interview.
However, if you want to take your odds of acquiring your dream job to the next level, consider asking the interviewer some questions of your own. This will show you are willing to go above and beyond, that you are engaged, and that you are passionate.
For inspiration, here are a few queries you could ask:
- What timeline do you have in mind for finding your next accounting employee?
- Who is the leader of the accounting department? Who will I report to?
- Do you train newly hired accountants?
- How do you evaluate accounting efficiency and accuracy?
- Could you tell me about the personality and leadership style of the manager in the accounting unit?
- What does this companyś ideal accounting assistant look like?
How To Prepare for an Accounting Assistant Job Interview
There are a wide variety of strategies you could use to prepare for a job interview. The key is that you are being proactive. However, some of these techniques do work better than others. What works best for you is individualized and unique. Therefore, you should experiment with multiple strategies until you have found one which satisfies you.
One of the first steps that nearly everyone takes when beginning the interview preparation process is to research commonly asked questions for the position you would like to apply for.
This article serves as a great starting point for this strategy. So, reread the questions, and think about some of the potential answers and examples you could bring up when discussing with the interviewer.
Another step you could take is talking to other former employees. This would allow you to better understand the company culture, the expectations for employees, the leadership style of the managers, and so much more.
This gives you unique insights into the team. Additionally, you should re-read the job description carefully and understand the key values listed on the company website. read about their clients and experience, too.
Another commonly used strategy for success in the accounting world is the STAR method. Truthfully, STAR applies to far more than just accounting, and in fact, applies to nearly every industry in existence. STAR is an acronym, and it stands for situation, task, action, and result.
People use the STAR method to communicate more clearly during interviews and give highly specific and personalized narratives. These narratives are more likely to resonate with the interviewer, and thus increase the odds of you getting hired.
The S in STAR stands for the situation. Clearly outline what was going on at the time you are describing. Who was there, and what was happening? Then, move on to the T for Task. This describes what you had to do in this circumstance.
After that comes A or Action. These are the steps you took to resolve the problem or overcome the conflict. Finally, R represents Results. Speak about the results of your actions and highlight their importance.
Accountant Assistant Interview Questions FAQs
What makes you a good accounts assistant?
There are a number of different skills you should have if you want to become a great accounting assistant. For one, you should be a team player. This means focusing on group goals and ensuring that you fulfill the needs of your team first, instead of being overly competitive. You need to have a high attention to detail and be very committed to your work. Finally, you must also be committed and customer-oriented.
What are the skills of an account assistant?
There are a wide variety of abilities that you need to have if you want to be successful in this field. For one, you should be able to work well with others. You should be able to communicate clearly and work together with others, and lead others when they need assistance.
The best accountants are highly team-oriented. They are also great at problem-solving and recognizing small details efficiently. Productivity is another one of the numerous abilities great accountants succeed in.
Is Account Assistant the same as an accountant?
The accounting assistant is a specific version of an accountant. It is an extremely similar role compared to any other accounting role, but there are some differences. Accounting assistants are usually junior positions, although some accounting assistants are experts in the field as well.
Accounting assistants also have a greater focus on administrative work and help support other accountants. For example, they focus on payroll, creating reports, keeping track of detailed finances, double-checking an accountantś work, and other tasks that help simplify the accountantś job.