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Accountancy Interview Questions

Strengths and Weaknesses – eg: What elements of this job will you find easiest/hardest?

What they’re looking for

This is an opportunity for the employer to explore your key skills in relation to the industry, so is arguably one of the most important questions you will be asked on the day. Employers want relevant and important strengths that highlight what you would bring to an accountancy firm – it’s not enough to say that you’re a good team player and an excellent mathematician – you have to link these explicitly to the accounting industry, showing your depth of knowledge and how aware you are of the challenges that lie ahead.

What you should say

Give specific examples of your experiences to makes sure that your strengths are backed up and then drive them home by relating them to specific facets of the accounting world, to make sure that you can’t be ignored. Don’t give weaknesses unless specifically asked, and if you are asked, make sure you talk about them in a way which shows you know how to mitigate them and explain how you have done so in the past.

Company Specifics – eg: What makes you want to work for this company?

What they’re looking for

The first reason this question is asked is because lots of people apply for accountancy jobs as they don’t know where to start in the financial industry. This is a major letdown for potential employers, and you need to make sure they know that you’re not one of these scattergun applicants. The second reason is because an employee who wants to work for a specific company as opposed to just any firm is more likely to be a dedicated and enthusiastic worker, so those most interested in the company itself are often considered to be the best employees.

What you should say

You have to therefore demonstrate all your research on the firm and talk about it in as much depth as you can. Company culture, departments, contracts and competitors are all niches that you can explore to show just how much homework you have done, and specific examples are the key to a perfect answer – namechecking the firm once or twice within your answer is a nice touch to add in if you’re looking for extra brownie points.

Leadership – eg: Tell us about a time you led a team.

What they’re looking for

Leadership is key in any industry and especially in a fast-paced accountancy environment. Employers are looking for people who want to push themselves and leadership is a key characteristic needed further up the career ladder. The question is designed to allow you to talk about other skills you used during any time where you showed leadership qualities.

What you should say

Talk about something that is genuinely interesting, rather than giving an example of how you led a homework project once. Practical skills are often best because they display how you can think on your feet, motivate a team and showing how you worked through any challenges you faced within the team. Good leaders are inspirational, compassionate and positive, so try and keep these attributes in mind whilst explaining how you achieved your aims.

Teamwork – eg: Give an example of a time you worked effectively as part of a team.

What they’re looking for

Teamwork and leadership are two equally important sides to a coin that only some people possess. Being able to work as part of a team indicates a variety of different traits, including patience, interpersonal skills and adaptability, and so is key to any business looking to employ the right people for their company.

What you should say

This isn’t a question about leadership, so don’t talk about assuming control or being in charge – you’ve done that in the leadership question. Talk about how you can take on other people’s points as well as how you contributed as part of a unit, and show your ability to take responsibility for small tasks that you were assigned, as part of a whole.