Published On : December 06, 2010
After you are done perfecting your resume and cover letter, you need to move on to interview preparation. This face-to-face meeting is likely going to be your first chance to impress the employer. If you fumble with your answers to commonly asked questions, it could be unlikely for you to get a second interview or a job offer.
This means you have to practice answering common inquiries, figuring out ways to address classic questions such as "What do you feel is your greatest professional achievement?" or "How do you stay motivated on the job?" But you need to do more than offer basic answers. You need to think about the skills specific to being an accounting director if you really want to stand out from your peers. Use these sample accounting director interview questions and answers to get ready for the big meeting and wow the hiring manager through a little preparation.
5 Common Accounting Director Interview Questions & Answers
1. What qualities do you think are important in a leader?
There are a lot of traits that a good leader should possess. Any leader should be decisive, empathetic and inspirational. Accounting directors in particular must have a high degree of organization, honesty and accountability. If the financial records of a company are filed incorrectly or full of errors, it can lead to huge problems. It is the director's job to decide what tasks go to specific employees. Directors have to inspire their direct reports to not only do their jobs, but to do their jobs well. In addition to planning ahead to ensure the projects and reports stay organized, accounting directors have to remain honest and empathetic to foster an open, ethical environment. They must be so inspirational and organized that they have no qualms taking responsibility for the work done by subordinates. These are just a few qualities a good financial leader should possess.
2. How do you stay organized?
When I'm juggling my schedule, accounting records and the schedule of my direct reports, organization is a vital part of my sanity. I found long ago that the best way for me to stay organized is to keep a detailed schedule. When I first started using this method it was a paper and pencil strategy, but now my schedule is on my computer and cellphone to ensure I always have access to it.
3. What communication methods do you use when talking with your direct reports, customers and executives?
Communication is a vital part of many businesses. As an accounting director, I have to be able to effectively communicate in different ways to best suit my audience. When I talk with my direct reports, I use a mixture of one-on-one meetings, open meetings and emails to ensure everyone is on the right path with projects and day-to-day activities. With customers, my tone has to be much different than with my direct reports, and I try to articulate my understanding of their concerns and questions. I find presentations and reports are the most effective and efficient way to communicate with executives because these materials are easy to share.
4. How do you plan to develop professionally over the next few years?
Professional development is an important part of staying up to date on the latest trends and progressing further in your career. I plan to continue to attend workshops, conferences and seminars regarding accounting and being a manager. I am also open to pursing new certifications.
5. Have you ever had to reprimand a direct report?
My first leadership role was as a second assistant at a grocery store. I didn't have a lot of clout, but I was expected to make sure cashiers were doing their jobs and give everyone an appropriate break. I hadn't been a second assistant for very long when one of the cashiers had to leave work early due to what she called a family emergency. My shift ended shortly after she left and by coincidence I happened to see her around town. At work the next day, I let my supervisor know what was going on because I value integrity. My supervisor requested I let her know that her deceit didn't work, and if she tried to do anything like that in the future there would be serious consequences. That was the first time I ever had to reprimand someone as a leader, but since then I have had to reprimand more direct reports.