Published On : December 06, 2010
A resume goes a long way to persuade a human resources department that certain candidates have what it takes to contribute to their company. Performing well at the interview is an essential step in landing the job. After all, companies hire people and not just a list of skills and education. The interviewer wants to see what kind of person you are and what advantage you have over other applicants for the job. The interview gives both the applicant and the interviewer a clear idea of how the relationship will work.
Preparation is essential for interview success, and this list of general accountant interview questions will help get you ready for the major event. Any race requires a warm-up, so think of these questions as a kind of a test run to see how well you will perform. In addition to general questions about qualifications and experience, you are likely to be asked some industry-specific questions so you can demonstrate your expertise.
5 General Accountant Interview Questions & Answers
1. How do you differentiate your focus when preparing internal and external financial reports?
As with any kind of writing, I think about who is reading it and what they can gain from it. For internal reports, managers, employees and owners will read the report. They want an update on the financial health of the company and also want to see how they can help the company improve. I think of it as a report card or results from a medical exam. The employees, management and owners want to get a clear picture on the full financial health of the company. External reports are for creditors, investors and customers. I aim for absolute accuracy while emphasizing the positive about the company and putting it in a good light.
2. How do you ensure the company complies with changes in tax laws?
One of the most important aspects of dealing with a company's taxes, in addition to keeping accurate records, is to stay up-to-date with tax laws. I regularly review such changes and take an integrated approach to ensuring compliance in all of the documents. Many companies can face difficulties and even be confronted with an audit because of a failure to keep track of subtle variations in tax laws. It is vital to stay abreast of the current tax code and look thoroughly to check that all requirements are met when dealing with income reporting and deductions.
3. Have you taken an advisory role as a general accountant for a company?
I view my job not just as preparing documents and filing taxes but as part of the team to improve the company's operation. In addition to reporting on the company's financial health, I have also taken a role in advising managers and owners on cost cutting, tax incentives and how much risk they can afford to take. I have often spoken at business meetings and made presentations on the company's financial progress over past quarters and years and what available funds remain. In the course of the meeting, I am asked questions by managers concerning risk and give a full picture on the ability of the business to handle new hires, openings and promotional activities.
4. Have you ever had to deal with an audit, and if not, how would you prepare a company for an investigation by the tax authorities?
First of all, many businesses and individuals panic when they are informed that they are going to undergo an audit. A previous employer was audited, and I felt it was my role to ease the minds of the managers and employees. I told them that there is no reason to panic if all of the records are up-to-date and accurate, and it simply means showing the authorities the information we have. I am quite exacting in my demand for detailed records, so the audit created no problems. A major problem can result, however, if the previous accountant did not leave clear records. I've decided to prevent this from happening by ensuring all information is available and correct from my first day on the job to prevent hassles later on if there is an audit.
5. What are your long-term career goals?
I am quite happy to work as part of a team in a company and to develop my skills in improving the financial health of a business. The information I collect and organize is vital for business development, and I would like to stay at a company for sufficient time to see the fruits of my contribution.