Published On : December 06, 2010
There is little doubt that you invested significant time into putting together your resume. Being called in for an interview is a sign that you have succeeded in the first round and have piqued the company's interest. Think of the interview as the final round in the effort to land your ideal job. It is during the interview that the employer has an impression of the candidate, what kind of person he or she is and whether or not the employer feels the candidate can make a unique contribution to the company. The interview is your chance to shine.
Most worthwhile pursuits require preparation, and that is also true of a job interview. Before arriving at the interview, be aware of what questions you are likely to be asked. Many candidates have ready answers for general government auditor interview questions about education and qualifications, but also be ready for industry-specific questions. Giving the right answer and making a positive impression will help you land the job.
5 Government Auditor Interview Questions & Answers
1. As a government auditor, your responsibility is to ensure the proper use of public funds. What do you look for as an indication that a non-profit or government agency is spending as it should?
A government auditor has to be particularly careful when auditing a non-profit, because after all, it does concern public funds. Just like any other business, a non-profit has to spend responsibly, but there might be more of a temptation to waste money than in the private sector. Basically, auditing a non-profit, like other businesses, involves ensuring that everything makes sense and the records are up-to-date and accurate. Large expenditures have to be looked at carefully, and one has to be sure that funds earmarked for one purpose, such as building, aren't used for other purposes. This involves looking at the solicited and unsolicited designated funds and making sure the categories remain distinct.
2. How do you feel your job as a government auditor differs from that of a private sector auditor?
First of all, there is a sense of working for the public good as a government auditor. I've also served as a private auditor and did many internal audits to ensure the business was in sound financial health. This served an important function in helping the business stay afloat, but it didn't necessarily involve an entire population. There is a kind of sacred trust in dealing with public money, and perhaps, a greater propensity of some non-profits or government agencies, to lose track of money, because it is being provided. A government audit requires a certain amount of discipline in investigating whether funds earmarked for one purpose were used properly. Elections have been won and lost based on the use of public funds, so it is vital to our public life as citizens.
3. In addition to auditing non-profits on behalf of the government, you also assist these organizations with internal audits. How do you vary your approach in these cases?
When I work as an auditor investigating the use of funds on behalf of the government, my role is to evaluate the records to ensure compliance and detect irregularities. In this role, I feel that I am approaching the organization from the outside and am making sure everything is in order. When I do an internal audit, as many non-profits should do on an annual basis, I am working with the company in an advisory role to ensure compliance, and at the same time, empowering the non-profit to improve its financial health and to thrive. In this sense, I'm cooperating with the company as well as evaluating its records.
4. Details are of the essence in accounting, and a small mistake can be costly. How do you ensure that details are accurate?
Every accountant needs to be detail-oriented, but what else is needed is the discipline to check again. I always double check to ensure everything is in order. In addition, having technical savvy helps, and I stay current with the newest software and apps that makes tracking details and finding irregularities easier.
5. What are your long-term career goals?
I am interested in finding a position where I can refine my accounting skills in my work with government agencies and non-profits. I feel there is a particular benefit to society in my work as a government auditor, and I would like to continue making that contribution.