Accountant Behavioural Interview Questions

It’s happening! You’re finally invited to interview for that accounting role you’ve been searching for. You’re not sure what to expect, but you know you want to put your best foot forward by getting prepared and knocking this interview out of the park.

You can start by reviewing the most common interview questions. But don’t stop there—you should also make sure to be ready for some more accounting-specific interview questions.

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How do I know? Some might call me a “recovering CPA”—I used to work as one at a Big Four accounting firm. And before becoming a career coach, I spent years handling recruiting efforts at a public accounting firm for five offices spanning up and down the East Coast. I worked directly with leadership to identify top talent, built recruiting processes, and screened candidates for accounting opportunities. Based on my experience, I have some advice on how to answer the most common accountant interview questions and what qualities recruiters are looking for when they ask them.

Use STAR to Nail Behavioural Interviews

The STAR method is a technique used to structure your answers to behavioural questions, helping you to remain focused and provide complete and concise descriptions that an interviewer understands with ease. Make the interviewer’s job easier, and you make the decision to hire you easier. STAR is an acronym for:

  • Situation – describe the situation in which the story is based, to give it context
  • Task – describe your role in the situation
  • Action – describe the actions you took
  • Result – describe the outcome because of your action
  • Here’s how a candidate for an accountancy job might tackle the question, “Tell me about a project you led that transformed financial performance.”


    Begin by providing the context of the situation. Describe the background needed for the remainder of the story to make sense, as you relate the problem you faced:

  • “My team is responsible for maintaining the profit and loss accounts of the division.
  • “However, reporting systems weren’t uniform when I started. Individuals and teams reported haphazardly, and this led to poor financial management.”
  • “As new head of the team, my responsibility was to develop a real-time reporting system that was user friendly.
  • “I was also responsible for ensuring that people received coaching and ongoing support.”
  • “I undertook a month-long review of the current reporting systems, talking to individuals and team leaders to understand all the issues involved.
  • “I invited team leaders to provide suggestions and become involved in the project. I put in place weekly meetings, an intranet, and dedicated email accounts to keep every member of the team in the loop with what was happening and the progress we were making. This also gave people the opportunity to discuss their concerns and put forward their ideas.
  • “We ran both systems side-by-side, rolling out one team at a time over the course of three months, with team training and individual coaching.”
  • “The project came in 15% under budget and was delivered two months early.
  • “With team leaders now able to view their financials in real time, the division was able to reduce its inventory and move to just-in-time procurement. With lower inventory, we reduced storage needed and improved cash flow, with a direct impact measured at a 12% improvement to the bottom line.
  • “I was rewarded with a 25% bonus and a promotion to the division’s leadership team.”
  • Five final tips to polish your behavioural interview performance

    These five final tips will help you ace the behavioural questions interview using the STAR interview technique:

    You can use these questions as a reference to determine your own accounting interview strategy. Applicants that answer these types of questions well are the ones that are most likely to respond to similar situations well while at your company. Recruitment involves asking questions that help you determine how someone will do at the job. The best way to do that is by asking about real situations, and these behavioural interview questions will help you make that determination.

    Almost every company needs an accountant or bookkeeper to help them manage their finances. Every single dollar that goes in and out of your company has to be correctly accounted for, in order to make business decisions, determine revenue, file taxes, and more. But doing so requires the right type of accountant. Given how important your financial details are to your success, it is important to find the very best accountants – and the ones that are going to successfully thrive in your company. Behavioural Interview Questions for Accountants More and more companies are using behavioural interview questions as a way to determine who is prepared for the job. These questions ask for real life scenarios to see how the person handled them, and they force people to think back to experiences they are unlikely to have prepared for so that the interview is more genuine. For those that need help finding behavioural interview questions for accountants, consider the following:

    3 most frequently asked accounting interview questions

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