9 Accounting Interview Questions + How to Prepare Answers

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Discover how to answer priority questions for your upcoming accounting interview and use our tips and resources in your job search.

[Featured Image] Two accountants prepare to answer accounting interview questions together. They are standing at a large conference table in a room lined with bookshelves.

What to expect for an accounting interview

An upcoming interview for an accounting position can be exciting, whether you are launching your career, looking for an advanced role, or even switching to accounting from another industry. You may wonder what questions employers will ask you, what answers you should prepare to showcase your accounting knowledge, and what else you should expect for your interview. 

As with interviews in many professions, it’s a good idea to reflect not only on your skills in the accounting field, like preparing financial statements and balance sheets and using software but also on your workplace skills, such as communication and analytical thinking. In addition, it’s important to explain to employers how your skills, experience, and education can translate to a company’s success.

Read on to discover accounting and common interview questions employers may ask you during the hiring process and how you can prepare with techniques like the STAR Method to answer successfully.

9 accounting interview questions 

We selected the questions in this section to give you an idea of what accounting job seekers encounter during interviews and how employers design interviews to find the best candidates. Below, you’ll find technical and other questions highlighting how you’ve performed in past roles and exploring how you might handle situations that might arise in the position you’re applying for.  

These questions are based on: 

  • Job seekers’ reports on Glassdoor of accounting questions they’ve answered 

  • Advice for employers on Indeed and LinkedIn on what to look for in an accounting candidate

1. Which accounting software packages are you comfortable using? 

Employers ask this to gauge your familiarity with the various software programs available, especially those you’d be using in the role you’re applying to fill. 

Prepare your answer by reflecting on your experience with programs and how you’ve found them useful in your previous accounting roles. In addition, research programs that you may not have experience with and prepare to discuss the range of possibilities for the role. 

2. What are the common financial statements used in accounting?  

Employers ask this to test your accounting knowledge and how you demonstrate your understanding of different concepts and processes. 

Prepare your answer by reviewing definitions of different types of financial statements, such as the balance sheet, income statements, and cash flow statement, and reviewing your own experience putting these statements together.

3. How would you explain a complicated accounting process or report to someone outside the accounting team? 

Employers ask this to understand how you conduct cross-functional conversations and explain accounting concepts well enough to help non-accountants make informed decisions. 

Prepare your answer by reflecting on different accounting scenarios, writing down explanations in simple terms, and connecting them to business procedures that people in non-accounting roles would be responsible for. 

4. What is your accounting experience in different industries? 

Employers ask this to understand the diversity of your experience in different accounting departments and your ability to adapt to different contexts easily.  

Prepare your answer by reflecting on your past work experiences. If you have diverse accounting experience, practice emphasizing how you adapted to different accounting requirements. If your accounting experience is limited to only a few industries or roles, practice emphasizing the diversity of projects you may have completed. 

5. How do you stay up-to-date on new tax laws and regulations? 

Employers ask this to gauge how you will continue your education as an accountant and keep your skills current.  

Prepare your answer by taking inventory of accounting influencers or brands you are subscribed to, conferences and classes you attend, and courses and certificate programs you’ve completed. Take some time before the interview to identify additional career development resources you’d like. Practice explaining how you apply new tax law and regulation insights to past and current roles. 

6. What accounting processes are you most familiar with?

Employers ask this to determine how the specifics of your accounting background—the actual tasks, processes, and projects you’ve been responsible for in previous roles or learned about through coursework—will translate to the role you want to fill.  

Prepare your answer by making a list of accounting processes with which you are familiar and writing down examples of how these processes work in real-world business situations. 

7. How do you handle a tight deadline and multiple accounting projects you’re responsible for? 

Employers ask this to determine how you adjust your productivity and workflow when pressure mounts. 

Prepare your answer by emphasizing your time management skills. You can point to past work experiences or describe how you’d handle hypothetical work situations relevant to the position you’re applying for.  

8. How have you used automation to improve accounting processes? 

Employers ask this to learn how you can bring efficiency and precision to the accounting team. 

Prepare your answer by exploring your experience with automation and its measurable effect on projects you’ve worked on in the past. 

9. What experience do you have leading an accounting team? 

Employers ask this to learn about your leadership skills and how they might apply to the position you’re applying for. 

Prepare your answer by exploring all your past leadership experiences in accounting, including leadership roles or instances when you’ve headed up a project. 

In addition to preparing to answer priority questions, use the following tips and resources we’ve compiled to interview with confidence:  

  • Conduct thorough research into each company you're applying for, including the mission statement and values, products they offer, growth potential, and online presence.  

  • Prepare questions to ask potential employers. These might include, “What are the next steps in the recruitment process?” or “What would you like a new hire in this role to accomplish in the first 90 days?”

  • Prepare to answer general interview questions like, “Why are you leaving your current job?” or “Tell me about a time you corrected a mistake you made on the job.” 

  • Prepare to answer behavioural questions (about your past work experiences) and situational interview questions (how you’d handle hypothetical work situations) with STAR Method (Situation, Task, Action, and Result) answers.

  • Update your LinkedIn profile and resume to showcase the best of your professional history.  

Build job-ready accounting skills with Coursera.

Online courses can be a great way to build accounting knowledge, discover career options, and even gather ideas for your upcoming interview. Explore options on Coursera, such as Introduction to Finance and Accounting Specialisation or Introduction to Data Analytics for Accounting Professionals.

Keep reading

Updated on
Written by:

Editorial Team

Coursera’s editorial team is comprised of highly experienced professional editors, writers, and fact...

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.