Accountants manage all financial transactions and related matters within a company. Their primary goal is to provide accurate information on financial position, liquidity, and cash flow to help inform business decisions and ensure the company is in strong financial standing. They also are responsible for ensuring the business is compliant with tax regulations. Their main responsibilities vary between positions but generally include auditing financial documents, tracking payments to relevant stakeholders, reconciling bank statements, budget forecasting, and processing tax payments and returns. They may also be required to communicate effectively with senior management by synthesizing and presenting key findings from financial analyses and forecasts.
Core skills for Accountants
Attention to Detail
How to effectively interview Accountant core skills
While it might seem difficult to figure out whether a candidate will succeed as an Accountant in your company, a well-developed set of interview questions that tap into the core skills required to perform in an Accountant role will go a long way in helping you decide.
But where do you start? How do you develop a set of great interview questions?
The best interview questions come directly from a job analysis. A job analysis is an evidence-based method that focuses on assessing key features of a particular role. These features describe both the job itself (i.e., tasks, responsibilities, and performance objectives), and the characteristics required of someone to perform successfully in the job (e.g., knowledge, skills, and abilities). A job analysis forms the basis of many HR practices such as compensation, performance management, and - you guessed it - how to interview and hire candidates.
At Hireguide, we’ve done the job analysis work for you. We’ve used the method to identify a core set of skills associated with the Accountant role, and we’ve developed and validated a list of behavioral and situational questions with answer guides that tap directly into those core skills. And that’s not all. We’ve compiled these questions and created an Accountant Interview Template for you that integrates other interviewing best practices. Skills-based interviews will not only help you make higher quality and evidence-based hiring decisions, but research also shows they enhance fairness and reduce bias in your hiring process.
Example questions for Accountant candidates
Imagine you found your colleagues violating a Generally Accepted Accounting Principle (GAAP). How would you respond?
- Ensures their assumption about the violation is correct
- Privately confronts colleague to inquire about their knowledge of the error
- Works to understand why the principles were violated (e.g. mistake/intentional)
- Proposes a solution that follows the relevant GAAP
- Emphasizes the importance of following GAAP to minimize business risk
In your current/former role, have you ever missed a transaction or identified an incorrect transaction? How did you detect it, and what did you do when it was identified?
- Elaborates on their missed/incorrect transaction
- Explains how they detected and corrected the error
- Discusses the implications of the error(s)
- Shares tips for how to avoid errors in ledgers in the future