Preparing for your accounting interview

You’ve got the call you we’ve been waiting for! You have been selected for an interview!

At first, you’re happy and excited, but quickly those emotions turn into nervousness and anxiety. You want to do your very best at the interview and get the job you’ve been dreaming of.

What can you do to make sure that you’re as prepared as possible for the interview?

  1. Review the job description and research the company you’ve applied at

Make sure you have a good understanding of what the company is looking for. Review the job description so you know what tasks you’ll be expected to perform, what reports you’ll need to prepare and generally, what you’ll be doing on a day-to-day basis if you’re selected.

Before the interview, research the company or organization. Review their website, Google their name, and see if they have been recently featured in the media. It’s important to understand what they do and, where they operate. One of the first questions the hiring manager asks is often “So, how much do you know about our company?” You want to make sure you have a strong answer to start the interview.

  1. Review your CV

Re-read your CV and make sure you’re comfortable talking about each of your past positions. Think about how you will link your past experience or education to the role.

For example, if one of the responsibilities is to manage petty cash and you’ve done that in the past, be ready to talk about that! If you don’t have experience that relates directly to the role, think about what your response will be.

For example, if the job description states you’ll prepare bank reconciliations each month, but you haven’t done that in the past, but you have done that as part of the African Accounting Academy course! Explain to the hiring manager that you’ve practiced preparing them many times, and are excited to prepare them for their company.

  1. Prepare relevant questions

Come prepared with questions for your interviewer. Make sure these questions are relevant and interesting. It’s fine to ask some basic questions about the position – things like start date, salary range, reporting structure, but you should also ask some questions that show you’re interested in the company and the team you’ll be working with.

As an accountant, you’ll be an important member of the company, so it’s very important that you are interested in the work they’re doing. Here are a few I like to ask:

  • Can you tell me a bit about the structure of the team, and who I’ll be working with?
  • What are some of the challenges the company has faced in the past and how have you worked through them?
  • What are the company’s goals for the next 3-5 years?
  1. Practice!

Practice makes perfect! It may seem silly, but practice by preparing responses and reciting answers out loud to commonly asked questions (such as “Tell me about yourself”). You could ask a friend or family member to ask you questions or even just practicing in front of a mirror makes a big difference. You shouldn’t memorize answers, but practicing what you’ll say will give you confidence. I’ve interviewed candidates before that forget about their past experience, only because they are nervous and haven’t prepared well enough!

Do you have any other interview tips or have questions on how to prepare for an interview? Share them in the comments section below.

6 thoughts on “Preparing for your accounting interview”

    1. Great question Zephilin. Your interviewer will likely want to know what you are good at and where you’ll need more support from your manager and team. You should always be ready to talk about what you are good at (your strengths) and any areas that you need improvement (your weaknesses).

  1. These tips are very constructive and I can suggest thatan interview can keep the eye contact and go straight to the point!

    1. Hi Zephilin, another good question! In an interview, the potential employer will likely ask about your salary expectation. It is best to be honest about what you expect. Make sure you are prepared to give them a realistic range you would be comfortable with.

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