Accountancy & Financial Management

A Quick Checklist for Accounting Interviews

Preparing for an accounting job interview can be a challenging task, but it's an important part of making a great first impression.
Jevitha Muthusamy
Editorial Writer
A Quick Checklist for Accounting Interviews

Accounting is a highly sought-after field, and competition for jobs can be fierce. To help you stand out as a candidate during the interview process, here is a quick checklist to run through before interviewing for an accounting position:

Pre- Interview Preparation Checklist 

Print multiple copies of your CV 

In some interviews, you may be required to meet multiple members of the management team. Print at least two or three copies of your CV (on high-quality paper if possible) and bring those with you to the interview. Not everyone who’s in the room on the day may have copies of your CV, so having extra copies on hand for them helps demonstrate your attention to detail and professionalism. 

Having a hard copy of your CV on hand is useful too, in case you need to refer to it to refresh your memory during the interview or double-check something in your CV that an interviewer is asking about.

Brush up on your basics

Do a quick run-through of your accounting coursework and make sure that you can properly explain key fundamental accounting concepts and terms – especially those most relevant to the role you are applying for. 

Your interviewers may quiz you on these topics to test if you have a good grasp of the fundamentals. They will likely also want to see how well you can explain financial concepts in simple, easily-understood terms – a key skill for accounting professionals in the working world.

Revisit your employer research 

You should have already researched the employer before submitting your job application. Now is the time to go over your research again so that you can clearly articulate to the employer why you want to work for them.

Your interviewers will ask you questions to test how much you know about their organisation and whether you truly know what you’re signing up for. Having the right talking points at your fingertips will be key to impressing them.

Pay special attention to the following points when going over your employer research:

  • What does the employer do?
  • How big is their organisation?
  • What are their business areas?
  • Who are their customers/clients?
  • What are their particular strengths?
  • What culture do they want to publicly embody?

Anticipate common interview questions

Try to prepare a list of common interview questions and your potential answers to them. This can help you provide strong and articulate responses in your interview so that you’re not just thinking on your toes all the time. 

Your answers should draw on specific examples from your past experiences that can show you are qualified for the job.

Common interview questions might fall under the following categories:

  • Personal motivations (e.g. “Why did you choose to go into accounting?” “Why do you want to be chartered under X professional body?”)
  • Technical knowledge (e.g. “How would you go about the process of budget forecasting?” “What are key areas to look out for when auditing a company?”)
  • Soft skills (e.g. “Can you tell us about a time when you had to lead a team?” “Please walk us through a past project where you had to work under pressure.”)
  • Broader market awareness (e.g. “How do you stay up-to-date with changes in accounting regulations and best practices?” “Please explain how recent changes in corporate tax rates might affect Malaysian companies.”) 

Prepare questions to ask your interviewer 

Asking thoughtful and well-researched questions can demonstrate your interest in the role and the company, and can also help you gather important information that can inform your decision about accepting a job offer.

Try to focus your questions on topics that are relevant to the roles and the company. Some examples might include:

  • Can you tell me more about what the day-to-day responsibilities of this role involve?
  • What can I expect in terms of professional development and career advancement?
  • What kind of management style do you have in your organisation?
  • How does the company's culture and values transfer into the work you do?
  • What allowances are there for qualifying with a professional body?
  • Can you tell me more about the company's plans for growth and expansion?

Interview Preparation Checklist

Dress the part

When it comes to interview attire for accounting jobs, it is best to err on the side of caution and wear formal business attire. 

For men, this means a suit (preferably a dark color like navy or black) with a button-down dress shirt, a tie, and dress shoes. For ladies, a suit with an appropriate blouse or dress accompanied by dress shoes. 

It is also important to pay attention to the small details. Make sure your shoes are polished and clean, your hair is well-groomed, and your nails are well-kept and not too flashy.

With that said, some employers may have a more casual dress code. If your research shows that this is the case, feel free to check with recruiters about acceptable dress codes before the interview.

Arrive on time

It is crucial to be punctual and show that you are reliable and respect your interviewers’ time.

Plan ahead and allow extra time for any unforeseen circumstances such as traffic or public transportation delays. It's also a good idea to map out the location of the interview and familiarise yourself with the route in advance.

Be courteous 

Be polite and respectful to everyone you encounter during the interview day, from the receptionist or cleaner all the way up to the interviewer. 

It's also important to be courteous during the interview itself. This means listening attentively to your interviewers’ questions and providing appropriate and respectful answers. Aside from that, it's also important to avoid interrupting the interviewer, and to show interest in the position and the company by asking relevant and insightful questions.