Download Our Staff Accountant Interview Questions And Answers

The first step to succeeding as a staff accountant is passing the interview stage. The interview phase of the hiring process is an important step for staff accountants.

Companies need to be able to vet a candidate’s confidence and ability to explain complex financial concepts, both of which are easiest to evaluate in person. Reviewing some of the most common types of staff accountant interview questions can help you feel confident and prepared during your next accounting interview.

In this post, we’ll provide downloadable staff accountant interview questions, advice on how to reply, and sample answers to help you think about your own responses.

See the table of contents below.

Table of Contents Hide
  1. Who Is A Staff Accountant?
  2. What Does A Staff Accountant Do?
  3. What Are Recruiters Looking For In Staff Accountants?
    1. Written Communication
    2. Verbal Communication
    3. Time Management and Prioritization
    4. Technical Experience
    5. Attention to Detail
  4. How To Answer Staff Accounting Job Interview Questions
  5. Tips On How To Pass A Staff Accounting Interview
    1. Be prepared for questions
    2. Do research
    3. Look organized
  6. Example of Staff Accountant Interview Questions and Answers
    1. Question 1 – Why did you choose a career in accounting?
    2. Question 2 – What would you say is the role of an accountant? 
    3. Question 3 – What would you say is the role of an accountant? What accounting software(s) have you used? 
    4. Question 4 – How do you remain current with accounting laws and regulations? 
    5. Question 5 – Do you have your CPA? 
    6. Question 6 – How comfortable are you learning a new technology or software? 
    7. Question 7 – How do you think AI and automation will change how accounting is done? 
    8. Question 8 – What background do you have in other industries? 
    9. Question 9 – How do you handle tight accounting deadlines?
    10. Question 10 – How do you explain complex accounting issues to someone with no accounting experience, such as management? 
    11. Question 11 – What reports have you generated in past positions? 
    12. Question 12 – Have you reduced costs at past positions? If so, how? 
    13. Question 13 – What processes are you most familiar with in accounting?
    14. Question 14 – What background do you have working in different industries?
    15. Question 15 – How do you prioritize your day?
  7. FAQs On Staff Accountant Interview Questions and Answers
  8. Conclusion
  9. References
  10. We Also Recommend

Who Is A Staff Accountant?

Indeed defines a staff accountant as a certified accountant that holds a mid-level position between junior and senior accountants. Staff accountants must have bachelor’s degrees in accounting, finances, or mathematics and can get the same credentials as an accountant.

Staff accountants maintain financial reports and ledgers, prepare budgets, file billing, and perform general bookkeeping. Most staff accountants report to a controller, director, or certified public accountant. These accountants may also undertake basic auditing responsibilities and guarantee compliance with appropriate local, state, and/or federal financial regulations in some circumstances.

Most staff accountants work under directors in a corporate environment where they maintain budgets and ledgers and also serve as bookkeepers. Typically they carry out their duties at their desks in offices. To be a staff accountant, you must be organized, detail-oriented, and excellent with numbers.

Before we go on to show you few staff accountant interview questions, let’s take a quick look at the duties of a staff accountant.

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What Does A Staff Accountant Do?

Staff accountants maintain financial reports and ledgers, prepare budgets, file billing, and perform general bookkeeping. Most staff accountants report to a controller, director, or certified public accountant. These accountants may also undertake basic auditing responsibilities and guarantee compliance with appropriate local, state, and/or federal financial regulations in some circumstances.

Additionally, staff accountants must demonstrate an aptitude for data analysis, strong tech skills, and tax and budgeting know-how. They also excel at critical and analytical thinking, mathematics, and written and oral communication.

Staff accountants usually work in an accounting department within a corporation or firm. While most find work in the financial industry, many pursue roles in other areas. Most large organizations, including education, medical, and legal entities, require budgeting and bookkeeping experts.

Renowned accounting firms, corporations, and non-profit organizations rely on in-house accountants to manage finance, budget, and tax returns.

Staff accountants use technology to perform their day-to-day responsibilities. In addition to the Microsoft Office suite, many firms use specialized software for financial analysis, data collection, and database management.

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What Are Recruiters Looking For In Staff Accountants?

According to recruiters in the accounting industry, the most desirable candidates are expected to have experience working in public accounting for a large firm. But if you don’t have that, you are still on the right path. There are many other skills, competencies, and experiences that you can demonstrate to set yourself apart.

When interviewing for staff accounting roles, it’s important to demonstrate a healthy mix of both technical acumen and soft skills. One of the most told fallacies is that staff accountants sit behind a computer for hours, looking at numbers and formulas with no human contact ever. That’s not true! To be a staff accountant you need to display a satisfactory level of communication.

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Here are the five main skills most recruiters look out for in staff accountants:

Written Communication

Hiring managers will want to know that you have strong writing abilities, since you may be preparing audit reports, creating work papers, developing and updating financial statements, and giving updates to internal or external customers as needed.

Verbal Communication

Strong verbal communication skills are valuable for success in staff accounting. As a staff accountant, you will be communicating with clients, both internal and external.

Time Management and Prioritization

Accountants are responsible for a wide range of activities, particularly at month-end, quarter-end, and year-end accounting. You might be in and out of client meetings, producing work papers, examining financial paperwork, and talking through your customers’ accounting procedures in a single day. It is critical to be able to perform well under pressure and to know how to arrange your work so that your duties are completed on time.

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Technical Experience

Accounting is, without a question, a highly technical profession. Aisha Holt, a corporate accounting recruiter with Tradesmen International, makes it a point to assess candidates’ familiarity with various accounting tools and software. Accounting programs are used to generate financial statements, journal entries, account reconciliations, and other critical accounting operations. You’ll be dealing with these tools every day, so recruiters want to see that you’re informed and up to speed on the profession’s latest developing technology.

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Attention to Detail

Accounting relies heavily on precise reporting with zero mistakes. Can you imagine the financial ramifications if a $1 million account was inflated or underestimated and an auditor failed to detect the error? An accountant’s job is to maintain high integrity since the public relies on ethical reporting, and there are a plethora of rules that accountants must follow. As a result, applicants must demonstrate that they sweat the small stuff and are unlikely to make or miss an error that results in a big loss.

How To Answer Staff Accounting Job Interview Questions

Staff accounting interview questions are a mix of questions about accounting, your accounting skills, behavioral questions regarding character, soft skills, and personal work ethics.

To make the best out of the session, always give an honest reply when a question is thrown at you during the interview. If you fail to do so, the interviewer is most likely to notice and decide that your lack of candor is a red flag for deeper problems.

For the most success, use instances from your career in your responses and keep your answers well organized. You want to tell a story that’s compelling and fact-based, but don’t delve too deeply into details.

However, you can increase your chances of performing well by practicing with our staff accountant interview questions below.

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Tips On How To Pass A Staff Accounting Interview

If you desire to excel in a staff accounting interview process, here are the following tips to follow:

Be prepared for questions

By getting prepared for questions, you are expected to be familiar with the job description and prepare yourself in line with the listed requirements. You can come prepared with a few samples and stories that will highlight your relatable skills and show how it adds value to the company.

Do research

You need to research the company to help tailor your responses. Do well to look out for news stories about the company, browse through their official websites and social media handles.

Look organized

Staying calm and organized in an interview session is the greatest salesman. Ensure you come into the session feeling confident in yourself. Don’t forget to arrange your portfolio neatly.

Example of Staff Accountant Interview Questions and Answers

Here is a list of possible staff accountant interview questions with their most likely answers:

Question 1 – Why did you choose a career in accounting?

The goal of this question is to determine what inspires you. When the interviewer asks this question, he or she is most likely attempting to evaluate your enthusiasm for your position.

Sample Answer

I chose a career in accounting because I wanted to join a valued and trusted profession where I could make a valuable contribution to a company.

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Question 2 – What would you say is the role of an accountant? 

Your answer to this question will most likely reveal to the interviewer how you see your job, such as where you think you fit in the big scheme of things, what you think your major duties are, and how important you think your function is. It also reveals to the interviewer how seriously you regard your job, whether you feel your work is important or insignificant.

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Sample Answer

The role of an accountant is to assist in financial processes that help a business run smoothly, including budgeting, bookkeeping, and auditing. As such, an accountant’s duty is to render valuable insights that help their managers and coworkers make important decisions.

Question 3 – What would you say is the role of an accountant? What accounting software(s) have you used? 

This is a technical inquiry intended to assess your level of experience. Mention your experience with the program they use first, followed by others. If you have no prior experience with this program, emphasize that you are a quick learner keen to take on a new challenge.

Sample Answer

I have experience with Quickbooks and Xero. (You can mention any other software you know how to use)

Question 4 – How do you remain current with accounting laws and regulations? 

This staff accountant interview question helps the interviewer decide how seriously you take your job. Staying up-to-date with laws and regulations is crucial for any good accountant, so make sure to mention your method for continuing your education.

Sample Answer

I attend accounting seminars on a monthly basis, and I also subscribe to AICPA newsletters to stay up-to-date with all relevant changes.

Question 5 – Do you have your CPA? 

Another technical question – This is merely to establish your degree of accounting knowledge and experience.

Sample Answer

Yes, I have my CPA, which I earned in 2010.

Question 6 – How comfortable are you learning a new technology or software? 

This staff accountant interview question attempts to learn whether you are someone who is able to adapt to new technologies and methods or if you are someone who finds it difficult to adjust to new technologies. When answering this question, try to use an instance to show how you were able to adapt in the past. Anyone can claim they are adaptable, but it is more meaningful if you can prove it.

Sample Answer

I am very comfortable with new technology, and I pick up new software quickly.

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Question 7 – How do you think AI and automation will change how accounting is done? 

This question is intended to assess your readiness to adapt to new situations and technology, as well as to evaluate if you are the type of person who plans ahead of time. By indicating that you have considered the future of accounting, you are proving that you are someone who is in it for the long haul, someone who this firm might have around for a long time.

Sample Answer

I believe that AI is the next step for accounting, and it’s important that we utilize this tool to our benefit rather than resisting change. It can help prevent errors as well as make the process significantly faster.

Question 8 – What background do you have in other industries? 

This question allows the interviewer to learn more about your expertise outside of accounting that may be useful in the position you are looking for. This additional information may be what distinguishes you from the competition and makes you appear more well-rounded.

Sample Answer

I have a background in insurance, business development, and customer service.

Question 9 – How do you handle tight accounting deadlines?

Interviewers want to know how you respond to stressful situations, as they are bound to occur in a work environment. Answer this question with a story about your organizational and time management skills and how you use those skills to get work done on time.

Example Answer

I always plan ahead and keep an accurate calendar.

Question 10 – How do you explain complex accounting issues to someone with no accounting experience, such as management? 

Accountants are frequently required to explain complex topics to those who have little accounting knowledge, therefore it is critical that you demonstrate your ability to explain things in layman’s terms. Your best option will be to tell a narrative of a time when you did this in order to have a specific issue handled.

Sample Answer

I believe explaining complex issues is best done using metaphors and avoiding a possibly supercilious tone.

Question 11 – What reports have you generated in past positions? 

This question intends to examine how well you present complicated information in an understandable way. Generating reports is a way accountants can broadcast information to people like supervisors or management, and these reports demonstrate your skills in describing problems and proposing possible solutions.

Sample Answer:

I have created a variety of financial reports, including annual budgets, balance sheets, and statements of cash flow.

Question 12 – Have you reduced costs at past positions? If so, how? 

The interviewer will ask this to give you the chance to talk about past success. This staff accountant interview question also gives you the chance to show how you can bring these cost-saving habits to the company, allowing you to describe what a valuable asset you can be.

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Sample Answer

I reduced costs by identifying areas where we were overspending and by reducing the annual budget by 10%.

Question 13 – What processes are you most familiar with in accounting?

Because accounting duties differ from one business to the next, hiring managers may use this question to learn more about the work you’ve done and how it relates to the job you’d perform with them. A good response is one that carefully Xrays your previous duties. You should mention the accounts for which you are accountable, as well as the sections of the financial statement for which you are responsible. This is also an excellent time to discuss with the recruiting manager any processes that you helped to improve.

Sample Answer

In my last role, I was responsible for reviewing the general ledgers, posting closing journal entries, and reconciling accounts. I also work closely with the leaders in my department to evaluate any unusual variations in spending, particularly for high-risk accounts. While I do work for a large organization, I have developed strong working relationships with a group of our internal clients and I’m responsible for facilitating communication between the finance department and those clients.

Question 14 – What background do you have working in different industries?

Hiring managers may ask this question in order to better understand how your experience relates to the industry. This is a significant issue for them because the methods and laws vary from sector to industry. An excellent answer to this question should stress your experience in the industry in which the position is located. If you don’t have any experience in that industry, talk about one that is.

Sample Answer

While I’ve had experience in financial services, healthcare and manufacturing, I’m mostly involved in the manufacturing industry. I enjoy the intricacies of the industry and the challenges it affords. It’s actually because you discuss manufacturing clients on your company website that I was attracted to this position.

Question 15 – How do you prioritize your day?

Staff accounts are in charge of a huge quantity of work. This question may be asked by the recruiting manager to determine how you would prioritize and balance your work if deadlines are approaching or your workload dramatically increases. A solid response to this topic should include a discussion of organization, excellent communication with a team and clients, and time management.

Sample Answer

I always keep an ongoing to-do list of things that I need to get done. On that list, I mark items as low, medium, and high priority. I start the day by working on the things that are of the highest priority and set time limits for the amount of time that I allow myself to spend on different tasks. During especially busy periods I rely on my calendar and block off times for accomplishing specific tasks. I also break up big tasks into smaller pieces so I can do a bit at a time without getting overwhelmed. I check in with my team and manager regularly to make sure everything is on track, especially when we’re approaching the end of the month or the end of the quarter.

FAQs On Staff Accountant Interview Questions and Answers

Who is a staff accountant?

A staff accountant is a certified accountant that holds a mid-level position between junior and senior accountants.

Why should I be a staff accountant?


Some of the benefits of being a staff accountant are job security, opportunities for advancement, good earning potential, and diverse job options that include part-time, full-time, and temporary work

How much does a staff accountant earn?

The average salary for a staff accountant is $49,858. However, there are many factors that can affect this number, including experience or degree level. 

What is the difference between an accountant and a staff accountant?


Staff accountants hold more credentials and train for more specific or higher-level tasks. … Staff accountants typically advance to senior accountant positions or other management roles, whereas accountants in entry-level positions work up through mid-level positions first.

Conclusion

Our list of staff accountant interview questions comprises of questions and their sample answers. What you need to do is to carefully go through the possible questions and answer them in your terms and level of understanding.

References

  • indeed.com42 Staff Accountant Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)
  • themuse.com10 Questions You’ll Get in Your Next Accounting Interview—and How to Answer Them
  • zippia.com Staff Accountant Interview Questions (With Example Answers)
  • thebalancecareers.comCommon Accounting Interview Questions With Best Answers

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