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Staff Accountant Interview Questions

- Education and experience: The interviewer may ask about your accounting education and any relevant experience you have in the field. They may also ask about your proficiency with specific accounting software programs.
- Technical aptitude: Accounting requires a certain level of technical aptitude, so the interviewer may ask about your ability to work with spreadsheets, analyze financial data, and perform other technical tasks.
- Communication skills: Staff accountants may need to communicate with colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders, so the interviewer may ask about your communication skills and your ability to explain complex financial information in a clear and concise manner.
- Problem-solving abilities: Accounting involves identifying and resolving financial discrepancies, so the interviewer may ask about your problem-solving abilities and your approach to resolving accounting issues.
- Interpersonal skills: Staff accountants work as part of a team, so the interviewer may ask about your ability to work collaboratively with others and your approach to conflict resolution.

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Interviewer: Good morning! Can you please introduce yourself?

Candidate: Good morning! My name is John Smith and I am a recent Accounting graduate from the University of XYZ.

Interviewer: Why did you decide to pursue a career in Accounting?

Candidate: I have always had a passion for numbers and I enjoy problem-solving. I believe Accounting provides an opportunity to work with complex data and help companies make sound financial decisions.

Interviewer: Can you walk us through your experience with Microsoft Excel?

Candidate: Absolutely. I have used Excel extensively throughout my coursework and internships. I am proficient in functions such as VLOOKUP, pivot tables, and charts.

Interviewer: Have you worked with any accounting software before?

Candidate: Yes, I have experience with QuickBooks and Xero.

Interviewer: How do you stay organized and prioritize your workload?

Candidate: I use a task list to prioritize my work and set realistic deadlines. I also regularly update my calendar to ensure I am meeting deadlines and not missing any important meetings or assignments.

Interviewer: Can you tell us about a time when you had to troubleshoot a financial issue for a client or teammate?

Candidate: In my previous internship, a client had an issue with their accounts receivable process. I worked with the client to identify the problem and implemented a solution that improved the process and eliminated the issue.

Interviewer: How do you keep up with changes in accounting policies and regulations?

Candidate: I regularly read relevant financial news and am a member of professional Accounting organizations. This allows me to stay up-to-date with any changes in policies and regulations.

Interviewer: Can you describe your experience with accounts payable and accounts receivable?

Candidate: I have extensive experience with accounts payable and accounts receivable, including processing invoices, creating purchase orders, and managing collections.

Interviewer: How do you ensure accuracy in your work?

Candidate: I review my work multiple times before submitting it and have a strict attention to detail. I also ask others to review my work to catch any errors I may have missed.

Interviewer: Have you ever had to manage a team before?

Candidate: I have not managed a team before, but I have experience working collaboratively with others on projects and supervising interns.

Interviewer: Can you tell us about a project you worked on that required you to analyze data and develop insights?

Candidate: In a previous internship, I analyzed sales data for a client and identified trends that allowed us to make recommendations to increase revenue.

Interviewer: What is your familiarity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)?

Candidate: I have a strong foundation in GAAP from my coursework and am confident in my ability to apply its principles to real world scenarios.

Interviewer: Can you tell us about a time when you had to work under a tight deadline?

Candidate: In a previous job, I had to prepare monthly financial statements on a tight deadline. I worked overtime and prioritized my tasks to ensure the statements were submitted on time.

Interviewer: Are you currently studying for any certifications in accounting?

Candidate: Yes, I am currently studying for the CPA exam.

Interviewer: Why do you think you would be a good fit for this position?

Candidate: I have the technical skills and knowledge required for the job, and I am also a quick learner and a dedicated worker. I believe I can contribute to the team and help the company achieve its financial goals.

Scenario Questions

1. Scenario: The company has a Credit Sales account with a balance of $150,000 for the current month. The terms of payment are 30 days. How would you record this transaction in the books of accounts?

Candidate Answer: This transaction would be recorded by debiting the Accounts Receivable account and crediting the Credit Sales account. The entry would be:
Debit Accounts Receivable $150,000
Credit Credit Sales $150,000

2. Scenario: A client's account has become delinquent, and the company has decided to write off the $5,000 balance as uncollectible. How would you adjust the accounting records for this write-off?

Candidate Answer: To adjust the accounting records, we would need to debit the Bad Debt Expense account and credit the Accounts Receivable account. The entry would be:
Debit Bad Debt Expense $5,000
Credit Accounts Receivable $5,000

3. Scenario: A supplier has provided an invoice for goods received, but the invoice amount is $500 more than the agreed-upon price. How would you handle this situation?

Candidate Answer: If the invoice amount is higher than the agreed-upon price, we would need to create a debit memo for the supplier. This memo would serve to reduce the amount we owe the supplier by the $500. The entry would be:
Debit Accounts Payable $500
Credit Purchase Price Variance $500

4. Scenario: The company has a long-term investment in a subsidiary that has experienced a decline in its value. How would you account for this decline in value?

Candidate Answer: To account for the decline in value of the long-term investment, we would need to record a loss on the investment. The entry would be:
Debit Loss on Investment $20,000
Credit Investment in Subsidiary $20,000

5. Scenario: The company has a loan of $50,000 with an interest rate of 6% per year. The loan is for 4 years, and interest is compounded quarterly. What is the total interest expense over the life of the loan?

Candidate Answer: The total interest expense over the life of the loan would be calculated using the formula:
Total Interest = Principal x Interest Rate x Time
Total Interest = $50,000 x 6% x 4 years
Total Interest = $12,000
Since the interest is compounded quarterly, we would need to divide the total interest by the number of compounding periods:
Total Interest = $12,000 / (4 years x 4 quarters per year)
Total Interest = $750 per quarter.