What to expect in a 2021 accounting job interview


Traditionally, fall is the time of year when accounting firms focus on recruiting, recruiting internships and for the next year and full-time positions for the next busy season. But so far 2021 has been anything but traditional. With the economy improving and many companies focusing on advice and counseling, many companies are in need of talent. In addition, many CPAs and new graduates are looking to advance their careers.

The skills demanded by accounting firms have also changed. While technical accounting skills remain important, companies have started to hire different skill sets, focusing on people with knowledge and experience in technology, marketing, data analytics, process improvement, project management, entrepreneurship and more.

The way a company conducts an interview and the questions asked by interviewers vary from company to company. But here’s what you can expect in an accounting job interview in 2021.

Virtual component

Don’t be surprised if you are asked to do one or more interviews virtually. Over the past year and a half, companies have realized that meeting clients and colleagues virtually saves time and money and want to ensure that anyone they hire can manage a workplace. remote or hybrid.

Show that you can handle technology, communicate well and feel comfortable in front of the camera, and you will be able to pass this part of the interview process with flying colors.

Questions about other certifications

A bachelor’s degree in accounting (or a related field) is a no-brainer, but many companies now want to know what other you know. Expect interviewers to ask you questions about your minor or if you have obtained other certifications or taken courses in Marketing and Sales, Entrepreneurship, Project Management, Business, Data Analytics, or Information Technology. .

Case in point: I recently attended a leadership seminar for potential interns organized by a large regional company. When asked what other courses or certifications the participants had taken, one responded that she had taken the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification course offered at her university. You better believe that every business leader in the room perked up and wrote their name.

A focus on success skills

In the past, companies might have tested candidates on their accounting skills to make sure they understood how accounting works. These skills are still important, but companies are putting more emphasis on the skills for success.

I have seen a dramatic increase in the assessment of a candidate’s communication skills, problem solving, time management and critical thinking skills. Businesses are willing to teach people how to perform an audit, prepare a tax return, or read a financial statement. Emotional intelligence (EQ) and the ability to communicate effectively with clients and colleagues are more difficult to teach, so they want to hire people who already have skills in this area.

Proof that you have done your research

Interviewers expect job applicants to do their research before sitting down for an interview. Review the company’s website and social media profiles to understand who they are, the services they offer, and the customers they serve. Take a look at the biographies of the people you are going to interview.

This research can provide opportunities to connect with interviewers on common interests or experiences and demonstrate to the company that you are genuinely interested in the position.

Several levels of interviews

Getting a job even before you’ve finished the interview can be exciting, but it’s rarely realistic. Today, applicants should expect to pass several levels of interviews – with an HR manager, company administrator, department team members, and even a partner – before receiving an offer.

Companies organize multiple interviews for several reasons. They want to make sure the candidates they meet in person are the same candidates featured in resumes and cover letters, look for people who fit the culture of the company, and avoid making a bad hire. Coming back for a series of interviews can be frustrating, but see it as an opportunity. You also want to find the right company, bosses and coworkers. More interviews give you more time to make sure the business is right for you.

Each company takes its own approach to the interview process, but the above experiences are quite common in all businesses today. Hope these tips help you prepare for what to expect during the interview process so that you can outperform the competition and land the right job at the right company for you.


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