Public Accountant Job Interview Questions & Answers

Got a big interview where you’ll be applying as a Public Accountant? Don’t sweat it! Listed below, you’ll find some of the most common Public Accountant interview questions as well as some examples of how to answer. Check em out below and thank us later!

What experience do you have (if any) as a Public Accountant?

Here, you’ll obviously want to speak to your specific skills as they relate to the position you’re applying for. Don’t get caught off guard by this question should you not any actual experience. Plan ahead and have something relatable to share. In doing this, you can actually turn your lack of experience into a showcase for your ability to relate and connect similar skillsets.

Answer Sample:

I believe the core requirement for x is y – and through my volunteer work I gained a ton of experience in how x fundamentally relates to y

Things are changing quickly in our industry. What do you feel are the biggest challenges within the role of Public Accountant?

To be certain, a wide range of answers are acceptable here. AI, automation, and inexpensive labor are all interesting items to bring up. However, be prepared to explain why you answered the way you did – and do some research ahead of time.

Answer Sample:

Its hard to know for sure with industry factors such as x and y changing so many things – all I can say is that Im excited for the challenges that come with that

How do you minimize the risk for errors in your work?

While we all make mistakes, accountants can afford no such luxury. Here, your interviewer isn’t looking for some superhuman form of error free workmanship. What your interviewer seeks here is a process for quality control.

Answer Sample:

While it may sound funny, Ive developed my own system for quality control that I call the x – its never let me down yet!

Tell me about a time you used numbers to tell an effective story?

What’s being asked for here is an example of when you were able to prove a point by providing truth through the data. Most accountants and financial professionals are doing this on a daily basis, but try and illustrate the impact of what you provided.

Answer Sample:

In a recent client meeting, by clearly visualizing some key figures we were able to save them $10s of thousands in tax payable.

Tell me about a time when you received difficult feedback. How did you react?

Difficult feedback is difficult for a reason. Your interviewer realizes that everyone makes mistakes, and they’re not looking to hang you out to dry. What you’re going to want to do here is be sure to let the interviewer know what you did in reaction to this feedback. Was there ownership of a mistake, or deflection? By showing your cool in the reaction itself, you demonstrate leadership characteristics that employers love.

Answer Sample:

Ill never forget the time my old boss talked to me about x. The way it was handled was totally professional, and thats been my model ever since.

Would those that know you describe you as a detail oriented person? Why might they describe you that way?

Details, details, details! You’d be hard pressed to find any job in the accounting & finance industry where being detail oriented isn’t a major requirement. Like many non-valid responses, your statement ‘yes I am a detail oriented person’ is not going to cut it.

Answer Sample:

A careful review of x revealed that y and z were out of order, ultimately preventing a costly audit

Which software and/or applications are you proficient in?

You’d be hard pressed to find an accounting firm these days where software isn’t at the cornerstone of how they operate. In the event that you don’t have experience with popular software, familiarize yourself with industry standards ahead of time. Spend a night and compile names of cutting edge platforms, and mention these along with their purpose to your interviewer.

Answer Sample:

Most of my experience is with x, but I downloaded a demo of y and really think it warrants a closer look

Regarding culture, what environment do you feel you do your best work in?

Culture is king these days, and for good reason. It’s more than simply ‘the way things are done’, it’s how things are done and why. You’ll want to be careful here, indicating that you are able to thrive in a variety of work enviornments.

Answer Sample:

I succeed when given clear, consise direction and find a balance of solo effort and working alongside a team is when Im most productive

Without revealing too much info – why are you leaving your last job?

An innocent question, but deadly if answered improperly. Your need for better pay or indicating that your ‘old boss was an idiot’ may leave your interviewer with the wrong impression of you. Even if you were subject to downsizing or let go for other reasons, keep it short and concise, and avoid drama regardless of how tempting it may be.

Answer Sample:

Working at x was a great experience for a vareity of reasons, but now its time to seek out new challenges