Accounting Interview Questions

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  • Graudate Programme Audit

    4.8571/5 | Interview date: December 2016 | Job offer? Yes |

    Was this helpful? Yes 1

    Sectors: Accounting

    Difficulty rating 60.0 / 100

    Interview process

    The interview was the best interview I've ever had! The interviewers were so lovely, it felt casual enough to make you want to engage in conversation and was done in a large room with others being interviewed around you so there were no awkward silences. The questions were simple, no tricks involved! Generally the questions were what you expected: name something you've failed at, name a time you've done group work and how did that turn out, why are you interested in KPMG etc.

    Most difficult question

    Being asked what you had failed at and how to respond to that - always a hard one to answer!

    Interview tips

    Go in feeling relaxed - the whole layout meant it was really relaxing and simple but overthinking means you won't go in and be yourself! I think the most important thing was that your personality shined through, it seemed less dependent on knowing all the answers and having done everything under the sun. Just go in with enough real life examples of the key attributes and just be yourself!

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    The assessment day consisted of three parts: a group exercise, an interview and a written exercise. The group exercise involved designing an app, producing it from concept to actual format and then presenting it to a member of staff. This was really enjoyable and allowed you to show working well in a group. Then there was the interview. Thirdly was the written task which involved making recommendations for a company based on a set of financial information. This was the most difficult as the time was limited and you had to know what to put down and what to omit as there wasn't time to do it all. Finally, they put on a drumming session to release some stress and that was great fun! All in all the day was amazing, lots of time was allowed for socialising, lunch (which was included) was delicious and it was nice to make real friends in a calm environment!

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 5/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 5/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • Audit Graduate Scheme

    4.4286/5 | Interview date: December 2015 | Job offer? Yes |

    Was this helpful? Yes 7

    Sectors: Accounting

    Difficulty rating 40.0 / 100

    Interview process

    First off let me mention that my experience of the selection process will probably be different to many of the graduates applying for this role (I applied through a recruitment agency). The first step of the selection process was the verbal and numerical tests, I was invited to sit these in the RSM office and did not take these online.
    I was given a booklet with the numerical and verbal reasoning information mixed together, I was given 10 minutes to read through the booklet before being given the test paper with the questions on. It is important that you don't rush this step, read through all of the information and try to understand it. I was with 2 other people in the same room and they both made notes, I decided not to make any notes because of the time constraint and instead jotted down what information was on each page so I could easily refer back to it. I was given 20 minutes to answer 40 verbal reasoning questions and 35 minutes to answer 30 numerical questions. If you have reading the information properly this is not too hard, the difficultly lies in being able to access the correct information quickly.

    I was then called back for an assessment day this consisted of an interview with a member of the HR team and an audit manager followed by a case study and a partner interview. I was the only person to attend this day so there was no group exercise.

    The first interview was a competency based interview, they asked about my A level grades, my university experience and general examples of key competencies that I had demonstrated. I would suggest that you come with examples but don't learn answers off by heart, it should sound genuine. They then asked me to step outside and they discussed whether to take me on to the next stage, you could be sent home at this stage.

    I then progressed to the case study. I was given a one page report on a company that was failing and was asked to produce a 10 minute presentation to a partner. The case study was not hard, most of the information is handed to you and its all common sense and commercial awareness. I was worried about this stage but for me it was the easiest of the lot.

    I then had an interview with the partner, this was much less formal we discussed the case study, how RSM could help the company in its current situation and some general questions about myself, my education and my work experience. This interview was conservational and relaxed and the partner seemed really interested in what I had to say and was extremely passionate about the firm. I hope this helps for those who have interviews in the future, best advice is to be yourself, be honest, be relaxed and be prepared.

    Most difficult question

    Describe a time when you have had to deal with a conflict?
    Describe a time when you have had to convince someone of your potential?
    Describe a time when you have persuaded a team to follow your direction?

    Interview tips

    One of the things that they said they like about me was that it was obvious that I had done my research. Read accountancy age, financial times or business news so you can show a genuine interest in the current financial climate.
    Make sure you know what audit is what you will be doing day to day. If you can find out changes that have happened in the industry recently such as new European Audit Directives or changes to legislation that will effect the firm then this will give you an edge. Just relax, you are there because they are impressed with you up to this point. You are all graduates with next to no experience so be confident; if you go into an interview thinking it is the be all and end all you will become nervous, there are loads of opportunities for graduates so don't stress and enjoy the experience.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    The interviews and assessment centre was rolled into one, I have described the structure and content of the assessment centre in the interview section.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 3/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 4/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • IT Risk Assurance

    4.5714/5 | Interview date: December 2015 | Job offer? Yes |

    Was this helpful? Yes 9

    Sectors: Accounting

    Difficulty rating 80.0 / 100

    Interview process

    For this job role there were two sets of interviews. The first was a telephone interview which was the most difficult stage of the process for me as you had 35 minutes to answer 9 questions. During the interview the interviewer kept cutting me out to ask follow up questions and then rushing me for answers due to time constraints. Luckily I got through that and went on to a one-to-one interview with a director. This interview was far more relaxed and was just a general conversation. The director just wanted to know more about me as an individual. The purpose of that was to see if I would fit in with the team and weather he'd want to work with me.

    Most difficult question

    I feel the most difficult question of the interview was 'why do you want to work for us?' The reason I say this is because you need to plan your answer carefully for this question. You need to carry out research before the interview but can not sound robotic during the interview so have to make it sound natural.

    Interview tips

    My advice for the interview (as well as the rest of the application process) is to just be yourself. Do not try to be someone else as this will show during the process. Make sure you carry out extensive research before the interview, relax and be yourself. There's no trick questions and they just want to get to know you as an individual. They know you possess the skills required for the job (shown through the other stages in the process) so take the interview as your chance to show yourself as an individual.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    During the Assessment Centre, I had to complete three tasks. The first task was a numerical and verbal reasoning test. This was fairly similar to the online tests done previously but was done in person and on paper. The second task within the assessment centre was a written case study. Within the study I received a booklet of information. Using the information I had to write a one page (both sides) proposal outlining which schemes I would chose from the booklet and why. The key to this task is structure. Make sure you have a set structure whilst writing. The final task of the assessment centre was the group exercise. Here with 4 other people we had to discuss a range of ideas (given to us individually before the task) and come up with the best ideas.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 4/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 4/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • Public Sector Internal Audit

    4.1429/5 | Interview date: July 2015 | Job offer? Yes |

    Was this helpful? Yes 8

    Sectors: Accounting

    Difficulty rating 60.0 / 100

    Interview process

    Firstly there is an online application form to pass.

    Then there are two stages to the Public Sector Internal Audit (PSIA) recruitment process which is different to the other schemes the recruit for.

    The first stage interview was with a senior manager. Firstly I received a test booklet which I had 45 minutes to complete. it contained a mix of numeracy questions and verbal reasoning questions. The numeracy isn't difficult (just brush up on your mental maths as its without a calculator). The verbal reasoning was things like word association- however these can be practised for free online.

    After this there was a comprehension exercise. I was given a sheet of A4 with a case study on. (wont go into details as I believe each is different). I had 10 minutes to read and make notes. Then I was asked things like "What is the issue here? Who are the key stakeholders? What potential solutions can you think of and are there any issues you may encounter with these."
    This was something you can't really prepare for, just make sure you think of the stakeholders carefully and make sure you see the bigger picture.
    From there the rest of the interview was a standard competency based interview with questions like; " Why Mazars? Why PSIA ( the scheme you've picked? Tell me about a time you've lead a team? What makes a good role model in your opinion, and when have you acted as one?"
    Just prepare answers to a broad range of competencies and you should be fine. Also be sure to know Mazars key values.

    I was informed I was successful in a few days. The second interview was with a company partner (director). I had to prepare a 5 minute presentation on internal audit, to give at the start of the interview, you will be told this in advance.
    After the presentation the interview is a standard competency based interview. Questions like "when have you been creative? When have you adapted your style to suit a team?"
    The interview was more relaxed. There were also questions about my work history and university degree, this seemed to be done to get a feel of me as a person.
    My only advice for this interview would be prepare standard competency question answers using th STAR technique, and once you're there smile, and let your personality come across- they want to see you, not a robot.

    Most difficult question

    Tell me about a time you have let a team.

    When have you had to work flexibly and how did you demonstrate this?

    When have you encountered issues in your work of personal life, and how have you looked to over come them?

    What motivates you and how do you keep self motivation?

    Interview tips

    Prepare thoroughly.
    Use well thought out examples for competency questions.

    Most importantly try not to be nervous and remember to smile. Mazars want to see you personality and how you would fit into the team , as much as anything else.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    No assessment centre. There are two rounds of 1:1 interviews.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 4/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 4/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 4/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 4/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 4/5
  • Graduate trainee acountant

    4.5714/5 | Interview date: July 2015 | Job offer? No |

    Was this helpful? Yes 3

    Sectors: Accounting

    Difficulty rating 40.0 / 100

    Interview process

    This was a one on one interview with a very nice member of their graduate recruitment team and she was very good at putting me at ease. Even though I'd filled out a comprehensive application form which included a few competency questions these weren't referred to in the interview with my interviewer instead asking me a range of competency questions to asses if I met their core values.
    There were also a few questions on why I wanted to work here, what the role would entail and what I hoped to achieve while working there. The interview slot was 45 minutes but my actual interview took about 30 minutes. The interview would ask follow up questions to the original question in order to help me to answer the question to the best of my ability.

    Most difficult question

    Describe a time when you set a goal above and beyond what was expected for you.

    Interview tips

    Make sure you do plenty of research in the organisation and all the various functions that they do. You'll also need to have looked at some of the reports they've published as you will be asked to talk about what you've read (it is open ended so you can talk about the ones you've looked at.
    Make sure you have plenty of STAR examples as you'll need a varied selection to try and show you have the key competencies that NAO are looking for. Also look at the ACA which is the qualification you'll be studying for while on the graduate scheme as they want to know you've done research into that.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    N/A

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 4/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 4/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 4/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • Graduate Accountant

    4.8571/5 | Interview date: July 2015 | Job offer? Yes |

    Was this helpful? Yes 15

    Sectors: Accounting

    Difficulty rating 40.0 / 100

    Interview process

    My initial contact was via email after I had submitted my application which asked me a number of questions around my degree, availability and salary expectations.
    The next stage was an interview.
    I was interviewed at an Arnold Clark Motorstore.
    The interview panel consisted of 2 senior members of the Accounting staff who included the Area Accountant as well as the Branch Accountant.
    I was asked a number of skill/competency based questions, technical questions as well as questions which assessed my personality and ability to fit in and work well with my colleagues.
    Towards the end of the interview the interview panel and I engaged it general conversation which I felt was a continuation of the assessment on my personality and traits but I felt this gave me the opportunity to assess the management whO I found to be very personable.
    The format was formal but did become slightly more informal toward the later stages.

    Most difficult question

    Describe a time in which you have had to make a decision which was not in the best interests of yourself but for your employer. How did you overcome these concerns

    Interview tips

    Before this successful interview I had attended many interviews (over 10) and the difference at this interview was that I almost pushed myself to be more relaxed.
    My advice is to be yourself, Show your personality, evidence your skills, show your drive/motivation, and again be yourself.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    N/A

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 5/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 5/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • Audit Graduate

    4.4286/5 | Interview date: June 2015 | Job offer? Yes |

    Was this helpful? Yes 6

    Sectors: Accounting

    Difficulty rating 40.0 / 100

    Interview process

    Started with an online application, fairly straight forward stuff. Then onto tests at the head office in blackfriars, just numerical and verbal ones, fairly easy. Then got called back for an assessment day which started with 11 of us in a group exercise. We got given a case study about a business that was failing and 6 options that would turn it round and we had to decide as a group the pros and cons of all options and make a decisions. Just be confident, speak your mind and listen to others, try and be a team player (it's what they're looking for). They then got rid of 3 so there were 8 of us left. Went for manager interviews (just basic competency questions) which were fine. Got rid of another 3 of us so there were 5 left and then we had to do an individual presentation to a partner about a case study you were given (had 30 mins to prepare) then you had a chat with partner about you, what you wanted, why Baker Tilly etc. The X-factor style assessment day was pretty brutal when people left but if you make it through there's a sweet job at the end!

    Most difficult question

    Why BT?
    Why accountancy?
    Where do you want to be in 5 years time?

    Interview tips

    Be confident, speak clearly, think logically and be a team player. You're all graduates with zero experience in the working world and on paper you're all the same so you need to stand out from the others on the day. Dress smart, have a shave and shine your shoes (basic stuff). Be confident, stand up and sit up straight all day. Be attentive and don't drift off at any point, they're watching your every move. Most importantly, you need to relax and be yourself as if you are, the rest will come easy. Do some reading on the company and express a genuine interest in your role / the company and talk with enthusiasm!

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    As above

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 3/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 5/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 3/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • Deloitte - Graduate Opportunities in Tax

    4.8571/5 | Interview date: March 2015 | Job offer? Yes |

    Was this helpful? Yes 16

    Sectors: Accounting

    Difficulty rating 60.0 / 100

    Interview process

    After getting thru the online stages (application form, numerical reasoning followed by critical thinking, a harder version of verbal reasoning which replaced the e-tray for the 2014-15 intake), my first interview was conducted by a Manager from my chosen area and lasted around 1 hr 15 mins. 20 mins before the interview, I was given a case study to read and had to answer 3 questions stated in the case study - this was the first part of the interview. I was also asked some follow-up questions based on the answers I gave. The second part of the interview was about a long-term project/piece of work I undertook and many follow-up questions based on my example, such as why did I take such action, how did it make me feel, what would I have done differently etc. Final part of the first interview was standard competency questions: why Deloitte, why Indirect Tax, what I'll be doing in the 1st year and to briefly outline the professional qualification.

    After learning that I passed the 1st interview (a pleasant surprise), I was then invited for a final Partner interview around a week before Christmas. Around a week beforehand, I was given the presentation topic, with 5 mins of presenting plus up to 10 mins of questioning. After the presentation came some "values-based" questions, such as what would a good day look like, a bad day, what would I do if I had 6 managers sending me emails with urgent tasks to do etc. However, these came up in a more conversational way rather than the Partner reciting thru a fixed list of questions - if anything, it was a very pleasant conversation with the Partner getting to know more about me than "ticking the competency boxes". Surprisingly no commercial awareness questions were asked at all, although my presentation may have covered that adequately.

    Most difficult question

    Actually, the most difficult questions asked were neither the standard competency questions nor the follow-up questions from the long-term piece of work. Rather, they were follow-up questions based on what I said in the case study . . . and I really struggled for time in the case study so had to end up thinking on my feet and relying on what I've read in the business news and apply those to the study. I cannot remember the exact questions as they were all based on what I said.

    Interview tips

    Follow business news in the run-up to the 1st interview. Although you can theoretically gather all info in the case study, I ended up having to think on my feet and rely on my business knowledge to rescue me in the case study as I ran out of time to do preparation.

    For presentation, try to keep it to a level you can understand. I got good feedback from the Partner straight after the presentation because the Partner thought I used calculations appropriately to explain harder stuff and that I also avoided using fancy business jargons you'd find in FT.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    See "desscribe your interview" for the case study.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 4/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 5/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 5/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 5/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5
  • Public Sector Auditor

    3.5714/5 | Interview date: January 2015 | Job offer? No |

    Was this helpful? Yes 4

    Sectors: Accounting

    Difficulty rating 20.0 / 100

    Interview process

    The competency question was fine, they just asked general questions which I have already mentioned during the phone interview.
    There was a group exercise/presentation and they expect you to talk. I was too shy and did not want to interrupt anyone and I was also afraid I was going to say something wrong but that is not what they expect from you. I obviously did not get the job and when they called to say I was unsuccessful they mentioned my lack of attitude in the group exercise/presentation.
    The last interview of the day was with the manager of the area I applied to. They expected me to know too much about business, to give business advices and suggestions to the fictional company we were talking about. He asked questions which I believe only someone with a lot of knowledge in business would be able to answer, it was quite confronting and I lost all my confidence. I ended up not being able to answer anything correctly. Even though the questions itself were not actually related to the role I was applying to, you are still expected to know a lot about business.

    Most difficult question

    What should (the fictional company) do in order to gain more profit?
    What should they change?
    What solutions would you give to the company?

    Interview tips

    Talk during the group presentation, no matter what!
    When you go to the interview with the manager, be sure about what suggestions you are going to give to the company. They expect you to know a lot about business, regardless of the position you are applying to.

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    In the group presentation/exercise they gave us information on a fictional company. We were asked to find the issues with the company (which were very clear and easy to find) but also to give advices on how to proceed.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 5/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 5/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 3/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 2/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 4/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 1/5
  • KPMG Audit Opportunities for Graduates

    4.0/5 | Interview date: October 2014 | Job offer? Yes |

    Was this helpful? Yes 13

    Sectors: Accounting

    Difficulty rating 20.0 / 100

    Interview process

    The telephone interview was the 2nd step in the recruitment process, after the application and online tests. It lasted around 45 minutes, as I was told. I was asked a set of basic competency questions and some business-related questions. I had more or less prepared using various forums so I was able to answer most questions with relative ease.

    Most difficult question

    The scenario questions were difficult as you cannot really prepare for them. I was asked 2 of these types of questions. The interviewer will first describe the scenario both of which were quite long and boring. One was about time-consuming tasks with similar deadlines and the other one about a group situation

    Interview tips

    Prepare thoroughly using popular forums where participants have usually described in detail what to expect. However there will always be tests you cannot fully prep for, such as role play and e-tray. Which is where I think I struggled - so make sure the preparation is there and then the rest is a bit up to luck!

    Experiences at the assessment centre

    Report writing, role play and e-tray. The report writing is straightforward, candidates are given various texts and then asked to write a report with recommendations. Role play involved two situations, one with an unhappy client and another with your manager. E-tray was quite hard, there were numerical questions, voice mails, video messages.

    Interview steps

    Interviews

    • Phone
    • 1:1
    • Group / Panel
    • Senior Management
    • Video

    Tests

    • Numerical
    • Personality
    • Verbal reasoning
    • Psychometric

    Other

    • Assessment centre
    • Group excercise
    • Background check
    • Presentation
    • Competency based questions

    Rating the interview

    • How would you rate the pre-attendance information? 3/5
    • How well was the interview organised? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the organisation? 4/5
    • What was your overall impression of the selection process? 4/5
    • Did the interview reflect the overall values / culture of the organisation? 4/5
    • Would you recommend this company to a friend? 4/5
    • Did you want the role following your interview? 5/5

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