Typical Bookkeeper Interview Questions
Bookkeepers should be prepared to answer situational, behavioral and informal questions during the interview process.
- 1 [Bookkeeper] | What Does a Bookkeeper Do on a Daily Basis?
- 2 [Duties] | The Duties Responsibilities of Bookkeepers
- 3 [Techniques] | The Techniques Used to Prepare for an Interview
- 4 [School Bookkeeper] | School Bookkeeper Job Description
If you are preparing for an interview for a bookkeeping position, you may be worried about what types of questions will be asked. When preparing for an interview for a bookkeeping position, the best place to start is by reviewing the responsibilities listed in the job posting. Although specific job duties vary by company, bookkeepers generally create financial statements and reports, prepare bank deposits, issue checks and create invoices, and then post these transactions to the proper general ledger account. The interview will likely consist primarily of knowledge- and experience-based questions pertaining to these tasks, along with general icebreaker questions and inquiries about soft skills.
Most interviewers will start off the interview with icebreaker questions such as “Tell me about yourself,“ “What interested in you in applying for this position?” and “Why do you want to leave your current job?” These open-ended questions allow the interviewer to gain an overview of your professional interests and goals while gaining insight into your communication style and ability. While this is certainly not the only criteria when determining compatibility for a position, this is one piece of the puzzle. For example, a candidate who states that she is leaving her current job due to the hours or workload may not be an ideal fit for a company that offers a similar work environment.
Verify that you meet the education and certification requirements specified in the job description prior to your interview because the interviewer will confirm these credentials either during or prior to the interview. In addition to inquiring about your degree, it is not uncommon to also ask questions to test your knowledge of basic accounting principles with questions such as “Which federal, state and local legal bookkeeping requirements are you familiar with?” “Define depreciation,” or “Describe the step-by-step process you follow when preparing and processing invoices.” Some interviewers may ask situational questions such as “Tell me how you would record an $800 insurance premium using the accrual accounting method versus the cost accounting method.” This tests both accounting principles knowledge and on-the-job knowledge of these methods.
In addition to knowledge of financial concepts and processes, employers prefer candidates who have had demonstrated success in a bookkeeping role. This proves that the candidate is capable of applying her knowledge in real-life situations. Aside from being asked the typical “Tell me about your bookkeeping experience” question, you may also be asked “What types of financial reports have you prepared and how was the data used?” “Which bookkeeping systems are you familiar with?“ “In your current position, how have you personally contributed to cost savings or profits?” or “How do you stay current with regulatory changes and their affect on your work?”
Working as a bookkeeper requires many soft skills, such as the ability to solve problems, multitask, and communicate with vendors and internal business partners. You can expect to be asked at least a handful of questions targeting these skills such as “The general ledger is out of balance by $0.32. Describe the process you would take to find the error,” “Tell me about a time when you had to learn something new at a fast pace,” or “How often do you communicate with vendors and colleagues in your current role?”
About the Author
Based in Virginia, Amanda Banach has been a writer since 2009. Her professional work experience includes roles in media advertising, financial services and human resources. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in human resources management and is PHR-certified.