Frequently asked questions in job interviews for a trainee accountant

A recruiter can ask specific questions during a trainee accountant interview to see if the candidate has the proper qualifications. The questions also focus on the willingness to learn from a senior accountant, accounting department or firm. Although you can expect common interview questions focusing on strengths, weaknesses and personal descriptions, you should also prepare for questions pertaining to the accounting profession and industry.

Accounting Profession

The recruiter may be interested in why you have chosen the accounting profession as your primary career direction. This is to ensure that you are invested in the trainee position and willing to learn new techniques and accounting procedures of the given business. Provide a list of examples or things that inspired you to complete an academic background in accounting or bookkeeping. Include a short discussion of jobs that have inspired you or increased your interest in the accounting industry.

Paying Attention

Although you may not have had any professional experience working in an accounting profession, the recruiter wants to know how you operate and organise, when you are working with tasks and projects pertaining to the accounting tasks. The recruiter is seeking a useful example of how you stay organised, especially when working with various numbers and figures. Provide an example of how you would keep your work organised, if you have little experience with large amounts of accounting work.

Budget Preparation

One of the major responsibilities of an accountant is to prepare and maintain a company's budget. You will not be given this type of responsibility as a trainee, but the recruiter may want to know if you have any experience preparing or maintaining a budget. Explain the steps you take to prepare a budget for someone given the practice and experience you gained during your academic assignments.

Controlling Errors

An accountant is responsible for adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing numbers from income statements and expense receipts. Errors can occur, especially if one number is forgotten in a calculation or if a single digit is not punched properly on the calculator. Checking and rechecking your work is important as a trainee accountant, so provide examples of techniques or steps you take to check your work for errors.

Challenges in Accounting Profession

Some of your academic courses may have dealt with the accounting industry, troubles in accounting jobs or the outlook for accounting jobs over the next decade. The recruiter can ask you questions regarding your opinion of the biggest challenges facing the accounting profession to evaluate your knowledge of the industry. If you provide a strong answer, the recruiter can ask you how you plan to handle or tackle the challenges that may surface.

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About the Author

Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

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