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5 Interview Questions That Accountants Should Prepare For

Interviews are often an unnerving experience for many, so it is important to be well prepared  so as to feel more confident and in control, and leave a lasting impression on your interviewers. Here are 5 interview questions to help you maximise your chances at landing your desired job, and how ICAEW Singapore helps aspiring accountants and business professionals continually upskill and further their careers.

1. Why do you want to work in this firm?

There are a wide variety of industries that accountants can apply their skills in. They range from public accountants who provide a variety of services such as budget analysis, tax work, and consultancy; auditors who examine financial statements and operations within specific industries, cost accountants who streamline clients’ expenses and efficiency, and investment accountants who maintain clients’ investments and help firms develop their financial strategy.

Interviewers seek to know why you are interested in joining their organisation and industry, how you can utilise your skills and experience to benefit the company, whether you plan to seek further professional qualification such as becoming a chartered accountant, as well as whether you are an ideal fit for the company. It helps to be prepared for the interview by reading up on the company’s culture and identifying what you find most appealing or attractive about them.

2. What are your career goals?

Everyone’s career goals can vary widely, be it handling client-facing roles, leading a team, or advancing their skill set. To answer this question effectively, start with your short term goals before moving to long term goals, as well as the actions that you plan to take. This allows interviewers to determine your career trajectory and how willing they are to invest in your skill growth and development. 

Having clear career goals also reflects your ability to take ownership of personal growth and development, and sharpening your skills through handling complex tasks. It also allows your prospective employers to see if you are a good fit for their business goals, such as expanding their client base or offering more services.

As an ICAEW chartered accountant, you will be recognised for your ability to think critically, handle complex tasks and solve problems. The ACA qualification provides both practical and technical knowledge that are highly transferable across industries and allows you to deal with challenges more effectively, increasing the likelihood of being considered for senior roles as well as being employed in established companies both in Singapore and abroad.

3. What accounting software are you familiar with?

Accounting firms utilise various accounting software to handle tasks, such as Xero and QuickBooks. Being well-versed with the specific software they use allows them to save on time needed to train you, allowing you to handle more important tasks right as you join the company. This puts you on a good path to faster growth and career advancement.

ICAEW’s various accounting courses cover the most commonly utilised accounting software by firms, giving you an edge over your peers. As partners with Xero, all ICAEW CFAB students will be offered the Xero Advisor Certification, incorporating scenario-based activities for relevant application and a certification of completion in recognition of your skills.

4. How well do you work in a team?

Regardless of how skilled a chartered or certified accountant you may be, having good interpersonal and teamwork skills will always be essential to thrive in your organisation. Soft skills such as conflict resolution, providing effective feedback, and identifying shared objectives are as important as hard skills such as interpreting financial statements and proper financial reporting. Prospective employers will want to ensure that you can work well with a diverse range of colleagues, lowering the likelihood of friction at the workplace and promoting greater workplace harmony and efficiency.

5. How do you deal with adversity?

Accounting is a demanding career that only gets more challenging with experience, as you gradually take on more responsibilities. Prospective employers are highly interested in seeking how you cope and overcome adversity, so that they can entrust you with tasks that have greater ramifications and impact on the company. 

The ICAEW ACA qualification includes modules that prepare you to handle challenging situations throughout one’s career while training to become a chartered accountant. With professional skills such as strategic business management, ethics training, in addition to real-world case studies, you will be equipped with both the hard and soft skills to thrive in whichever field you choose.

ICAEW South East Asia provides internationally recognised qualifications to help you future-proof your career as an accounting, business or finance professional.

Contact us today to find out more.

“The ACA is an attractive offering because it has a comprehensive learning programme which is delivered through flexible modules allowing trainees to balance their work and studies. It also provides an alternative route in to the profession which helps to contribute to our diverse workforce.”

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