1. We have met several candidates. Why are you the one we should hire?

Give definite examples of your skills and accomplishments. Be positive, and emphasize how your background matches the job description. Mention any accounting software packages and spreadsheet software you are familiar with. Also let them know if you have advanced knowledge of any of the software.

2. Where you find that you work better?

I find that I work better under pressure, and I enjoy working in an environment that is challenging. I am the type of person that diffuses stress. I am used to working in a demanding environment with deadlines, and enjoy the challenges.

3. What are Assets and Liability?

Be prepared to succinctly and clearly define all accounting related terms and explain their interdependence.

4. Tell me about a time you faced an ethical dilemma?

When I was working at X company, a vendor did not send me an invoice for material I was 100% certain we had received. I accrued the expense in the books and waited for the invoice to arrive. After a month had passed, I contacted the vendor for a copy of the invoice.
In researching the shipment, the vendor's accountant discovered that the paperwork was lost and was never turned in to the accounting department for billing. Even though my call to the vendor ended up costing my company some money, I still feel it was the right thing to do. It was a legitimate expense that we owed to the vendor and I would not have felt right about cheating the vendor.

5. Which bookkeeping systems have you used and tell me which one you liked best and why?

I liked X system because it had a robust and easy to use report writer. I could quickly create ad-hoc reports for the President of the company or department supervisors and get them the information they needed.
Sometimes in a matter of seconds. With the X system I had the option to save the report as a .PDF document or an Excel spreadsheet and I could email the report to them.

6. What have you done at your previous employers to increase revenues, reduce costs, or save time?

I make it a practice to review every vendor invoice to make sure the amount is correct before I enter it. At X company, I discovered we were being charged sales tax for an item that I knew was tax exempt. I sent our sales tax exemption certificate to the vendor and they stopped charging the sales tax. I was able to save the company approximately $2,000 a year.

7. A general ledger account is out of balance by $.24. Describe the process you would take to discover the error?

First, I would want to make sure the error is not due to a larger computer software glitch. I have worked with systems that were corrupted by updates or programming errors. I make sure my accounting systems are backed up regularly just in case the data gets corrupted. Also, I reconcile all balance sheet accounts during the month and as a part of my month end close process so I would be able tell if the problem is isolated to one general ledger account or if I have a larger problem.
If I discover an error in the accounting system due to an update, I would recover the most recent backup prior to the update. If the problem is only in one account and the balance is only $.24, I would write off the difference to an Miscellaneous Expense account. In my opinion, looking for a $.24 error is not the best use of my time or your resources.

8. What do you think accrual or cash basis reporting is better for business management?

Look for an advanced bookkeeper to explain that accrual basis accounting provides better financial reports, but cash basis is usually preferred for taxes. We can keep the books on accrual basis for management reporting and the tax accountant can make adjustments for cash basis taxes. A standard bookkeeper will probably tell you what her experience has been and will not have a preference for either.

9. Do you have any experience respected to the field?

If this is the first time you have applied for a job since graduating college, then you are likely not going to have any work-related experience. If not, never fear; you can overcome this by reinforcing your positive traits and assuring the interviewer that you are perfectly capable of performing your required duties. If you do have experience, be sure to provide details such as your required duties, your accomplishments and more.
If you want to land a job as a bookkeeper, you will need to impress your interviewer with your abilities, skills and experience when applicable. Part of standing out as the most qualified candidate for the job involves being able to provide solid, detailed answers to the questions your interviewer asks.

10. Tell me can you be available around the clock?

Depending upon your employer, you may be asked to maintain an 'on-call' status 24 hours a day. If you are applying for a position with a large corporation, you may split this responsibility with other bookkeepers. However, if you are applying for a position with an individual or a small business, you will likely be the only bookkeeper. As a result, should an emergency arise, you will need to be available. To answer this question, reply with, I understand that my expertise is very important to you as my employer. I will be available around the clock to resolve any issues or answer any questions that may arise.

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