Eleana Bowman
Community Specialist
Posted October 20, 2021

Interview questions for bookkeepers

Looking to land a great bookkeeping job? Nail your interview by preparing for these common interview questions for bookkeepers.
Eleana Bowman
Community Specialist
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Interview questions for bookkeepers
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Bookkeepers are responsible for recording, organizing, and maintaining financial data for companies.

If you’re detail-oriented, good at basic accounting and math, and have strong computer skills, a bookkeeping position could be fantastic for you. This role can offer excellent pay and remote work, opening up career growth and advancement opportunities. However, you’ll need to get through the hiring process, which means you’ll need to prepare for interviews.

Below, we’ll go over why you should prepare for an interview in advance. We’ll also look at some of the most common interview questions for bookkeepers and answers you can use as inspiration.

Why is it important to prepare for an interview in advance?

When applying for a job, you’ll want to prepare a stellar resume and cover letter. But once you make it past that part of the hiring process, you’ll likely have to do an interview.

An interview is a great opportunity for you to really show a hiring manager why you’re a good fit for a job. You’re no longer trying to sell yourself on paper like in the resume portion of the hiring process. The hiring manager gets to actually meet you, and you can better express your qualifications and desire for the job.

But you don’t want to get tongue-tied and have nothing to say. While you can’t know exactly what they’re going to ask you, practicing your answers to commonly asked questions can help you confidently enter the interview.

General “ice-breaker” questions

Companies in all industries tend to ask similar “ice-breaker” questions — regardless of the role you interview for.

Here are three questions you may see in a bookkeeping job interview.

1. Why do you want to work for us?

Having bookkeeping skills isn’t always enough — recruiters want employees that fit well with the company culture.

Research is important to answer this question. Learn about the company — even as a bookkeeper, knowing what the company does and what it’s accomplished is helpful.

Additionally, reread the job description so you can discuss how the position matches your skills or desires. Blending this with your knowledge of the company makes for a strong answer.

2. Tell me about yourself

This sounds like a personal question, but employers want to hear mostly about who you are professionally — not your personal life. That said, you still want to highlight your character strengths and values.

A classic way to answer this is “present, past, future.”

Start with what you do for work now by briefly discussing your current job. Then, summarize the past, including your relevant education and work history.

Finally, offer a concise explanation of your future career goals.

3. Could you walk me through your resume?

This is similar to “tell me about yourself,” but you get to be more specific with job duties and other parts of the resume.

However, employers also use this to subtly determine what you think is important to the role.

To answer, highlight the most relevant previous work experience, skills, education, and certifications. This is also a good chance to let them know if any contact information has changed.

Soft skills questions

Soft skills are not job-specific. They include skills like communication, problem-solving, adaptability, and teamwork.

Interviewers won’t just hire the bookkeeper with the best technical skills — they want candidates with these soft skills as well.

Here are a few questions they might ask to gauge your soft skills.

1. Tell me about a challenge at work and how you handled it.

If an employer asks this, they want to know how you react to and solve conflicts.

Talk in broad terms about a conflict you had with a client or fellow co-worker in a past role. Then, get into the details about how you worked things out.

What’s good here is you don’t have to talk about an experience at a bookkeeping job because conflict resolution is a universal skill.

2. How do you prioritize tasks when faced with a deadline?

Bookkeepers have multiple responsibilities dealing with financial data, and many of those have hard deadlines.

They need to work fast and accurately while also prioritizing the most vital tasks.

For this question, explain your method for prioritizing work and elaborate on how you make sure things get done on time.

3. How much did you interact with vendors and clients?

Bookkeepers often need to contact other parties about invoices — whether to pay one to a vendor or collect one from a client.

Hiring managers ask this question to gauge the strength of your communication skills in general, but especially for these vendor and client interactions.

Bookkeeping-specific questions

Any company hiring you as a bookkeeper will want to know if you’re cut out for the job.

Here are some questions specific to your bookkeeping skills, experience, and job history.

1. What bookkeeping or accounting software are you familiar with?

Bookkeepers live in their accounting and bookkeeping software. Discuss any software programs you know, how you learned them, and your skill level with each.

Many will ask if you know Quickbooks, although some companies use other programs. If you haven’t used the employer’s accounting systems, focus on how you used other software in a previous role and make it known that you’re a quick learner.

Regardless, try to tie your software experience back to specific job duties or even accomplishments at previous jobs.

2. What financial statements or reports did you prepare at your last job?

Financial reports summarize critical financial information for companies. Bookkeepers must know the basics of the income statement, balance sheet, and sometimes the cash flow statement.

That said, employers are most likely to test your understanding of the balance sheet because it’s one of the most vital financial statements. It has a company’s assets, liabilities, and equity. Studying up on this and the other statements will demonstrate your technical knowledge and make you appear more confident.

3. What have you done to grow your bookkeeping career?

Hiring managers might ask this one if you’ve been a bookkeeper for a while and are interviewing for a new position. They want to see that you’re driven to improve.

Bookkeeping-specific education and certifications are the focus here. If you earned an associate degree in bookkeeping while at your old job, that’s a fantastic fact to highlight. If you just took some online courses to sharpen your skills, employers would love to hear about them.

Nail your bookkeeping interview questions

Bookkeeping can be a great career path if you enjoy the work, but you’ll need to prepare for plenty of questions.

Companies are looking for bookkeepers that know their stuff, but they also want to make sure job seekers have the soft skills and personal traits necessary to succeed at their company. The interview process is your opportunity to prove you’re the right bookkeeper for the job.

By preparing with the above questions and answers, you can wow your interviewers and maximize your chances of landing an excellent bookkeeping gig.

Once you’re ready, check out our job search to find yourself a wonderful bookkeeper role.

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Eleana Bowman
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