How To Answer “Why Do You Want To Be An Accountant?”

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 25, 2020
Articles In Guide

Find a Job You Really Want In

0 selections
Articles In Guide

Candidates interviewing for an accounting role will often be asked the question of why they like accounting. Like any question posed during an interview, this is asked to gain perspective of who you are as a candidate, what your background is, and how you’ll act if the company decides to move forward with hiring you.

Why Employers Ask “why do you want to be an accountant?”

While your potential employer cares about your bullet point experience and skills, that’s not necessarily what they want to know more about during an interview. They’ve already become familiar with your resume and have decided to invite you to an interview based on these credentials. During the interview, they’re more interested in what makes accounting your dream job.

The purpose of an interview is to get to know you more personally and gather insight into what kind of employee you’ll be. In terms of a career in an accounting role, the question of “why do you like accounting?” is used to assess your motivations and passions are in the financial field.

In a field that can often have the stereotype of being uneventful, an interviewer can be genuinely interested in why you went into the field and what elements of it are most exciting for you. Most employers seek applicants who are passionate about the field and role they’re seeking because this type of energy makes for a productive employee.

This information can also be helpful if they decide to hire you because it gives them a good idea of what kinds of tasks you’d be suited for. People who are enthusiastic about the work they’re doing often have the best outcome.

Your answer to why you enjoy accounting says a lot about your personality, work ethic, and motivations.

How to Answer “why do you want to be an accountant?”

Without preparation and reflection on this interview question for a career in accounting, your response will probably appear discombobulated. While the question seems simple on the surface, your answer should have a few layers of depth. The interviewer will be looking for an answer that touches on a few key points.

The following are guidelines for answering the interview question, “why do you want to be an accountant?”

  1. Consider your favorite parts of accounting. To begin formulating a strong answer to why you like accounting, think about what your favorite parts of working in the field are.

    Even if you’re just graduated with your MBA or accounting degree and are hoping to secure your first job, you should have a grasp on what aspects of the industry interest you as a job. The answers to this question will vary significantly on an individual basis.

    Job type you want
    Full Time
    Part Time
    Internship
    Temporary

    For some, they may enjoy working with financial reports in their daily work. Others may be attracted to the constant learning aspect that comes with working in accounting. Another alternative may be just enjoying using mathematics and the skills that come along with a math-focused career.

    Think about what your favorite parts of accounting are and decide on your top three features.

  2. Relate your favorite parts to your experience. Whenever an interviewer asks you a question, they’re curious to see how the qualities you mention relates to examples in your prior work experience. The question of “why do you like accounting?” is also looking for a more in-depth answer than a list of skills and aspects you enjoy about accounting.

    Once you’ve come up with a solid list of three or so parts of accounting that you’re especially passionate about, think back to your former positions to find examples of times you’ve applied these skills.

    For example, let’s say one of the things you particularly like about being a certified public account is being able to help and interact with people on a daily basis. In your former position, you remember a client whose business saw a huge turnaround from utilizing your accounting services. This experience and aspect of the job you like can tie into a very impressive interview answer to why you enjoy accounting.

  3. Bring your answer back to your accounting strengths. Although you should always be genuine in your interview answers, you should also try to implement your strengths in your response. When you’re considering how to answer “why do you like accounting,” make sure that your answer reflects your strong suits.

    Mentioning a specific part of the job that you like but then having no experience in this area will cheapen your response and make for difficulty down the line.

Tips for Answering “why do you want to be an accountant?”

Once you’ve got a clear picture of the steps that lead you to a good answer for why you like accounting, you may still need some tips to help craft the most impressive answer.

  1. Be honest. While you want to give the best possible answer that will land you the position you’re seeking, you never want to be insincere in your response. You shouldn’t resort to stating a reason for enjoying accounting that you think will be impressive to the interviewer.

    Be honest with yourself and the interviewer about what you like about accounting. While doing this, still frame your answer in a calculated way that addresses all elements of the formula for a strong answer.

  2. Research the company and position you’re interviewing for. You should go into an interview for any job with some background knowledge about the company and position you’re being recruited for. When preparing for any spoken event, you should cater to the audience you’re hoping to reach. In this case, the hiring manager representing a potential employer for an accounting job.

    While researching the company and position will likely be helpful for a few questions during your interview, it’ll be especially useful for considering your answer to why you like accounting. Companies will often have a professional focus and highlight their company culture, and an answer that matches these values will stand out from the competition.

    Additionally, having insight into the typical responsibilities associated with the role you’re interviewing for will allow you to tailor the skills you mention to ones useful for this area.

  3. Practice your answer. While many applicants will find this tip silly, it can dramatically improve your performance and relieve the pressure of an interview. That age-old saying of practice making perfect is grounded in reality.

    Performing a mock interview with a friend or family member that includes the question “why do you like accounting?” can help you get comfortable with articulating your answer. Practicing with another person can be constructive for gaining objective feedback about your answers and speaking skills.

    If you don’t have anyone to practice with, simply practicing your projected answers in the mirror can help you gauge what needs to be tweaked and what parts of your answer are working well.

  4. Be conversational. Other questions that you may be given might have a more serious and hard skill-based tone. When the hiring manager asks you why you like accounting, it’s an excellent opportunity to make the interview more conversational. Speaking about their passions and motivations comes naturally to a lot of people.

    While you should be careful not to get lost in oversharing when it comes to what you like about accounting, developing a more easy-going feel in answering can strengthen the impression it makes on the interviewer.

  5. Be concise. Since the question of “what do you like about accounting?” is broad and open-minded, many candidates may make the mistake of giving a long-winded answer.

    Even in questions that invite a longer explanation (like this one), you should try to express yourself succinctly. Avoid irrelevant details.

    An answer that goes off on a tangent can confuse or bore an interviewer, which will immediately have them checked out on the possibility of hiring you.

Example Answers to “why do you want to be an accountant?”

If, after reading through the tips and guidelines for answering the question of why you like accounting, you’re still unsure of how to construct your answer, explore some of the example answers below.

Example 1.

“What first drove me to pursue a career as a certified public accountant is my love for spending my days dealing with numbers and skills in handling financial accounts. Now that I’ve been working in the industry for the better part of five years, I’ve come to love the ease I provide businesses when it comes to managing their finances. I find it extremely rewarding to help clients organize and understand their financial records and documents because I can tell how much of a positive influence it has on their professional lives.

One working relationship in particular that comes to mind was when I was assisting a restaurant in their taxes and record keeping, who later that year saw a drastic improvement in their deductions and organization. The owner of the business was so grateful for the aid, and I felt good about making a positive impact on their company.”

Example 2.

“I’m the kind of person who gets enjoyment out of the analysis that comes along with working in accounting. I find it interesting to consider varying aspects of a financial portfolio for cost, profit, and potential risk, and later see how my predictions ultimately faired. Throughout my last position, my supervisor noticed how much I liked analysis and put me in charge of a financial reporting team of five.

This experience furthered my passion for both analytical accounting and leadership roles. I enjoy the feeling of making a difference in the company I work for.”

Example 3.

“One of the skills that make accounting work and tasks very enjoyable for me is bookkeeping. I think that tracking a company’s financial transactions is not only a crucial part of keeping a business on track; it’s also quite fun.

When I first began working as an accountant, many of the procedures that come with bookkeeping, like payroll, were unfamiliar and presented as challenges. However, I thrive in a challenging environment and believe this only furthered my interest in it and accounting in general.”

Take the hassle out of your job search & get an offer faster
Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

Find The Best Job That Fits Your Career

Major Survey Entry Point Icon

Where do you want to work?

0 selections

Related posts