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If you’re a wiz on the computer, have excellent problem-solving and critical thinking skills, and have a good grasp of mathematics and accounting, then a career as a bookkeeper may be perfect for you.
Professionals working in this detail-oriented, math-related role are tasked with maintaining a company’s financial data, including payroll, accounts receivable and payable, and various financial transactions. The job has a 76 percent employee satisfaction rate and is one of the best jobs for retirees.
Not only is bookkeeping a rewarding job in and of itself, but it can also open a world of opportunities, leading to career advancements and professional growth within the business and financial industries. Bookkeepers often grow into positions as accountants or financial managers, which rank among the top 20 highest paying jobs in Boston.
So, you might be thinking, how can I get a job as a bookkeeper? Well, the first step in finding rewarding work in the field of bookkeeping is getting through the hiring process and standing-out among other job applicants by acing your job interview.
Job interviews can often be stressful and nerve-racking events for a large majority of applicants, but, by following a few tips, adequately preparing yourself, and practicing beforehand, they don’t have to be.
We here at Zippia have rounded up the most commonly asked questions during a job interview for a position as a bookkeeper. By studying these questions, and preparing how you should best answer them, you’ll get through your job interview with flying colors, make a great first impression, and be well on your way to leading your dream job as a bookkeeper.
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No matter what type of job or company you’re interviewing for, the hiring manager will likely ask you a few of the most common open-ended interview questions. These questions will help break the ice and allow you to shine early on in the job interview.
Instead of asking yes or no questions, recruiters will often ask job-seekers carefully structured, open-ended interview questions that force applicants to think on their feet and speak freely. Answering these questions appropriately is key to continuing with the interview process and ultimately landing your dream job.
The first few minutes of an interview, when hiring managers typically resort to asking common interview questions to break the ice, are important.
If you don’t answer these first few ice-breaker questions successfully, your chances of getting hired may be slim, and your interview could even be cut short. Giving clear and concise answers will help you stand-out among other applicants and impress the interviewer.
Be prepared by reviewing the job description and researching the company before the interview. During the hiring process, make sure to highlight your values, experiences, personality, and strengths.
When answering ice breaker interview questions, your goal is to grab the hiring manager’s interest and convey, through stories and explanations, why you are best fitted for the role. To set yourself up for a successful job interview, it may be a good idea to do a mock interview to practice what you’ll say and review some of the questions you could be asked.
Here are the best ways to answer some of the most commonly asked questions when interviewing for a career in bookkeeping:
Walk me through your resume. Your resume is the first chance to impress hiring managers and prospective employers. It’s also what hiring managers often use to structure your job interview. Be prepared to walk recruiters through your resume at the beginning of your job interview.
Hiring managers will often ask you to talk about the skills, education, and work experience detailed on your resume to break the ice and see which skills and accomplishments you highlight. This is a great opportunity to impress the recruiter with details that you weren’t able to include on your resume.
If, for some reason, your contact information on your resume has changed since scheduling the interview, now’s also a great time to make note of that and let the recruit know the best ways of reaching you.
The most common ice-breaking interview questions usually focus on your resume. Be prepared during the interview with a copy of your most recent resume and rehearse how you’ll answer the most common interview questions.
Why do you want to work for us? You’re bound to hear this question at one point or another during the interview process. Having a solid answer to this question will help you impress the hiring manager and, hopefully, get the job.
Discussing how the company’s values closely align with your views and values, how you’re excited for the opportunity for professional growth in the role, how your skills are well-suited for the position, or how you’re eager to work at such a forward-thinking company are all great ways to answer questions relating to why you want to work for a specific company.
How would your friends describe you? This is the infamous “tell me about yourself” question. This is likely the most popular interview question across all jobs and industries, yet it’s also the question job-seekers are usually most uncomfortable answering.
The question can certainly put you on the spot, but it’s not meant to make you feel uncomfortable or nervous about what you think the hiring manager is looking to hear. The best thing you can do when answering this question is to just be yourself.
Give the hiring manager a little glimpse into your world by discussing a few of your strongest character traits and values. After hitting these key points, try to focus on your professional life and dig deeper into your current role ⏤ highlighting your responsibilities and biggest achievements ⏤ your past jobs and schooling, and your career goals.
What do you know about this company and our services? When going through the hiring process for bookkeeping jobs be sure to research the particular company you're interviewing with and highlight what you know about them and their services when you answer questions.
Hiring managers want to see knowledge and enthusiasm when interviewing job-seekers. And, nothing says professional like acing the “what do you know about us” question.
Before your bookkeeping interview, look into the company and get a good grasp of their work culture and values. By looking at the company website, you'll also be able to figure out things like what specific services they offer, who's on the executive leadership team, and what kind of clients they work with.
If someone in your professional network works at the company, you can even talk to them for an inside scoop.
What goals do you have in your career? This is a great question because it allows you to discuss your biggest professional ambitions. When answering this question you should show how your career goals align with the position you’re applying for.
Show enthusiasm and explain where you see yourself in five or ten years down the road (hint: it should probably be in the position you’re interviewing for). Confidence is key when it comes to answering this question.
Bookkeepers applying for more advanced mid or senior-level positions could explain to hiring managers that getting this job would help them realize their biggest career goal. Entry-level applicants, on the other hand, might discuss how the role would help them achieve their goal of starting a career in bookkeeping and how it could open windows for future professional growth within the company.
If you’re interviewing for a position as a bookkeeper, accountant, or financial manager — one of the 100 highest paying jobs in Chicago — you can bank on being asked about your bookkeeping work experience.
When hiring managers ask questions during the interview relating to their work experience there are several ways of answering.
The most obvious answer to these open-ended questions is to demonstrate your bookkeeping abilities by discussing your previous work experience and any educational degrees or bookkeeping certificates you may hold.
On the contrary, if you don’t have much experience yet, this is a great opportunity to tell the hiring manager why that is. If you’ve just graduated college or are looking to change career paths after serving as an administrative assistant or other office position, be ready to tell them about that.
As a job candidate, you should always be well prepared and emphasize your skills to the hiring manager, especially if you have limited experience in your field or you are applying for an entry-level role.
Confidently and discussing your work and education experience in bookkeeping, and noting what you learned through these experiences, will help you nail the interview and get the job.
Here are a few of the most common interview questions and answers relating to work experience:
What type of accounting software and systems are you most familiar with using? Now's your chance to put all those fancy software certifications to use. Tell them which accounting systems and software you’ve used, how you learned it, whether through schooling or on-the-job training, and to what extent you're familiar with each of them.
Be honest here. It’s not always about knowing every software system out there. Sometimes, having in-depth knowledge on one or two systems is better than having just general knowledge on several.
How would you describe your work style? Here, you should emphasize how you work to meet important deadlines, how you interact with coworkers at meetings, and what your daily schedule looks like when you're at work.
If you have a specific way of doing things, like making to-do lists or keeping a detailed agenda, you can note that in the answer to this question. Make sure to bring your answer full circle by describing how your unique work style will be beneficial to the continued success of their company.
What were the responsibilities of your last position? When you’re asked this question, get ready to talk all about your previous work experience. Let the hiring manager know what your last job title was, then talk in-depth about the job-description, your daily responsibilities, and your biggest achievements.
For bookkeeping positions, a great way to supplement this answer to stand-out to the interviewer would be to discuss the ways you help increase revenue, reduce costs, and save time and money in your last position.
Through discussing your previous position and your successes there, you will, in turn, highlight various ways in which you meet the qualifications for the role you’re currently applying for.
Why are you looking for a new job? This question might seem a little intrusive, but it’s entirely fair and it’s one of the most commonly asked interview questions. Chances are, if you’re not fresh out of school or coming off a sabbatical, you’re leaving an old job to find something new.
Finding a new job is a normal and even necessary step of career growth. Still, hiring managers typically want to hear why exactly you’re looking to move on.
When answering this question you can discuss how you’re looking for more challenges in your career, how your skill set no longer suits your current position, how you’re looking for better opportunities for professional growth, how you were laid-off, how you relocated or are in search of a shorter commute, and so on.
Tell me about some ideas you’ve had or implemented in your previous positions. Hiring managers are looking for innovative and ambitious industry professionals when recruiting bookkeepers.
Go above and beyond when answering this question by not only discussing ideas you implemented in your previous positions but also noting some ideas you hope to bring to the table in this role.
By discussing ways to improve the company this early on in the hiring process recruiters will remember you and you’ll be one step closer to your dream job.
This is your chance to sell yourself.
Whether you’re applying to work as a bookkeeper in the booming cannabis industry, or you’re aiming for a more traditional bookkeeping job, say at a bank or financial institution, you’ll be quizzed on your bookkeeping knowledge during the hiring process.
Right next to reviewing and evaluating your previous bookkeeping experience, job recruiters will be looking to see just how knowledgeable you are when it comes to bookkeeping.
During this section of the interview, hiring managers will typically ask you questions relating to job-specific and hard skill sets. For bookkeeping jobs, recruiters generally look for at least a high school diploma, solid math skills, knowledge of Microsoft and Quickbooks, and strong computer and technical expertise, especially if you’re applying for a work-from-home bookkeeping job.
When it comes to showcasing your bookkeeping knowledge, be prepared to answer interview questions like these:
How familiar are you with federal, state, and local bookkeeping regulations and requirements?
What kind of financial reports have you prepared?
How would you customize a report in QuickBooks?
What is depreciation expense?
What type of balance is normally linked to an accounts payable account?
Effective bookkeepers require skills in a variety of areas. In addition to expert bookkeeping knowledge and other job-specific skills, bookkeepers also must possess several administrative skills or qualities that allow them to work efficiently in an office, perform well, and meet deadlines.
Some of the most important administrative skills are soft skills or interpersonal abilities.
When interviewing for a job, be prepared to answer behavioral interview questions and situational interview questions that evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and help hiring managers determine how you would fit into the company culture.
The best answers to job interview questions aimed at evaluating soft skills are honest and emphasize your enthusiasm, interpersonal skills, and personality.
If you’ve gotten to the interview process, chances are you have the qualifications and experience necessary for the job. Now’s your chance to stand out and show that not only are you the best-qualified, you’re also a great team-player and see yourself fitting in well at the company.
In addition to answering questions thoughtfully and professionally, having strong job interview skills and appropriate body language will also help convey your soft skills.
Here are some tips on how to answer interview questions focused on evaluating soft skills:
How would you handle a customer complaint? Interviewees should aim to highlight their conflict-resolution and customer service skills when answering this question. Discussing a customer complaint you successfully handled in a previous role can help illustrate these skills in action.
Happy customers make happy companies, so make sure you highlight the importance of customer satisfaction when answering this interview question.
Tell me about a difficult work experience and how you handled it. The ability to work through difficult situations, resolve conflicts, and come to a compromise or an agreeable solution is highly sought after by hiring managers across the board.
Answer this question by broadly discussing a conflict you had with a colleague or client, or issues you had with a project or meeting a work deadline, then give specifics on how you handled the situation. Highlight the solution to the problem in your answer.
How do you handle mistakes? Mistakes happen. And, when they do, you must acknowledge them quickly and work swiftly to remedy the situation.
When answering this question you can recall a previous mistake and how you fixed it, or give a more general overview of what you would do if you or a team member made a mistake.
To what extent have you interacted with the public, helping them understand bookkeeping, in your previous roles? Interpersonal and communication skills are important in all jobs and walks of life, but especially in bookkeeping.
The most successful bookkeepers can understand complex numbers and financial equations and then simplify them and explain the ideas in a simple way that clients can understand. Illustrate this important soft skill set by describing your previous relationships with clients.
How do you prioritize tasks when you have multiple deadlines? Bookkeepers often work under multiple deadlines, so being able to work efficiently and quickly is a highly sought-after skill.
Describing your working style and how you get things done under strict deadlines will help illustrate how you prioritize tasks.
Telling stories about how you prioritized your work in previous roles or, if you’re applying for an entry-level position right out of college, how you met deadlines as an undergraduate or graduate student, will convey your level of professional efficiency.