It’s a question anyone and everyone who’s ever interviewed for an entry-level accounting and finance position has been asked at some point in their career. It might also be the most important query you’ll be tasked with answering, since it’s the interviewer’s chance to learn your reasons behind entering an often demanding — yet no less fulfilling — profession, and what skills and strengths you’d bring to the table.
Although the question can be challenging to answer (given that it’s worded so deceptively simple, yet demands the most thorough, in-depth response), with a little preparation, you can impress your interviewer and showcase your passion for the field. Here are some talking points to cover in your answer.
Demonstrate Your Working Knowledge of Accounting
Make a strong impression by explaining your grasp of the field and what’s involved in an accountant’s line of work. You can start by discussing your interest in accounting and finance, such as a class you took in college or a personal experience that sparked your interest.
Here’s a concise, impactful sample answer: “I became interested in accounting during a business class in college, where I was fascinated by the way financial data could be used to make informed decisions and drive the success of a business.”
Explain the Importance of Accounting in Today’s Business Environment
What’s the integral role accountants play in commerce? Be prepared to explain your thoughts on this notion — how businesses and organizations rely on accurate financial information to make informed decisions, and how accountants play a vital role in providing that information. Additionally, you can discuss how accounting is a field that is constantly evolving, and how you’re excited to stay current with new regulations and technologies.
Highlight Your Relevant Skills and Qualifications
If you have experience with a specific accounting software (i.e. QuickBooks, Xero or NetSuite) or have completed a relevant course (i.e. auditing, financial accounting, business law), this is a great opportunity to mention it. And if you’ve earned a certification like your CISA, CFA or even the industry-coveted CPA, absolutely spotlight that achievement. You can also discuss your breadth of talents, such as attention to detail and your ability to work with numbers, which are essential hard skills for an accountant.
Show an Understanding of What’s Expected of You.
Nothing makes a better impression on a job interview than to come equipped with a studied knowledge of the company you’re interviewing for — who they are, what they specialize in, their values and mission, etc. — but also a solid understanding of what the job requirements, roles and responsibilities are for the open position. What are your expectations as an accountant, and how can you rise to, meet and surpass those challenges? Express your ambitions by mentioning how you’re prepared to work with a team, manage multiple projects and meet deadlines.
Discuss Your Motivation and Passion for Accounting
Beyond the job-specific details and the company you’re interviewing with, why do you love accounting? This might be the most impactful way to answer the cryptic “Why accounting?” question with no other context. Impress upon the interviewer by describing your motivation and passion for accounting. You want to build a career around being charged with developing financial strategies to help enterprises make wiser decisions with their money, and in turn, increase revenues. You can discuss how you’re eager to contribute to an organization’s success — every organization you may find yourself employed with in your career — and how you’re committed to continuously learning and growing.
Carve Your Accounting Niche
With a little preparation and practice, you’ll be able to impress your interviewer and showcase your passion for accounting when answering the question, “Why Accounting?”.
But why Accountability Resources? We can connect you with employers in four easy steps: listening, advising/consulting, mapping a plan of action and executing, where we’re there every step of the recruitment process to find the right match for you.
Check out our online resources for job seekers, and contact us to get your job search started today.