How to Answer the "Why Accounting?" Interview Question

Updated 20 September 2023

Interview questions are often designed to seek in-depth information about a prospective candidate. In an accounting job interview, “Why accounting?” is one of the most common questions asked by employers to understand your level of interest and experience in the field. Knowing how to answer this open-ended question can help you feel more confident during the interview. In this article, we explore what employers actually look for when they ask the "Why accounting?" interview question and how you can showcase your key strengths and interests in your answer.

Reasons Employers Ask The "Why Accounting?" Interview Question

When employers ask this question, they are primarily looking to assess your interest and passion for the field. Since accounting jobs can be monotonous in the long run, recruiters use the question to gauge your level of engagement in the field and recognise the value you can bring to the organisation. It also helps them understand your professional choices and career journey better.

In accounting interviews, employers are keen on assessing your problem-solving skills, areas you enjoyed working in and processes you have been a part of in your previous role. They want to hear about your previous roles and responsibilities and how your efforts contributed to organisational success. A good understanding of your aptitude and the tasks you find enjoyable might help recruiters decide on whether your skills are a good fit for the company.

Related: What Is an Accountant? Types and Career Advice

How To Answer The “Why Accounting?” Question

In order to prepare for this question, consider what you love most about accounting. Think about the most enjoyable and fulfilling tasks in your line of work and the skills you feel most confident about discussing. Examples of experiences and projects that have enriched your professional journey are also welcome additions. The following steps can help you prepare for answering this question:

1. List all your favourite aspects of accounting

Take a moment to pause and think of everything that you love about the field of accounting. Reflect upon your journey and ask yourself what drew you to this career. Consider reflecting on why you chose to study the subject and what topics you enjoyed the most in college. If you are at a job, it is also a good idea to identify skills, talents and tasks that are the most fulfilling and rewarding at work.

Analyse what aspects of accounting tasks appeal most to your personality and why you enjoy doing them. Recollecting events that were the most fulfilling in your professional journey can help you better understand why you enjoy being in this field.

2. Describe your experience in your favourite aspects of accounting

Once you list your favourite aspects of accounting, inspect every aspect in detail. For example, you may consider talking about your experience with a particular skill or task you enjoy. When the recruiter is able to see what you mean through a vivid example, they may better appreciate your interest and inclination towards the subject. While talking about hard skills, describe in detail the various aspects of the different tools or technology that you particularly find rewarding and useful. List specific tasks you enjoy performing and explain why.

Try to describe how you feel when performing an enjoyable task. Bringing an emotional touch while describing the work you do allows the recruiter to see your dedication and passion for the field. Allow the recruiter to see what aspects of the job connect most with your personality. This lets the interviewer see you as someone who is genuine and enthusiastic about their work.

Related: What Are the Functions of Accounting? (Definition and Types)

3. List down examples and scenarios to illustrate your professional skills

While answering this question, you can also illustrate your knowledge and skills with real examples. Present suitable scenarios at your current job or discuss a particularly rewarding incident or project to highlight your contribution, skills and talent. You may even choose to discuss a day in your life at your current job, and give the interviewer a glimpse into the type of tasks you are involved in performing.

When discussing aspects of your current job, ensure that you abide by any non-disclosure agreement (NDA) at all points. Avoid disclosing anything that is bound by the agreement between you and your current or former employer. The ideal answer to the question highlights your career in a well-formed, yet precise manner. Ensure that your answer is inspiring and comprehensive, yet concise and to the point.

Related: 10 Best Skills to Include on a Resume (with Examples)

Example Answers To “Why Accounting?”

You can approach your answer to “Why accounting?” based on your experience in a prior role. If you are fresh out of college, you may base your answers on aptitude or personality traits. Here are a few example answers you can use as inspiration to craft your own answer:

1. Highlighting aptitude and personality traits

Here are some example answers that highlight the fact that the interviewee has chosen accounting as a career because of their natural aptitude in accounting:

Example 1:My favourite subject at school was math. My greatest strengths have been my keen attention to detail and analytical abilities. Working with data excites me, and I enjoy every bit of it. I believe that one must really enjoy doing what they do for a living, which is why I chose accounting.

Example 2:My decision to take up accounting can be attributed to keeping a family tradition alive. Both my father and grandfather were accountants, and I have grown up alongside numbers and data. As I grew, they shared accounting concepts with me, instilling in me a curiosity for the subject from a young age. I enjoy the process of recording transactions, submitting tax returns and book-keeping.”

2. Highlighting prior experience and skills

Here are two sample answers where the interviewee highlights their experience and skills:

Example 1:In my last role as an accounts executive, I was responsible for providing my employer with accurate quantitative information on its financial position, cash flow and liquidity, ensuring that they stayed compliant with respect to tax regulations. With my natural ability to spot numerical inconsistencies and a flair for bookkeeping, I was able to enjoy my roles and responsibilities and add significant value to the company's growth.

Example 2:I thoroughly enjoyed my last job as an accounts supervisor. My natural ability to develop strong working relationships with both internal and external customers, coupled with attention to detail, helped me immensely here. I enjoy learning, and my position helped me pick up strong skills in MS Excel, which I believe may serve me well in future positions. I love challenges and being a part of a high-volume accounts function was incredibly rewarding.”

3. Highlighting career aspirations

These example answers aim to highlight the interviewee's career aspirations:

Example 1: “I would like to head the financial division of a major company someday, driving its growth and success through important financial decisions. In order to realise my dream, I have to start at the grass-roots level, understand various aspects of the business and get behind the scenes and see the numbers. I believe that starting out as an accountant is a great way to begin this journey.”

Example 2: “I have been pursuing a career in the accounting field for many years now. I have passed my CA exam after a BCom degree in accounting. My current job as an accounting analyst at Fast&Just Pvt. Ltd. is very close to my heart. My job primarily involves measuring and reporting progress and financial/operational performance metrics using various technological tools. I have a deep passion for technology, and this helped me learn various nuances of the role in a short span. Working with complex technological tools has been challenging as well as fulfilling. I look forward to similar opportunities in the future.”

Related: 48 Accounting Assistant Interview Questions (With Answers)

Other Common Questions Asked In An Accounting Interview

In addition to the “Why accounting?” question, here is a list of other common questions hiring managers ask in an accounting interview:

  • Can you recall one major challenge you faced in your accounting career? How did you overcome it?

  • Explain a rewarding experience or project at your previous job.

  • What steps will you take to reduce the likelihood of human errors in the accounting department?

  • What are the technologies and accounting programs/tools you are familiar with using? Rate your competencies on a scale of one to five.

  • Explain the different types of accounting.

  • Which accounting platform do you prefer the most?

  • What steps do you follow to maintain accuracy in an accounting process?

  • Explain TDS. How is TDS shown on a balance sheet?

  • What are some common mistakes in the accounting process?

  • What are the accounting standards in India?

  • What are the parts of a financial statement?

  • Explain the format of a balance sheet

Related: 7 Behavioural Questions For An Accounting Interview

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.

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