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Jun 01
5 Core Skills Every Accountant Should Have and How to Assess Them in Interviews

5 Core Skills Every Accountant Should Have and How to Assess Them in Interviews

Are you looking to outsource accounting staff for your business?

Whether you need extra help during the busy season or specialized skills for complex tasks, outsourcing is an affordable way to get flexible support, expert services, and high-quality work without the cost of hiring in-house staff.

However, how do you find the best accounting talents online?

Here are 5 core skills every accountant should have and how to assess them in interviews.

 

Technical Proficiency

Accounting requires a strong grasp of key principles like Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), tax laws, and auditing.

These ensure compliance, reliable financial reports, and valuable insights for decision-making.

During an interview, you can assess their skills by letting them analyze a company’s financial statements to spot any issues or concerns.

You can ask questions like:

  • “Based on these financial statements, what trends or patterns do you observe?”
  • “What key financial ratios would you calculate to assess the company’s financial health?”
  • “Are there any red flags or inconsistencies that stand out to you?”
  • “How would you address these issues or discrepancies?”

This can assess the candidate’s skills to make financial reports accurate and reliable.

 

5 Core Skills Every Accountant Should Have and How to Assess Them in Interviews - Quote 1

Computer Literacy

Accountants need to be skilled at accounting software and tools for efficiently managing financial data, and generating reports.

It allows accountants to conduct in-depth financial analysis using spreadsheets and analytical tools, providing valuable insights to support key decision-making by management.

During the interview, you can provide the candidate with a sample dataset and ask them to perform a specific task using software like Microsoft Excel. 

For example, you could say:

“Here is a dataset containing monthly sales figures for the past year. Using Excel, create a pivot table to summarize the sales data by product category and month.

“Afterwards, calculate the total sales revenue for each category and identify which one had the highest sales in a specific month.”

You can also assign sample tasks that require the software your company uses, like Xero or MYOB.

 

5 Core Skills Every Accountant Should Have and How to Assess Them in Interviews - Quote 2

Problem-solving Skills

Accountants often face errors in financial data or unexpected financial challenges. 

Problem-solving skills help them identify, investigate, and resolve these issues largely on their own, ensuring accurate and reliable financial records.

To test their skills, here’s a sample case study you can present during the interview:

“Let’s say you’re reviewing the monthly financial statements and notice a significant discrepancy in the cash flow. The reported cash balance is much lower than expected. How would you resolve this issue?”

Their answer will reveal how they analyze data, identify discrepancies, and solve issues, demonstrating their problem-solving skills.

 

Ethics and Integrity

When you outsource accounting staff, accountants are entrusted with sensitive data and are duty-bound to handle it carefully and responsibly.

To assess a candidate in this area, you can give this a scenario like the following:

“Let’s say you discover that a colleague has been manipulating financial data to make the company’s performance appear better than it actually is. How would you handle this situation?”

This way, you can assess their approach to ethical dilemmas and their commitment to upholding integrity in the workplace.

 

Adaptability and Flexibility

With constant changes in regulations, technology, and business environments, accountants need to adapt fast.

This means staying updated with new accounting rules and software, and being prepared for significant industry changes.

Thus, what you need to assess is their adaptability and flexibility in new situations and requirements.

During the interview, you can ask a question like the following.

“What if you were working on a project for a client, and there was a sudden change in regulations that significantly impacted the project’s scope and timeline. How would you adapt to this change to ensure the project’s success?”

Using this approach, you can evaluate how effectively a candidate would respond to unexpected challenges and adapt their strategies.

So, are you ready to outsource accounting staff?

If you don’t know where to start, Remote Staff can help you pre-qualify expert accountants who can cater to your specific needs and standards.

Call us or schedule a callback today!

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Leandro is a content creator and digital nomad who started his career as a remote working content writer. He is an advocate of location independent sources of income. And he believes that everyone has the ability to be one as well. If you have any content requests and suggestions, feel free to email him at leandro@remotestaff.com.

About The Author

Leandro is a content creator and digital nomad who started his career as a remote working content writer. He is an advocate of location independent sources of income. And he believes that everyone has the ability to be one as well. If you have any content requests and suggestions, feel free to email him at leandro@remotestaff.com.

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