Industry Resumes & Interviews Tips

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Accounting Field Defined

Financial accounting involves the financial transactions of a company. Cost accounting (managerial accounting) involves job costs, cost analysis, and costs involved in making a profit (to put it very simply). Cost accounting is considered a specialized form of accounting. Tax accounting is another specialized form of accounting. It is involved with the tax consequences of transactions upon a company (very simply put again). The accounting job description of your choice may vary according to type of accounting, entity, and position. Positions in financial accounting consist reconciling accounts to the financial statements; preparing opening, adjusting, and closing entries; preparing financial statements. Most financial accounting personnel report to the Department Head. If you have questions that are industry specific a staffing agency like AccountPros is a great resource.

What are some incorrect interview questions and answers?

Incorrect Interview Questions & Answers

Amid the interview jitters, applicants say many things they wish they could take back. Some comments make a bad impression on the interviewer. Here are some ways not to answer questions.

  • Why do you want to move to [job location]? When asked why you want to move to Philadelphia for the job while you currently live in Detroit, do not say because you're a huge Flyer fan. Even though this may be true, interviewers want to hear you will relocate because you find their opportunity challenging and a great career move.
  • What are your weaknesses? When asked what your weaknesses are, do not answer by mentioning one that cannot be turned around into a benefit for you. For instance, stating you have a quick temper and fly off the handle easily cannot be turned around to your benefit. Stating you need more patience with people who do not live up to their potential is turned around to your benefit. Think of weaknesses in this light and you will benefit. Always think of the positive side to any weakness you may have.
  • Why do you want the position? When asked why you would want the position, do not answer because it pays well. That may be true, but employers will look at this answer as meaning you are just in it for the paycheck. They want to know that you will benefit the company, not just yourself.
  • Why are you looking for a new job? Whenever you are asked about former employers, never ever talk negatively about them. This reflects negatively on you. Every position and former employer has some positive to talk about. Your former employer may have been a jerk, but you learned a lot about your field while employed there.
As far as questions go, never ask about the salary on the first interview unless your interviewer brings it up. Do not ask if there is a lot of overtime. Ask what the average work week consists of. By stating it that way, your interviewer can describe the hours in a roundabout way. Learning what to say and not to say during your interview will prove to your benefit.

How do I interview?

How to Interview & Techniques

Be yourself. This will come through during the interview. It does not mean being slack and disrespectful of your interviewer. It simply means being comfortable with yourself and experience. You know your qualifications and what you can provide your potential employer. Be confident of this and present it modestly.

Some other techniques to use during your interview are:

  • Prepare properly; be composed; perform research; arrive 15 minutes beforehand; gain composure;
  • Dress appropriately & conservatively. Men should wear a suit, polished shoes, pastel shirt, tie, black socks. Women should wear a suit or pant suit,
  • Wait to be asked to sit once in interview room; extend your hand, introduce yourself, make eye contact, smile; listen attentively, and maintain good posture.
DON'T: play with hair, chew gum, don't fidget or slouchbite nails; use modulated speech and tone - not too soft, don't slur words, talk clearly; have a list of questions to ask; bring a reference list; bring a copy of your resume.

Knowing the proper interview techniques will only benefit you. Good luck!

What are some interview questions and answers?

Interview Questions & Answers

Interview questions can prove unnerving to the applicant, if not properly prepared. By being properly prepared for interview questions, applicants will increase their chance for interview success, thus resulting in a greater chance of receiving job offers.

There are a number of questions which are standardized industry practice. They are meant to weed out applicants to find a better fit with the individual company. Applicants need to become aware of how to best answer these questions to insure their interview success. Questions are usually classified into different categories: People Skills, Attention to Details, and Teamwork.

Applicants must be familiar with what they entail. These categories are particularly important in the accounting and finance jobs field since they involve characteristics that good employees must possess. Questions involving these subjects offer a further insight into the applicants' attitudes and future compatibility with the firm.. Most entities, from sole proprietor to corporate, places value on these interview questions and categories.

Here is a listing of some interview questions, broken down per category, that applicants need to be prepared for. Information is mainly from the Vault Guide to Finance Interviews.

People skills:

1. What do you like most about working with others? What least?

2. A customer calls in to complain about the product, demanding a discount. You suspect they aren't telling the truth. What do you do?

3. What does the word "service" mean to you?

4. What are willing to do to make a client happy? Where do you draw the line?

5. Describe some of your strategies for dealing with difficult people.

Detail oriented:

1. How important are details to you? Why or why not?

2. What does it mean to you to be organized?

3. What role do you think organization plays or should play in this position?

4. How important has organization been to your past positions?

5. Are you naturally an organized person? If not, what steps do you take to organize yourself?


1. How well do you work with others?

2. Describe a situation in which you sacrificed your immediate needs for the larger good of a team.

3. Have you participated in any team activities? What were they and what did you learn from them?

4. How important is recognition to you?

5. What do the words "team player" mean to you?

Go over all of the above questions when preparing for your interview. Have a thorough and easy to understand answer that projects your confidence, skill, and education.

Other interview questions applicants need to be prepared for include:

Give me an example of how you would prioritize jobs. Though not a question, this statement requires an answer. More and more companies are using a technique known as the “behavior-based interview”. Instead of asking the applicant’s opinion about something, interviewers ask for examples of past behaviors or situations. This technique is known to display whether an applicant has the correct attitude in alignment with company values.

What are your weaknesses? This is another popular question is asked at interviews. For the proper answer to this question, applicants need to think about one of their particular skills and the subsequent downsize to it. Applicants need to then mention how they deal with this "weakness"™ to their benefit. Applicants need to be prepared to give an example of how this happens. Talk about a weakness that does not have much to do with your potential job.

A great way to be prepared for interview questions and answers is by practicing. Have a friend read the above questions to you, as if they are

How do I handle my first day on the job?

How to Handle Your First Day

The first day on your job is always nerve-racking. There will be plenty of policies, politics, and people introduced to you that will have you feeling overwhelmed. More than likely, you will go through an orientation class. It may be for a few hours or few days. You will be given a corporate employee manual. Either way, there will still be unanswered questions. These questions arise from the unspoken word. So, here are some points to take into consideration to properly prepare you for your first day on the job.

Parking: You notice that there is a company parking lot. All spaces are unmarked. Is there a certain area you are to park in or not? There may be an unspoken company rule regarding this. You need to ask to be safe.

Building and/or Floor Access Cards: How do you get an access card? Where is it used? How is it used? How does a company access card differ from a visitor's access card? Many times this question needs to be answered before you enter the building the first time. Ask your supervisor when you receive your job offer.

Bring your own lunch the first day. You won't be familiar with territory eateries yet. Also, your first day schedule may be too hectic to go out for lunch. Play it safe and brown bag it to begin with. That way you won't have to rely on others.

Dress conservatively. Until you can be sure of your work environment and surroundings, play it safe and dress in what is known as business casual. Men: pastel cotton shirt and pants, polished shoes. Women: pastel shirt and either pants or skirt, polished shoes.

Locate the rest rooms. The importance of this doesn't have to be stated.

Locate the employee break room. This will be the room where you more than likely start the day, have your lunch, and take breaks.

Find out if management or employees pay for coffee and beverages. Companies differ on this point. Ask to be certain.

Learn the office and/or building set-up. This includes: whose office is where, where departments are located, what is on each floor, where elevators are, where files are.

Locate the fire exits and fire extinguishers on each floor.

Learn the emergency exits and evacuation procedures.

Having these items in mind your first day on the job will make it easier on you. Good luck!

Can I see a sample finance resume?

Sample Finance Resume

Dr. Jekyll
1450 Mockingbird Way
Baltimore, MD 20804

OBJECTIVE: A position that enables me to use my financial analysis and project management skills

Investment Analysis Intern, 2001 - Present
OP Investments Inc., Washington, D.C.

  • Analyze financial performance of private equity fund holdings in Asia and Eastern Europe
  • Execute credit and financial analyses of sub-project equity investments across various sectors
  • Produce annual credit reviews of funds and conduct financial agreement compliance reviews of funds
  • Evaluate business plans' viability, capital structure, and compliance with U.S. statuary requirements
  • Structured new project/corporate finance deals with capitalization of $100,000 to $100 million in agriculture, health insurance, IT and telecom
  • Produced IT/telecom marketing plan to expand brand awareness and market penetration of OPII products
  • Develop rapport with clients interested in investment opportunities in emerging markets, including Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, the Pacific Islands, and Southeastern Europe
Research Consultant, 1999 - 2001
Hyde & Co., Washington, D.C.

  • Expanded firm's product line by developing marketing research report on U.S. Hispanic market
  • Assembled economic and demographic data into consumer demand/market penetration model
  • Co-authored final report focusing on top 10 urban markets for Hispanics
Business Advisor/Project Manager, 1996 - 1998
International Agricultural Preservation Foundation, Holland, The Netherlands

  • Assisted with project planning and budgeting for organization sponsored by European Union
  • Formulated strategic model to monitor and evaluate fruit commodities and tree survival rates
  • Spearheaded agricultural technology proposal that was awarded $40,000 from Japanese Embassy Fund
  • Improved project results by making modifications that increased tree survival rates by 20 percent
MBA degree candidate, June 2002, Ghoul University
Selected Coursework: Statistics, Finance, Marketing, Organizational behavior, Accounting
Bachelor of Arts, Sociology and Communication, Stevenson School of Communications, Ghoul University

Available upon request

(NOTE: This resume is found on the Vault Guide website as a sample finance resume.)

Why an interview thank you letter?

Interview Thank You Letters

After completing an interview, it's good form to send a thank you note/letter to the potential employer. This is said to express appreciation, display consideration, and expresses valuing another's time.

Writing an interview thank you letter/note needs to be done as soon as you are done with the interview. You need to be prompt in sending an interview thank you note due to the potential employer interviewing so many applicants. The promptness of receiving your thank you note will display your enthusiasm and level of concern to your potential employer. You want to be remembered.

A well-written interview thank you letter can keep you fresh in the potential employer's mind. The letter will also give the reader more insight into your writing skills. This is important since written communication skills are always in demand within the finance and accounting industry.

A well-written interview thank you letter does not need to be anything fancy, nor time-consuming. It is the thought and presentation that counts. The components of a well-written interview thank you letter/note are as follows:

Today's Date

Addressee: (Mr. or Ms. XXX)

Reason for the note/letter consisting of a short thank you statement followed by one or two sentences highlighting the interview experience.

Example: "Thank you for the informative interview earlier today. It provided me with greater insight into your organization that I otherwise could not have obtained. For instance, I love the way your firm is involved with charity work. I would be honored to become a part of your firm."

Closing salutation such as: Sincerely Yours (standardized)

Your signature

Phone number

Other points: Handwrite your interview thank you note. It is more personalized than a typewritten version. Plus, it also means you actually took the time to bring out some paper and put a pen in your hand. In this technological age, that is a welcoming thought. Some, however, would argue against handwritten notes. This is when a typewritten thank you letter is used.

Writing Materials: The material used to write your interview thank you letter/note is important, also. Use either a heavy-stock notecard with envelope, or 8-1/2" x 11" paper. Do not use pretty flowery, purple stationary found in department stores. You want to project a professional appearance, not the opposite. The finance and accounting industry is known to be overall conservative. Your offhanded colors and designs of your interview thank you note/letter will not be appreciated.

In our modern technology, many people are sending email interview thank you notes. Follow the same format as the written variety mentioned above. Include a signature line under your name.

Include writing a professionally appearing, properly worded interview thank you letter/note as part of your interview process. Good luck!

What are some accounting job descriptions?

Accounting Field Defined

The accounting field is described as recording, maintaining, and summarizing company transactions. Information is put into report form known as financial statements. The accounting field can found in private enterprise and in government entities. When found in government entities, it is known as governmental accounting. When found in privately-owned entities, it is known as either financial accounting, cost accounting, or tax accounting. All accounting in private industry follow guidelines in compliance with GAAP-Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

What is the interview process?

Interview Process

The interview process is a two-way street. The company wants to know if you will be a good fit with the company values, attitude, and qualifications needed. The interviewee (applicant) wants to know if the company will be a good match with their values and qualifications. The only way to make the most of the interview process is to be prepared to ask and answer questions.

Be prepared with questions of your own. Research the company in advance to prepare your own list of questions. Take this list of questions with you to the interview. Conducting research involves both prior to and during the interview.

Prior to the interview:

Read the company's annual report. Understand this report. This contains a wealth of information to prepare you for the interview. Perform some ratio analysis for your own benefit. If done correctly, this will reveal important information about the company.

If the company is publicly traded, research the stock information and notice trends. How many shares of traded? What is the stock price? Have there been any noticeable fluctuations in the stock value? Why? Any recent stock options offered? Any stock splits? By being prepared with stock research, you will gain insight into the company. Having your questions answered to your satisfaction will also give you satisfaction of the company's competency and honesty.

Read about company news. Keep abreast on what is happening with the company. Any new products or services offered recently? Any personnel changes such as new positions added? Many times company public news can include executive turnover. This is important to know. There are underlying reasons behind this trend. You need to be aware of this before accepting or rejecting a new position.

Prepare your reference list. Have at least three references available. To be safe, have two references be work-related. One reference will be a personal reference. Check with your references beforehand for inclusion onto your list. Include name, title, and phone number.

Research during the interview:

Ask about your superior's method of management. You need to find out if the person believes in a closed-door policy or open-door policy. This means, can employees feel comfortable knowing they can approach the superior without making an appointment (“open door policy”)? Or, do they need to schedule an appointment to speak with their supervisor (“closed door policy”)?

Be observant to the office culture and worker's personalities. Is the office one exhibiting quietness or is the atmosphere one of throwing paper planes while yelling across cubicles? (Don't laugh...this happens in some administrative offices.) Is the office well lit and clean? Notice the dress code. Is it to your liking?

Listen to what is said about your potential position. Is there a history of high turnover? Why is the position open? Ask if you are not told. High turnover signifies something is wrong. Is the job description to your liking? Is there a chance for advancement? What is the review process? What is the salary range? Is travel involved? If so, how much? Is overtime mentioned? If not, find out. Ask diplomatically what the average hours are for this position.

Notice the interviewer's demeanor. Would you like to work with someone like this? Do they seem easy to talk with? Are you comfortable (as can be during an interview)? Are they making good eye contact? Do they speak clearly and in non- demeaning terms? This section is important since the interviewer is a reflection of the company.

Ask about the company benefits, and its future plans. Listen to what is said. Do you like it?

Ask about findings from your ratio analysis. How are these questions answered? To your satisfaction? Why, or why not?

Are there accounting job opportunities?

Entry Level Resumes For Accounting Job Opportunity

The main difference between an entry level resume and experienced level resume is the placement of the education section.

Entry level resumes are the standardized resume except for education being listed first, generally. That is, if the education was completed within the last couple of years. If the education was completed ten years ago, list it near the bottom of the resume.

On an entry level resume with education being completed ten years ago, list your qualifications and skills in bulleted points after the Objective statement. This will highlight your skills to the potential employer. Your education will be noticed, but your skills and qualifications will be more important.

How do I write a CPA Resume?

CPA Resume

A certified public account or CPA Resume is the standard resume except for listing the CPA designation after the person's name on the top of the resume.

The CPA designation is also listed near the bottom of the resume in the topic, Professional Certification. Here, one includes the date received. Spell out CPA in this section.

Joe Jekyll, CPA
1450 Mockingbird Way
Baltimore, MD 20804

Professional Certification: CPA, Certified Public Accountant, 2005

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