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25 bookkeeping basic interview questions to find the best candidate


Bookkeeping is vital for the successful running of a business and its day-to-day operations. 

Tasks such as invoicing, balancing budgets, entering financial data, and preparing employee payslips are some of the core responsibilities of bookkeepers, so you need to make sure your next hire is able to perform them well. A good bookkeeper will have a keen eye for spotting even the tiniest errors and will be able to bring order to the business.

Finding the right bookkeeper is a difficult task, however. You need a trustworthy, intelligent, competent individual whose dedication to their job is matched by their dedication to their colleagues. 

Simple screening processes using CVs and the like are often insufficient in evaluating a candidate’s skill set, and unconscious biases are often a factor in the hiring process.

Skills testing enables you to address these challenges efficiently, especially if you use tests to replace screening CVs. 

With our Budgeting skills test, you’ll be able to make sure you are selecting only the best candidates to interview, allowing for a smoother hiring process. This budget analyst assessment test will help you identify the candidates who have the right skills for your company.

But as a recruiter, you won’t just be analyzing your future hire’s bookkeeping knowledge, you’ll also be evaluating their personality and soft skills. Finding a candidate with a compatible attitude is exceptionally important. 

Below, you’ll find 25 interview questions for bookkeepers that you can use to evaluate a candidate’s knowledge and personality.

1. What made you want to be a bookkeeper?

As with all jobs, you want to hire people who love what they do. Joy is infectious; a passionate person will spread their positive outlook among colleagues, creating a satisfied workplace environment. Plus, knowledge and passion are often interlinked. 

Generally, the more enthusiastic a person is about their job, the more pertinent skills they possess.

2. What are the main tasks of a bookkeeper?

The tasks and responsibilities of a bookkeeper

This question essentially allows you to gain a sense of how much the candidate knows about the fundamentals of bookkeeping. It also helps you determine what responsibilities the interviewee is expecting to have, should they get the job.

3. How would you rate your computer skills?

Bookkeeping requires a good grasp of technology, because bookkeepers often need to use various software tools. Even if you’re hiring for an entry-level role, and therefore don’t ask for extensive expertise of a specific bookkeeping software, a potential employee must have good computer skills. 

4. What are your greatest strengths?

Asking a candidate to evaluate themselves always reveals valuable insights into how they view themselves and allows you as a recruiter to determine whether they have the right attitude to function well in your company.

5. What is your greatest weakness and what have you done to work on it?

This question is worth asking for a number of reasons. Firstly, you can gain a sense of how a candidate sees themselves, revealing certain personality traits. It also allows you to determine an interviewee’s work ethic. 

Finally, a recruiter can assess how willing a candidate is to learn and grow; having the right mindset is key for any role.

6. How would your skills benefit our company?

Different companies have different requirements. You can use this question to see if a candidate has researched your company, and also determine whether they would be a good fit for the business.

7. Why do you want to work for our company?

In a similar vein to the previous question, this will allow you to assess a candidate’s knowledge of your company and determine their attitude and work ethic. This question also gives interviewees a chance to sell themselves to you and show their motivation and ambition.

8. Elaborate on your previous bookkeeping and budgeting experience.

This is a typical but essential question. 

Previous bookkeeping experience means that a candidate has working knowledge applicable to the position they are applying for. If the vacant position requires little or no experience, look for candidates who have the right computer skills and at least some budgeting experience or awareness of budgeting notions.

9. How did you hear about this position?

Although this is a somewhat generic interview question, it can be useful for assessing the extent and reach of your advertising. 

If you haven’t advertised this position on any platforms, this question is helpful in determining whether the candidate has any links to anyone at your company, or any connections within the bookkeeping industry itself. 

10. What have you done recently to improve your bookkeeping skills?

This allows the candidate to show a more humble side by admitting they’re not perfect. More crucially, though, it allows them to showcase their problem-solving and self-management capabilities. Additionally, by asking the candidate about recent examples, you’ll be able to assess whether they are constantly looking for new opportunities to develop their skills.

11. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Most companies want to build a solid, dedicated team to drive success. By asking this question, you can get a good sense of a candidate’s career aspirations, and whether they are looking to develop within your company or they only view your position as temporary.

12. What is the balance sheet equation?

The balance sheet equation is the foundation of accounting and bookkeeping. Candidates should all give a confident answer that describes the essential formula: Assets = Liabilities + Equity. You should also look out for references to incomes, outgoings, and stakeholders.

13. How do you avoid errors in your work?

Each candidate will have a different method of working, but they should have a confident answer on how to avoid errors and rectify the occasional mistake they do make. This question can reveal how much the interviewee cares about their job and whether they are attentive to details. 

14. Are you familiar with the tax laws and regulations of the state and country where our company is based?

A bookkeeper needs to know the law. With a lot of responsibility on their shoulders, even unintended errors could have dramatic consequences for your company. A candidate should be completely confident of the tax laws in the city, state, and country where your company is based.

15. How do you stay up-to-date with regulation changes that affect your work?

Regulatory changes are not uncommon in the bookkeeping industry, so it’s a good idea to ask candidates how they manage to stay in the loop. This will also reveal how serious the candidates are about their role of a bookkeeper. 

16. Are you a member of a bookkeeping institute?

Being a member of a bookkeeping organization is a strong indication that the candidate takes their job seriously and likes their career choice. Institutes often provide access to forums, training, and knowledge that could give the candidate that extra bit above the rest of the competition.

17. Which bookkeeping software tools are you most familiar with?

Professional bookkeepers will often have to use a range of software tools, so it’s vital that a candidate is familiar with at least some of the systems out there. Interviewees might mention systems like QuickBooks, GoDaddy, Wave Accounting, and FreshBooks.

18. How would you prepare and process an invoice?

Invoicing is a large part of bookkeeping, and is key to ensuring the company has the funds to function and pay salaries. Candidates might have different processes, but they all should be comprehensive and solid, without being overly complicated.

19. What’s your experience of interacting with vendors and clients?

A bookkeeper handles all the raw finances and data of a company, so they need to be able to communicate effectively. Experience with customers and clients can prove invaluable, as this gives you the interpersonal skills needed to facilitate communication in the workplace.

20. In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge that you will face if you were given this job?

As a recruiter, you should expect all new employees to face difficulties in some shape or form. Yet, if a new employee is able to recognize the challenges before they arise, they are better equipped to deal with them. Candidates might reply with answers such as cybersecurity risks or an unfamiliar software tool and the best ones will then elaborate how they’ll mitigate these challenges.

21. What would you do on your first day if you got this job?

This question will help you assess how independent a candidate is, and how much initiative they will take in their new role. Look for an answer that describes how a candidate will go about learning how your company functions and getting familiar with the operational side of things. The interviewee might say they would review the business accounts or check the company’s profit and loss statements.

22. If a ledger error surfaces, how would you resolve it?

An error in a ledger usually signifies a calculation mistake. These can be hard to spot at a glance, so often you have to redo many of the calculations. Ledger errors aren’t uncommon, as they are often simply due to human error, so a good candidate will provide a clear answer of the process they would follow to resolve the situation.

23. What’s the difference between a salary and a wage?

With this question, you’ll be able to test a candidate’s base level of knowledge. Answers here should include a reference to the fact that a salary is a fixed amount of money, whereas a wage can vary and is dependent on several factors, such as hours worked.

24. What is the difference between single-entry and double-entry bookkeeping?

This question helps you test candidates’ working knowledge of bookkeeping. Essentially, you are looking for an answer that explains the distinction between the two methods, one using a single account, and one using multiple accounts. In single-entry bookkeeping, the single account will only show one sum total, whereas double-entry bookkeeping distinguishes between credits and debits, and is a more transparent system.

25. What is depreciation? 

Candidates with bookkeeping experience should know this term. Competent answers should refer to its definition as an expense calculated over a period of several years to reduce the costs of assets as they deteriorate over time. Depreciation is tax deductible.

For what kind of roles can you use these interview questions about the basics of bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping is a similar profession to accounting in that they both handle the finances of a business, company, or individual. While accounting may involve some extra responsibilities, bookkeepers process the raw financial data which accountants then use. For this reason, recruiters can use these questions to interview potential accountants, too.

You can also use many of these questions for any position that may involve budgeting in some way. Candidates for jobs that handle budgets require a similar skill set to bookkeepers, so these questions are applicable here too.

A lot of these questions are also not specific to bookkeeping, but are instead extremely useful to ask in any interview situation. Personality is of huge significance when selecting a candidate, because, well, you want to get along with the people you work with and make sure they’ll fit in the team. 

At which stage of the hiring process should you use our bookkeeping basic interview questions?

We recommend you use these questions after you have evaluated applicants’ bookkeeping skills. TestGorilla offers a comprehensive Budgeting test, which will help filter out the applicants lacking the necessary knowledge to take on the role of a bookkeeper.

After assessing candidates’ raw abilities, you can begin the interview stage where you can ask the questions above to gain a better sense of your applicants’ personalities. You can also learn a bit more about their previous experience and responsibilities – and how well they handled these.

Find the right candidate with our thorough list of bookkeeping interview questions

Hiring the right bookkeeper for the job is always tricky, but TestGorilla can facilitate your hiring process.

With our Budgeting skill test and interview questions about the basics of bookkeeping, you’ll have everything you need to effortlessly screen and evaluate potential future colleagues.

You’ll also be certain that you’re hiring the right person, because we’ve picked questions to help you assess not just applicants’ skill sets, but their personalities, too.

Give TestGorilla a try today to hire the best bookkeeper and ensure the smooth running of your business. Sign up for a TestGorilla free plan.


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