Job interview - what to expect?

Comfy Registered Posts: 2 New contributor ?
I have an interview for an Assistant Management Accountant role and was hoping someone could offer some guidance about what to expect in the interview. More specifically, what types of questions might be asked that are management accounting focussed.

Currently I'm a systems administrator working with accounting software in a large public sector organisation and have very little management accounting experience outside of recently achieving membership status and the odd Visual Basic application that I have written for our clients.

So this job application is a long shot but I hope that other skills that I posses will make up for this lack of experience.

Any advice would be gratefully received.


  • SashaDella
    SashaDella Registered Posts: 362
    In the first interview they will most likely ask you more general questions, and ask you to give examples of when you have worked in certain situations.

    For example, "can you give me an example of when you have had to work under pressure, and tell me how you would manage your tasks" or "give me an example of when you have shown commitment to a team"

    They may throw in a few technical questions but if you don't know the answer, be honest but still give a guess.

    I've recently had GOT a job for this exact title and these were the type of questions they asked me, however it depends on the company too.. the size, the management support, what are things that are important to the company. Do your research into the type of customers the business will have.

    Excel skills are generally an important one as well.

    Hope this helps!!
  • Jo Clark
    Jo Clark Registered Posts: 2,525
    I've just got back from an interview...

    Why do you want the job?
    What skills do you have to offer/bring to the job?
    IT skills?
    Financial skills?
    Explain when you have completed a piece of work on your own... what/how etc.
    Have you dealt with sensitive/confidential data... explain...
    Team working...

    and more... my head is all over the place at the moment and awaiting that phone call... which could be later today or tomorrow...

    Good luck for your interview when the day comes:o
    ~ An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest ~
    Benjamin Franklin
  • Nps
    Nps Registered Posts: 782
    In a similar (ish) vein.......

    I spoke at length with a recruitment agency (a large National one) yesterday, in preparation for my imminent job search. This is what I gained from that conversation.....

    Bearing in mind they are a specialist accountancy agency.......
    Completely disinterested in me being AAT qualified
    Vaguely (but only just) impressed with being half way through ACCA
    Not interested in any Sage qualifications, only practical Sage experience
    Impressed with my overall attitude (general words were "you'd get most suitable jobs if you were interviewed as you come across very well, but we'll struggle to get you that interview in the first place due to your lack of experience)
    Very very impressed with my Excel skills and stated that confidence with pivot tables and Macro's is a HUGE selling point
    Strangely impressed with some random temp work I did 16 years ago, for 1 week in a purchase ledger department (which I had no training for and was shown what to do on my first day, hence not particularly difficult work).

    So, in a nutshell, I shall be brushing up on my Excel skills and using those to get my foot in the door! I was quite shocked that it was Excel knowledge rather than accounting knowledge which seemed to be key.

    So OP, you may find that your Excel skills have given you a healthy head start and they are prepared to overlook the lack of experience in other areas.

    Good luck in the interview.

    Jo - fingers crossed for you.
  • SashaDella
    SashaDella Registered Posts: 362
    It doesn't matter how many qualifications you have.. its the work experience that counts. If you have 12 months experience then you are pretty much set for your next role.

    Alot of people study and qualify, yet without experience your knowledge has never been applied in REAL situations, and some people have never even worked in an office!!

    The excel skills are a big bonus... they ask about this in every interview i've had!

    If anyone wants some personal advice, Im happy to help :)
  • Model500
    Model500 Registered Posts: 43 Regular contributor ⭐ ? ⭐
    I have always found a really valuable resource when it comes to preparing for interviews, cv's etc.
    Do your research on the company, as much as possible. I've got a lot further with job interviews just from knowing what key issues the organisation is facing now and in the near future.
    Also, brush up on your awareness of what goes into management accounting, an awareness of everything from managing debtors/creditors, accruals, budget setting/monitoring, monthly/annual accounting, treasury management, statutory returns, dealing with audits, reporting to board and everything in between!

    Good luck.
  • villapb
    villapb Registered Posts: 357
    Nps....regarding excel, working in practise 3 years, I use a lot, filter, advanced filter, auto fill, formulas, how to use csv bank down loads. presentation, linking, and most importantly remembering to save work lol every 10mins or so...........creating using templates, I hardly use pivot tables and never macros. I don't agree about accounting knowledge more then excel as how can use excel without accounting knowledge. What if I gave you a Tesco bag full of stuff from a client and asked you to do a vat return, so you need both.
  • Nps
    Nps Registered Posts: 782
    Oh I completely agree. I was just surprised that Excel was seen as such a factor and seemed to overshadow my accounting qualifications. I guess her point was that everyone applying for those types of roles have the AAT skills, and it was Excel skills which set some apart. My point to the OP was that sometimes employers are looking for non accountancy skills as well as the obvious ones.

    Interesting though that you disagree about pivots and macro's though, perhaps they are more relevant to specific jobs she is currently trying to fill. She was really adamant that they were key skills, hence I am sat here now brushing up on my macro skills!
  • villapb
    villapb Registered Posts: 357
    ps formatting cells I spend half my life doing it lol
  • villapb
    villapb Registered Posts: 357
    Pivot tables and macros........the guy next to me has moved into practise he is cima with 20 years experience but moved into our area. He said used pivots for large amounts of data, but not macros much as that's more programming of template work. So I guess management guys its what they use, but we don't.........tbh
  • villapb
    villapb Registered Posts: 357
    I reckon I use excel 90% of my day lol.........never off it
  • Comfy
    Comfy Registered Posts: 2 New contributor ?
    Thank you all for the advice. It has been very helpful.

    I think the only reason I was offered an interview was because of my Excel skills and experience of using a certain accounting package (not SAGE).

    I will report back about how it goes whether it be good or bad.
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