BlackLine Blog

July 15, 2020

A New Reality: Accounting Interviewees Are Asking the Questions

Modern Accounting
2 Minute Read

BlackLine Magazine

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As technology impacts Accounting more and more, it’s no surprise that today’s accounting professionals are expected to possess a wider range of skills than ever before.

The better a job hunter’s analytical skills, systems knowledge, and business acumen, the more likely a desirable employment result becomes—whether the applicant is fresh out of school or looking to add responsibilities to an already flourishing career.

But what may be a surprise is that savvy job applicants are better prepared than ever before to assess their prospects of success with a new employer, and to use that information to determine whether or not to accept that call-back interview.

Questions Candidates Should Ask

While HR and hiring managers expect candidates to be able to answer their interview questions, they should also expect to get some questions in return.

Examples, according to Molly Boyle, finance transformation expert at BlackLine, typically fall into three basic categories.

Does the prospective employer have:

  • A culture of continuous improvement?

  • A plan for embracing new technology?

  • A program for professional development?

“Continuous improvement shouldn’t be just an empty phrase,” says Boyle. “A job candidate should ask for specifics:

  • How does the Accounting and Finance department evaluate itself?

  • What are some process KPIs for meeting deadlines, ensuring accountability, and demonstrating efficiency?

  • And, more generally, who in management has the responsibility of measuring improvement?”

Plenty of organizations now say they’re dedicated to technology, or transformation. But it’s best to get some detail by asking questions like:

  • What does the tech landscape look like?

  • What’s the company’s ERP platform?

  • What automation tools are in place, and what does the roadmap look like?

  • Is the company evaluating advanced technologies like machine learning and RPA?

  • How might these be applied to workflows and other processes?

Employee Development

Finally, says Boyle, look for specifics around employee development.

Questions may include:

  • Are there cross-training or rotational programs?

  • Are formal mentorships available?

  • What about CPE credits and professional conferences—does the company support these?

“All too often a company will hire resources for a specific, critical job,” she says. “Then, they’ll offer the employee an opportunity to do more advanced work without taking away the day job.

“Employee prospects should be careful not to get trapped by this. They should be willing to work hard and go the extra mile, but they should ensure the employer will set them up for success.”

The right kinds of questions can go a long way in helping the prospective employee make an informed career decision, notes Boyle. Today’s prospects are already asking these questions, so it’s in companies’ best interests to be prepared to answer them.

“This will go a long way in helping employer and employee make the right decisions—and ultimately create a mutually beneficial relationship.”

Read our latest issue of BlackLine Quarterly for more stories like this, including tips on effective change management and how to successfully achieve internal transformation.

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