Interview questions for accounting and finance professionals

10 Effective Interview Questions for Remote Accounting and Finance Professionals

Discover 10 essential interview questions for finance professionals working remotely. Use these strategic tips to find your right fit.

10 Effective Interview Questions for Remote Accounting and Finance Professionals


This is some text inside of a div block.
a blue circle with the word linked on it
share on linkedin
the letter x in a black circle
share on twitter
the instagram logo in a circle
share on instagram

Job interviews can be stressful for employees but equally stressful for employers looking for the perfect candidate for their company. Given that most job interviews last a maximum of a few hours—with some clocking in as short as 15 minutes—you need to have a plan of attack to find out the most information about possible new hires in the least amount of time.

And now, with more companies shifting to a remote work dynamic, having the right set of interview questions for finance professionals working in a remote environment is essential to finding the perfect candidate. Knowing which questions to ask can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. 

In this blog post, we’ll offer ten practical interview questions to help you assess your potential hire’s qualifications, skill set, and experience level. We’ll also provide insights into why these questions are important for recruiters and hiring managers. Following these tips will guarantee your next accounting or finance hire is well-suited for the job.

interviewing remote accounting and finance professionals

What Are Remote Finance Professionals?

Let’s define what we mean by “remote finance professionals.” These individuals manage a company’s financial accounts remotely, often from their homes or offices, and have specialized knowledge in areas such as tax law, accounting, financial analysis, investments, payroll management, and more.  

Here are some examples of the responsibilities these consultants typically handle: 

  • Generating financial statements and reports 
  • Analyzing data and making projections for future trends 
  • Advising on investment opportunities, creating budgets, and controlling costs 
  • Developing strategies to optimize cash flow and reduce expenses 
  • Ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations

Finding the right person with the suitable skill set and experience in managing finances can be challenging, making it a great idea to expand your search area.

(If you are looking to outsource your accounting and other finance roles and haven’t started finding candidates to interview yet, we have an overview of the best websites to help you recruit. And be sure to check out our comprehensive guide to finance outsourcing, too, where we cover all the pros and cons.) 

Qualities of a remote accounting and finance professional
Source: University of Nevada, Reno

What Are the Must-Haves When Looking To Fill Accounting and Finance Roles?

The candidates you select must possess the right qualifications for the role. After all, these professionals will manage your company’s finances, so you must ensure they have the skills—both the technical skills and soft skills—and experience necessary to do a great job. Let’s examine the basic requirements you should consider.

Bachelor’s degree

When seeking potential candidates, looking for those with a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting, economics, or business administration is essential. This requirement ensures that the applicant possesses the right knowledge and expertise needed for their job.

Many organizations prefer hiring individuals with advanced education in these fields due to the intricate nature of financial management. The undergraduate program should encompass subjects such as:

  • Financial reporting
  • Tax laws
  • Principles of auditing
  • Business analytics
  • Economics 
  • Up-to-date industry practices and regulations

Keep in mind that a college degree offers valuable experiences beyond just academic knowledge. Coursework helps develop problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and analytical thinking—all of which are versatile skills that can be applied in various roles and industries.

For some positions, an undergraduate degree may be sufficient. However, for roles that require more in-depth knowledge, you may want to look for candidates with an MBA in finance or related areas.

Advanced Excel skills

Having advanced Excel skills is a must for remote accounting and finance positions. This type of role requires employees to use data in meaningful ways to get an accurate picture of your company’s financial situation—Excel is one of the most powerful tools for doing that. 

Excel allows professionals to build models quickly, analyze large data sets, and create dynamic visuals. Strong Excel skills will make it easier for them to do their job effectively—no matter where they work.

Knowledge of accounting software

Accounting software is essential in financial analysis for developing reports and tracking data. Here are some standard enterprise accounting software tools that your potential hires should be familiar with and some of their features: 

  • QuickBooks. Popularly used to track expenses, sales, invoices, and other crucial financial information. 
  • Xero. Used to monitor cash flow statements and review profit and loss statements. 
  • SAP. This enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool helps streamline all accounting processes. 
  • NetSuite. A comprehensive solution for managing financials and operations.
  • Freshbooks. Online accounting software that helps businesses manage their invoices, payments, and expenses.
  • Melio. An invoicing software that includes automated payment reminders and bank reconciliation.

Understanding the tools mentioned above will allow your new hires to hit the ground running, as they can quickly navigate through the necessary tasks and understand how each software works. 


10 Questions You Need To Ask When Interviewing Remote Accounting and Finance Professionals

Once you’ve created a shortlist of candidates with the necessary requirements, it’s time to move on to the interview process. Here’s our list of essential interview questions for financial professionals.

Tools remote accounting and finance professionals use
Source: MondayBlog

1. Which tools do you feel comfortable using on a daily basis? 

As a hiring manager, it is essential to ask remote accounting and finance professionals about the tools they are comfortable using daily to identify the most qualified candidate. Excel is usually an absolute must for these roles; beyond that, it’s important to see which ERP or accounting system they’re comfortable with. 

It’s also helpful to know whether they could learn other systems quickly. For example, if they know SAP well, chances are they can transition into something like Netsuite or Quickbooks without too much difficulty.

Asking this question during your interview gives you insight into their tech experience and how easily they’ll be able to adapt in the future.

2. Can you describe your experience working independently with little guidance? 

Your potential remote worker must be able to work independently and with little guidance. Asking this question helps identify whether they have the necessary skill set for working in an environment with limited oversight or micromanagement. 

The candidate’s answer will provide insight into their self-motivation and organizational skills. Giving a clear example of how they have worked independently in a previous role could indicate they have what it takes for a remote role. 

On the other hand, if their response is vague or they cannot explain their experience this way, it could mean they don’t have the required skills. Another benefit to asking this question is it also demonstrates to the candidate that you value autonomy and trust your employees to manage themselves. 

3. Have you ever worked in the X industry? 

Hiring someone with transferable skills will reduce onboarding time and allow you to focus on other tasks. While limited experience in your specific industry isn’t necessarily a disqualifier, it often makes more logistic and economic sense to hire candidates with relevant experience. 

Doing so will help ensure that you have someone who can quickly understand the ins and outs of your organization’s financial practices and industry trends. For example, a finance professional who has worked in the finance industry will already be familiar with financial regulations and procedures. 

Similarly, an accounting professional from the retail sector would have experience dealing with inventory management or other tasks specific to that field. When interviewing candidates, it’s important to remember that their past experiences will shape how quickly they can contribute positively to your organization. 

So if you need someone to hit the ground running, prioritizing those with experience in your particular industry is always recommended.

asking questions to remote accounting and finance professionals

4. What’s something from one of your past jobs that you would never want to do again? 

During interviews, always inquire about an aspect of a previous job that the candidate would never want to experience again. This question assists in getting a clearer picture of the interviewee’s abilities, background, and inclinations.

Pay close attention when they respond, as it can offer valuable information about their work ethic and abilities. If their answer includes something from the job description that they’d rather not do again, then it’s likely that this role isn’t suitable for them. On the other hand, if someone brings up something in the job description in a positive light during their response, they might be just what you’re looking for.

If their response reveals solid problem-solving skills and enthusiasm for tackling tough tasks, you could have a fantastic potential team member on your hands! It’s also important to take note of how candidates explain why they wouldn’t want to repeat certain experiences—this can give you insight into their work ethic and preferred working conditions.

For instance, if a candidate mentions that they would never want to work in an environment lacking clear communication and collaboration again, it suggests that they value teamwork and open dialogue. Answers like this can help you determine whether your company’s culture aligns with their preferences and if the role provides opportunities for effective communication.

5. How is your home office/desk arranged? What do you have? 

The answer to this question can tell you a lot about the candidate’s level of preparedness for working remotely. You should be looking out for a few key elements when assessing the candidate’s answer: 

  • A comfortable chair. Look out for signs that they have considered ergonomics—this suggests that they are looking after both their physical and mental health. Award bonus points for wrist cushions or standing desks.
  • A second monitor. This is essential for any accountant or financial professional, as it helps them to be more productive when working with multiple documents simultaneously. 
  • High-speed internet connection. A reliable, fast connection is vital for remote work. Ask the candidate about their current setup and if they have experienced any issues in the past. 
  • Noise-canceling headphones/microphone. Background noise can be distracting. This equipment will help ensure the candidate has a distraction-free environment while working from home. 
  • Adequate storage and filing system. Ask the candidate how they organize their work and whether they have a good filing system. 

By asking questions about their home office setup, you will be able to gauge the level of preparedness for remote work the potential employee has.

Work challenge that a remote accounting and finance professional overcame

6. What is a financial challenge you faced recently at work, and how did you overcome it?

It is essential to ask questions that will help you understand how the candidate would handle a financial challenge if one arose. Their answer will give valuable insight into these characteristics:

Problem-solving skills. How they approach a challenging situation and the strategies they use to develop solutions. 

Ability to work under pressure. How well the candidate can remain calm and focused in high-stress situations and their resilience in overcoming them. 

Communication abilities. How articulate, confident, and persuasive the candidate is when it comes to presenting ideas or discussing issues with stakeholders. 

Experience working on complex projects. How they have handled complex projects in the past, and how they can juggle multiple tasks or responsibilities. 

Overall, this simple question can give you much information about the candidate’s skills and abilities as a remote accounting and finance professional.

7. How can a company show positive cash flow but still be in financial trouble?

Your candidate's response to this query will reveal the depth of their comprehension regarding the intricate dynamics of money circulation within an organization, as well as their capacity to evaluate and maintain your company’s fiscal health. They ought to be proficient in outlining a method for pinpointing monetary issues while making it clear why cash flow doesn’t always equal financial solidity.

Your prospective team member should be able to clarify various income and expense factors that may contribute to positive or negative cash flows. These could include investment activities, debt service payments, and operational costs.

Finally, ensure they can demonstrate their expertise in recognizing revenue generation and spending patterns that might signal impending financial difficulties for the organization.

8. What is your thought process on deciding whether a merger with another company is a good idea?

Look for top candidates to stand out from the crowd if they show these abilities and experience when answering this question:

  • An ability to list all factors to consider before executing any decision—from financial to legal issues. 
  • The capability of gathering relevant data and information that can help support or refute the potential merger. 
  • Proficiency in presenting an analysis of the data gathered to make an informed decision. 
  • Confidence in presenting an analysis to stakeholders and explaining why a merger is beneficial or why the organization should avoid it. 

This question will give you an insight into how the candidate approaches complex decisions and their ability to think critically to make informed choices.

man counting money

9. Which is the most important financial document used to review the overall health of a company?

The answer you should be looking for here is a cash flow statement. This document provides an understanding of how much cash a company has coming in and going out over a period of time, enabling the organization to assess its current financial performance and prospects accurately. 

A cash flow statement is more valuable than other documents, such as a balance sheet or income statement, because it shows the actual movement of money in and out of the business. It lets you see whether there are enough cash inflows to cover the outflows and make any necessary adjustments.

If your candidate mentions another document instead, they should provide excellent reasons why it’s a higher priority than the cash flow statement.

10. Where do you see yourself in three years? 

Asking “Where do you see yourself in three years?” may seem unoriginal, but there’s a reason why recruiters and employers keep coming back to it: it can be incredibly revealing. 

Asking this question when interviewing remote finance professionals will help you determine if the candidate has goals that align with your company’s growth opportunities. Furthermore, by having them explain their answer, you can gain insight into how they think and whether they have a clear vision for their career path. 

By framing this question in a way that encourages possible new hires to explain their answer, you can also get an idea of how ambitious and motivated they are—two qualities essential for any successful remote finance professional.


Final Thoughts

These ten essential interview questions for finance professionals can help you identify the best candidates for the role and ensure they have the right skills to succeed. In addition, it's important to remember that remote interviewing requires a different approach. 

This is where Near comes into play. Our platform allows US businesses to interview potential employees without any travel or scheduling hassle, making it easy to hire remote finance professionals quickly and efficiently. 

The key takeaway is that when interviewing financial professionals from afar—like from Latin America—you need to ask the right questions to find the perfect fit for your organization. And we make that easy.

Now that you know the ins and outs of interviewing remote financial professionals, why not give it a try? Sign up today to interview for free and find your ideal accounting or finance professional without ever leaving the office!

Get The Remote Hiring Process Checklist

Streamline your hiring process with the step-by-step blueprint expert recruiters use to hire faster and smarter.

Get The Remote Hiring Process Checklist

Get The Remote Hiring Process Checklist

Streamline your hiring process with the step-by-step blueprint expert recruiters use to hire faster and smarter.


Receive remote hiring insights delivered weekly.

a white and yellow background with a diagonal triangle

Discover Why Hiring in LatAm is a Cheat Code. Download our FREE Guide Now.