The UAE is home to many industries, one of which is finance. Accountants form a critical part of this industry and in light of that, this article will help you understand what the job entails and the kinds of questions you can expect in an interview for a job in accounting.
Requirements of Accountants in the UAE
Accountants are required to perform accounting and bookkeeping activities for a business. They need to complete their work with acute accuracy and timeliness on a daily, monthly and seasonal basis. Some of the general tasks include filing, invoicing, quotations, payments, reconciliations, and reporting. They will be required to manage budgets, expenditures, creditors, and employee payrolls. This team will also be responsible for working with external parties such as auditors and government authorities. Accountants follow (and in some cases develop) the financial policies and procedures for the financial department, while maintaining strict confidentiality of the financial data.
There are three general requirements for being an accountant in the UAE (though these will vary depending on the company and the level you’re at in your career):
- Financial degree in accounting, bookkeeping, or finance
- Experience with accounting software
- Proficiency in Excel
Interview Q&As for Accountants
As always, you should be prepared for some general questions like these ones:
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- Why did you/are you leaving your previous job?
- Tell me about yourself.
- What makes you an ideal candidate for this role?
- Why do you want to work for our company?
Pro Tip: When it comes to the technical questions, don’t expect to be asked exam-like questions. Interviewees in the UAE are going to expect you to know the three forms of financial statements, for example. Rather, be prepared for quizzical questions that require you to apply your knowledge to situations.
Have you worked with (specific accounting tool) before?
When preparing for the interview, be sure to carefully analyse the requirements and specifications in the job ad. It’ll likely give you an idea of the specific accounting tools and concepts that the company uses. Whether you have experience with it or not, you need to be prepared to demonstrate that you are capable and the reasons for this. If there are major gaps in your knowledge, show your eagerness to take on the challenge and that you’re a fast learner.
Pro Tip: In today’s age, people are hired for their soft and people skills, since everything else can be taught, so bear this in mind when it comes to expressing limitations.
What methods would you use to evaluate the health of the company?
There are a variety of answers you can include here, but be sure to mention cash flow, since this statement reveals the overall state of cash relating to the company. This is an important question as businesses require robust accounting to keep business afloat, especially with the “The Great Lockdown Recession” settling in.
If it wasn’t healthy, what would you recommend?
Share insights on how your role and the responsibilities you have could pick-up on possibly colossal challenges like bad debt, and how you could find ways to solve these issues, since you’d be well acquainted with the figures. Suggest some solutions for a couple of scenarios and add in personal stories relating to this if you have any. This will demonstrate your ability to contribute to the company in a significant way, from analysing the data you work with to securing the future of the company.
Pro Tip: Be prepared to answer some questions that are left of field. These ones don’t have a right or wrong answer per say, but they’ll demonstrate your industry knowledge and potential cultural fit within the company. These kinds of questions could be:
- What impact do you think AI is having on accounting?
- How do you keep up to date with industry trends and developments?
- What separates good accountants from great ones?
- What is the biggest accounting challenge for accountants?
- What kind of working environment do you thrive in?
Which methods would you use to detect fraud?
Accountants need to be accurate. Their role is significant and companies to ensure that fraud does not occur. This answer should include your own integrity and judgement in detecting fraudulent behaviour, as well as the ability to use tools to monitor such occurrences.
How do you ensure your work is accurate?
While all jobs require accuracy, accounts have to get things right down to every last cent. The company wants to know that you are reliable and wouldn’t potentially be costing them. Show that you’re a stickler for details, are organised, have the ability to recognise mistakes, and abide by the accounting principles of dedicated accuracy.
The financial industry here continues to grow, with demand for these roles increasing. If you meet the requirements of a job as an accountant and land an interview, these Q&As will set you on the path to being hired in the UAE.