Ace Your Next Auditing Interview: The Top Questions You’ll Be Asked and How to Answer Them

This article is focused on common auditor interview questions, along with example answers for 20 of them. There isn’t always one right answer to a question, unless it’s a very technical one. That’s why the examples are just suggestions for what to look for in a good candidate or how to answer a question correctly.

Interviewing for an auditing position? You’ll need to be prepared to answer some tough questions that dig into your skills, knowledge, and experience Auditing interviews aren’t just about verifying that you know accounting principles and standards – you’ll also need to demonstrate critical thinking, communication abilities, and grace under pressure

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover the 19 most common auditing interview questions, tips for crafting winning answers, and examples to help you stand out from the competition. With the right preparation, you’ll be ready to ace your next auditing interview.

The Most Frequently Asked Auditing Interview Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that come up in auditing interviews

1. Why did you choose a career in auditing?

This common opening question allows you to explain your interest in the field and why you have pursued this career path. Emphasize skills like your analytic abilities, eye for detail and desire for problem-solving.

2. What do you enjoy most about financial auditing?

Highlight aspects of the job that appeal to you, like investigating discrepancies, evaluating internal controls, and analyzing complex financial information. Focus on the parts of the work you find rewarding.

3. Tell me about your experience with performing financial statement audits.

Use real examples to demonstrate your hands-on experience auditing financial statements. Mention the types of audits you have done, audit standards you follow, and specialized skills you have.

4. Describe some challenges you have faced when conducting audits. How did you handle them?

This question tests your problem-solving ability. Choose examples that show how you identified issues and persisted to find resolutions. Demonstrate tenacity and creative thinking.

5. How do you ensure accuracy when performing an audit?

Methods like cross-checking figures, following accounting rules, and carefully documenting your findings can help ensure accuracy. Emphasize how meticulous you are.

6. What qualities make an effective auditor?

Point to important auditor attributes like objectivity, analytical skills, attention to detail, integrity, and communication abilities. Match your skills to the role’s demands.

7. What auditing standards are you familiar with?

At minimum, discuss your knowledge of Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS). Mention other standards like International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) or industry-specific standards as applicable.

8. How do you stay current on auditing regulations and standards?

Ongoing learning is key in auditing. Discuss the resources you use to stay up-to-date, like courses, conferences, publications, and professional groups. Demonstrate commitment to continuous improvement.

9. Tell me about a time you identified a significant error during an audit. What steps did you take?

Use an example that shows your systematic approach to resolving errors, following protocols, and implementing improved controls to prevent recurrences. Display sound judgment.

10. How would you explain a complex auditing concept to a non-accountant?

Adaptability is essential. Discuss how you translate technical details into clear, simple terms. Share any positive feedback you received for explaining complex information.

11. What experience do you have using data analytics for auditing?

Data analytics skills are increasingly valued in auditing. Detail your hands-on experience with relevant programs and how you use them to analyze figures, spot trends, and enhance audits.

12. How do you determine which areas of a financial statement need deeper investigation?

Talk through your risk analysis process to identify anomalies and red flags. Share how you decide where to devote the most attention on an audit.

13. Describe fraud risks that could occur within financial statements. How would you detect them?

Demonstrate your fraud awareness. Give examples of risks like improper revenue recognition, overstated assets, and understated expenses. Show how you proactively identify signs of fraud.

14. What steps would you take if you suspected material misstatement within the financials?

Walk through the protocol you would follow if you believed the financial statements were misrepresented. Emphasize adherence to standards and proper channels of communication.

15. How do you build strong working relationships with audit clients?

Discuss strategies like maintaining objectivity, listening actively, setting clear expectations, communicating regularly, and providing value. Show you can develop trust.

16. Tell me about a time you faced pushback from a client during an audit. How did you respond?

Share an example that highlights maturity under pressure, conflict resolution skills, and unwavering professional standards. Demonstrate how you turn challenges into positives.

17. What experience do you have using data analytics for auditing?

Data analytics skills are increasingly valued in auditing. Detail your hands-on experience with relevant programs and how you use them to analyze figures, spot trends, and enhance audits.

18. How would you deal with having an unreasonable deadline to complete an audit?

Emphasize meeting quality standards as the priority while displaying flexibility. Discuss how you would scale back the audit while preserving integrity, communicate issues, and negotiate if needed.

19. If a manager you work with has a compliance issue, how would you handle it?

Show sensitivity by stressing the importance of following protocols around reporting issues. Share how you would carefully communicate concerns through proper channels to avoid accusations.

Crafting Strong Responses

How can you make your responses stand out? Here are some tips:

  • Use specific examples – Don’t give vague, theoretical answers. Ground your responses in real scenarios and numbers.

  • Demonstrate technical knowledge – Incorporate terminology, standards, regulations, and accounting principles to highlight your expertise.

  • Highlight soft skills – Auditing also requires relationship building, communication, ethics, and critical thinking. Illustrate these qualities.

  • Practice aloud – Rehearse your answers until they sound natural. Pauses, stuttering, and awkward phrasing can undermine otherwise strong responses.

  • Ask clarifying questions – If you’re unsure what the interviewer is asking, don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions. You want to provide relevant information.

  • Be succinct – Your responses should be focused and direct. Waffling or oversharing dilutes your message.

Thorough preparation using these tips will help you excel at even the toughest auditing interview questions. Let’s look at examples of polished responses.

Sample Responses to Common Auditing Interview Questions

Let’s walk through some sample answers using the strategies highlighted above:

Q: What experience do you have with performing financial statement audits?

A: I have conducted external financial statement audits for four years at my current firm, primarily working with large manufacturing corporations. This has included reviewing quarterly and annual SEC filings to verify compliance with GAAP standards. I have audited balance sheets, income statements, statements of cash flows, and accompanying footnotes. A major project was serving on the lead team auditing Acme Corporation, a $4 billion multinational manufacturer of technology products. We invested over 3,000 hours ensuring their corporate financial statements were free of material misstatement before public filing.

Q: How do you stay current on auditing regulations and standards?

A: Staying current on standards and regulations is crucial in auditing, so I utilize a variety of resources. I maintain membership in the AICPA and participate in seminars to learn of new rules and best practices. I subscribe to Accounting Today and the Journal of Accountancy to read up on new developments. I also make it a priority to attend the yearly AICPA conference which offers excellent continuing education. Within my firm, I volunteer to take on new audits of companies in emerging industries so I am constantly expanding my knowledge base.

Q: What steps would you take if you suspected material misstatement within the financials?

A: If I suspected material intentional misstatement, I would adhere to GAAS standards. I would first gather documentation of the suspected misstatement and any corroborating evidence. I would discuss the matter privately with management and request that they amend the statements. If they do not amend, I would elevate the matter to the appropriate level of senior management. If the issue still remained unresolved, I would inform the audit committee and consider withdrawing from the engagement. As a last resort, I would report the suspected misstatement to the SEC. At each step, I would thoroughly document the matter in accordance with the law and auditing standards.

Q: How do you build strong working relationships with audit clients?

A: Trust is essential for a productive working relationship with audit clients. I start by making sure clients understand the audit plan and timeline to align expectations. I maintain regular communication to provide status updates and give them an opportunity to ask questions. Where possible, I offer guidance to help them improve processes and avoid common pitfalls. I am also careful to maintain boundaries and objectivity rather than acting as a consultant. Establishing a relationship grounded in mutual respect and transparency has enabled me to deliver excellent results for my clients.

How to Prepare for Auditing Interview Questions

With practice using real examples, you can master even the most difficult auditing interview questions. Here are some tips for preparation:

Additional Auditor Interview Questions for Employers

Here are some additional questions to ask in an auditor interview. Since auditing is a technical job, it’s important to make sure that the candidate is qualified by asking enough technical questions.

  • How do you develop an audit plan?
  • Are you familiar with IFRS?
  • In what ways do you stay up to date on changes to rules and laws?
  • How do you think internal auditing makes a business better?
  • Have any of your suggestions been successfully implemented?
  • How would you approach giving a client negative feedback?
  • What steps do you take to fix an auditing mistake?
  • How do you go about gathering data?
  • How do you stay calm in stressful situations?
  • Describe your career goals.
  • Why are you leaving your current role?
  • How did you become interested in auditing?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • How would a colleague describe you?
  • Explain how you assess a company’s risk.

Auditor Interview Questions and Answers

Here are some common questions for auditors: behavioral interview questions, technical interview questions, and general interview questions.

  • “Tell me about yourself.” This is a common interview question used to find out about personality and cultural fit. It can also show how interested the candidate is in the job and how long they are likely to stay with the company. As a candidate, you should stress how committed you are to the field and how much you care about it. I’ve been working as a bookkeeper for a while now, so I chose to go back to school and get a four-year degree in accounting. Auditing has always interested me because it’s a lot more in-depth than what I’ve been doing. I also think it’s great for businesses and the people who work for them. Because I like to thrift and sew when I’m not working, many of my clothes come from used clothing stores that I’ve changed. I also have a bearded dragon that I spoil.
  • How do you keep yourself going at work? Everyone has days when they don’t want to be there. When hiring people, interviewers want to know that the person can stay motivated and interested in their job even when things get tough. The candidate’s strategy should work well with the business they work in. Answer: I’ve always been the kind of person who wants to do a good job. I rarely struggle with being motivated to work. But when I do, I just tell myself how important what I’m doing. It’s not enough to just find mistakes or bad behavior or help the company. With what I do, I can keep people safe and catch bad guys. To keep myself pushing to do my best, I keep telling myself that making mistakes can have pretty bad results. If I falsely accuse someone of doing something wrong, it could hurt their career very badly. And if I don’t notice dangerous or illegal behavior, I could hurt not only the client but also everyone who works there.
  • What would you do if someone asked you to do something wrong? Auditors are in a position of trust because of the duties they have. To do their job well as an auditor, they need to be above reproach. While asking a candidate how they would act if they were asked to do something unethical doesn’t mean that’s how they’ll actually act, their answer can still tell you a lot about them. Example Answer: Of course, what I would do would depend on what the request was. But most of the time, I do everything I can to act in an honest way. My job is all about accuracy, truth, and objectivity. That means I have to be sure that every audit report I sign is completely clean. I wouldn’t change my report just because someone asked me to, of course. How I would deal with things right now would depend on what I was told to do and how safe I felt. I would definitely write it down and report the behavior to the right people afterward, though.
  • Not all of your answers can fit on your resume or cover letter. Tell us why you think you’re the best person for the job. Likely, most people who are being interviewed will say a lot of the same things that are on their resume when asked this question. But it also gives applicants a chance to list skills or qualifications that they might not have put on their resume for some reason. I find it a little hard to sit here and say that I’m without a doubt the best choice. But at my last job, I got a lot of praise for how quickly I learned the new skills. I have been an auditor for about a year. I liked my last job, but I’d like to try something new now. I know it’s cliche, but I want to challenge myself. I’m looking for a long-term career at a company. There wasn’t much room for growth at my old company; they already had a lot of great auditors. I learned a lot there, but I hope I can really make a difference here, and I’m going to do everything I can to make that happen.
  • We want to hire you because you did research on the job. Interviewers like people who are well-prepared for interviews. So, people who are applying should stress the skills listed in the job description. To see if the person is a good fit for the company culture and their personality, this is another way to test them. Example Answer: I’m fairly new to auditing, but I’ve always been very careful and keen on details. I’m still new to my job, so I’m set on doing my best and getting better as quickly as I can. I’m very good with computers, so I’m learning how to use auditing software like iAuditor and Gensuite.
  • Why do you want to work here? Most people get jobs to make money, but it’s nice to know that the applicant really wants to work for that company. Both employees and employers are bothered by job changes, so it’s best for workers to apply to places where they want to work and for employers to hire people who want to work there. Since this is a new business, there should be a lot of chances for me to grow with it. They already had a lot of really skilled auditors, so there wasn’t a lot of room for me to move up. I really liked my old job. It’s fun for me to push myself when I work in a new place with new people. I want to put the skills I’ve learned to good use and know that my work is helping the company. A lot of smart people helped me and double-checked my work, which was great, but I never felt like I had to really push myself.
  • What do you like to do in your spare time? What someone does in their spare time shouldn’t usually hurt their chances of getting the job. This question is a great way to break the ice and get people talking, which can also help them feel less nervous. It can also be used to help determine cultural fit. Example Answer: I’m an amateur seamstress. I love to sew. Some of my clothes are self-made, but most of the time I go to thrift stores and choose clothes that I can really make my own with a few changes and additions. I guess you could say I sew and shop at thrift stores. I also have a pet bearded dragon. I took a lot of time to care for him. When I’m at home, he loves riding on my shoulder. There’s something about reptiles that I’ve always liked, and I hope I can get another one. They need a lot of room, but my apartment is really small.
  • What do you want to be doing in five years? It’s important to make sure that the candidate’s goals are realistic and match those of the employer. When interviewing someone, most of the time, people want to know that the person has thought about the future and has goals. That’s a good question. In five years? I feel like I still have a lot to learn because I’m pretty new as an auditor. But it would be great if I could become a senior auditor. Should be able to make that within five years. So, yeah, that’s where I’d like to see myself.
  • What do you enjoy most about your job as an auditor? Employers want to hire people who see their job as more than just a way to make money. If the candidate thinks the job is worthwhile and rewarding, they’ll be more likely to stick with it and do better work. It’s also better for people’s health to enjoy their work. It might sound strange, but I like going over everything and making sure it’s all right. It’s like there’s this balance to it. So, I actually enjoy doing audits. But what I like most about my job is that I can help make sure everything works as it should. It can also be very satisfying to make a suggestion and have management agree with it. It’s even better when you see the thing you suggested being used to improve the company. It makes me happy to know that what I’m doing helps my coworkers too.
  • How well do you know your own strengths and weaknesses? This is something that many interviewers look for. Interviewees who have done a lot of them will probably answer the weakness question with something that can also be a strength. “I guess I’d say that my biggest strength is that I’m very good with numbers.” I always have been. It has been very helpful to me in getting my degree and in life in general. So, when I look at a business’s finances, I can usually tell right away if the numbers don’t add up. Of course I check my work twice, but it makes my job go by a lot faster. One of my flaws is that I think everyone knows the same things I do. This is such a basic idea in accounting; how can you not get it? I’m working hard on it. Not only do I have to explain things to people who might not be experts in my field, I also have to be aware of what other people are good at.
  • Do you think there are certain traits an auditor should have in order to do their job well? This is a mix of a personality and work style question. It’s not always possible to give the “right” answer, but the interviewer will probably be looking for certain traits. To find out if the candidate and interviewer value the same qualities, it’s important to compare them. Example Answer: Well, being good with numbers, being precise, and checking my work over and over again are traits that have helped me in my career. I look over everything multiple times. Just like accounting, auditing is all about being exact, and even small mistakes can have a big effect. So, checking my work is paramount to me.
  • Which software tool do you like best for auditing? These days, most jobs have software tools that make the job easier and faster. It’s important to know that the candidate knows how to use the software and tools needed to do the job well, since they’ll probably be using them often. It also helps if they know how to use the tool that the hiring company uses. Example Answer: So far, I’m partial to iAuditor. That’s primarily what I used at my previous job. There are also some good things about Gensuite. I find some parts of the interface to be easier to use. But I’ve always been good with computers, so I can quickly learn how to use new ones.
  • How would you get a manager who doesn’t believe in internal audits to support them? Audits are important to make sure that the company is doing well and not taking too many risks. Some managers may worry that an audit could put them in danger or make them look bad, so they will fight against having one done. The person in charge of hiring should know that the auditor can speak up for themselves. Example Answer: I’m not too scary, so I think that helps in these situations. The first thing I would do is try to figure out why the manager doesn’t want an audit. After that, I’ll do my best to calm them down, usually by telling them what the auditing process is all about. If I can’t get them to talk, I usually start talking about why audits are good. Like finding any possible mistakes—everyone makes them, so it doesn’t have to look bad on the manager And streamlining processes and improving efficiency. Most people think that audits only happen when something is wrong, but that’s not always the case.
  • How do you make sure that the data or documents you are auditing are correct? The auditing process is very detail-oriented and depends on accuracy. Thus, people in charge of hiring want to be sure that the person they choose will follow the necessary rules. Candidates want to show the interviewer how seriously they take making sure things are correct. Answer: The first thing I always do is gather information. If the data you start with is wrong, your results will not be correct. I check the dates, times, and entries to make sure everything is correct and up to date. After that, I start putting everything together, checking each step along the way to make sure it all makes sense. I also document everything. I’m almost compulsive about it. It makes a big difference when I check my work again, and it also helps if I work with another auditor or an outside auditor is hired to make sure everything is correct. And I always double-check my work.
  • Explain what “root cause analysis” means and how it can be used in quality audits. “Root cause analysis” is a key part of auditing. It looks at the real cause of the problem instead of just the symptoms that can be seen. Employers want to see that the applicant understands the idea and wants to encourage them to use it. The goal of root cause analysis is to find the real cause of the problem, also known as the root cause. I’ve often employed it myself. It’s important to find out what the problem was in the first place. If you don’t, you won’t really fix it; you’ll just cover up the other problems that the real problem is causing.
  • What would you do if you found proof of fraud during an audit? This is something that auditors may come across, so the interviewer wants to know how they’d handle it. Being asked about a candidate’s behavior is a good way to find out about their values and personality. These kinds of questions can give you an idea of how the candidate might act as a worker. Answer Example: The first thing I’d do is write down what I found. Then I’d double-check my work. Fraud charges are very serious, and I wouldn’t want to do it if I wasn’t sure. Then I’d get all my ducks in a row. I’d document everything. I do that all the time, but I’d be even more specific than usual. I will also look over the company’s rules again to make sure I understand how to handle and report fraud. I’d get my documents together, covering when, where, and how. I would let the right people know and start any other tasks that were allowed by the company, like doing more research or filing reports.
  • How do you make sure that an audit report has all the important information? Auditors collect and analyze data. It’s extremely important that their reports are accurate and complete. An audit looks at a lot of data, which means there is a lot of room for mistakes. Managers who hire people need to be sure that candidates are serious about turning in full reports with all the necessary information. Example Answer: I’ve already said that I have to check everything twice, right? On top of that, I use checklists all the time. When you don’t have reminders, it’s easy to forget one of the many parts that go into a report. I also make sure to write down a lot of information about the process. That way, if there’s a mistake in the report, I can quickly fix it because the information is there.
  • What do you do to stay objective during audits? Part of the job requirements for an auditor is the ability to be an objective observer. Interviewers want to know that candidates can look at data without bias so that it is as correct and complete as it can be. Aside from that, it’s important that they don’t guess and instead use the data to come to a decision. Example Answer: It’s just numbers. The data speaks for itself. It’s my job to gather and analyze data, and I try to keep it separate from other things. Of course, I have to think about the industry it comes from because it’s not a vacuum, but I keep telling myself that the answer will be in the data, and I go into an audit not knowing what I’ll find.
  • How do you make sure that different auditors are on the same page? It’s important that reports follow the same rules and procedures. Most audits follow certain rules, and it’s important that reports from different auditors in the same company are similar. That helps you compare them and also helps other auditors keep up with them. Answer Example: “Well, I’m not usually the one making them do that at this point.” But I follow the rules to make sure that my reports are the same as those of the other auditors. Any good auditing department has guidelines. Checklists, layouts, and formats that are used by everyone should be followed. Even if I’ve written that report before, I always go over it again. It’s important to keep in mind how the process should work, what information I need to gather, and what the final report should look like and what it needs to have.
  • What is the best way to explain complicated audit results to people who aren’t experts in the field? Part of an auditor’s job is to be able to explain what’s in their report to stakeholders, who are usually people in management. Because of this, they’ll have to deal with people who aren’t experts in their field and explain it in a way that non-technical people can understand. Answer: This is something I’ve had a little trouble with. To make up for it, I always make a very detailed presentation. Then I pare it down. What’s important to explain here? What’s not important to explain? I know this stuff, so I don’t need other people to know it too. I only need to tell them what needs to be changed for them to understand. I encourage questions, too. I want people to let me know when I make mistakes so that they can understand the results of my report. Sometimes I skip over simple ideas that are simple to me. Also, you need to be patient because accounting can be hard to understand at times.

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