It is extremely important to hire the right person whenever there is an opening in a Finance Department position. It is your best opportunity to strengthen the skills of the department, and it is likely this person will be with you for many years. It is hard to recover from a bad hiring decision, so be thorough during the hiring process.
Virtually all organizations interview job candidates to assess whether their skills and experience meet the job requirements, whether their personality is a good fit for the organization, and how well they communicate verbally. In our previous blog post, we provided sample questions for governments to ask finance department job applicants in the pre-employment interview.
However, interviews do not do a good job of assessing other important characteristics of a successful financial candidate, such as analytical ability, detailed accounting knowledge, ability to communicate in writing, mathematical ability, and attention to detail. Therefore, it is highly recommended that a written test be included in the hiring process.
In this post, we provide several dozen written questions (and the related answer key) that can be used in written tests for applicants. These questions are appropriate for accountants and accounting clerks, who will be responsible for maintaining the general ledger, financial analysis and financial reporting. Their supervisors, including accounting manager and finance director, should also know this information. You will need a different set of questions to assess applicants who will perform payroll and accounts payable duties.
Attached is a database of questions that can be used on written tests for accounting job applicants. These questions are categorized in the database as follows:
- Please click here to download the first 3 categories of questions in PDF-format.
- Please click here to download the first 3 categories of questions in editable Word-format.
- Please click here to download the Excel Skills Assessment in Excel-format.
Here are some general recommendations to follow when developing a written test:
Making use of written tests will help your agency choose the best candidate more often. It can save time and cost in the hiring process, decrease turnover, and even improve morale.
If you would like to discuss which questions may be most appropriate to ask for the position you're hiring for, or you have other follow-up questions related to this blog post, please feel free to reach out to Kevin directly, at no cost to you:
Kevin W. Harper, CPA
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Kevin W. Harper is a certified public accountant and has decades of audit and consulting experience, entirely in service to local governments. He is committed to helping government entities improve internal operations and enact controls that will minimize risk and improve day-to-day functions.
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