Job interviews are as much an opportunity for you to assess the firm as they are for the firm to assess you. Especially at the managerial level, the alignment of values, expectations, and growth trajectories is crucial. For those stepping into leadership roles within an accounting firm, here are five essential questions to ask during the interview process:
How do you measure success?
Why it matters: Understanding how a firm evaluates success provides insights into its priorities, values, and expectations. Whether it's client retention, financial performance, team engagement, or a combination of various metrics, getting clarity on this helps a potential manager align their efforts effectively.
What is the company's approach to professional development and continued education?
Why it matters: The accounting world is rife with changes, from shifting tax laws to evolving best practices. For a manager, ongoing learning isn't just beneficial—it's essential. This question can reveal the firm's commitment to ensuring its employees remain at the forefront of industry knowledge.
Can you describe the firm's leadership style and team dynamics?
Why it matters: As a prospective manager, understanding the leadership style above you and the dynamics of the teams you'll oversee is vital. This question helps gauge the culture of the firm, collaboration ethos, and potential challenges or synergies.
What is the degree of managerial discretion afforded to this position?
Why it matters: Managerial autonomy can vary widely between firms. Understanding the boundaries of discretion, from budget allocations to team structuring, will give you an idea of how much agency you'll have in shaping your department and implementing strategies.
Where does the firm see itself in the next five to ten years, and what role do managers play in achieving that vision?
Why it matters: This question helps align personal growth trajectories with the firm's vision. It also reflects a candidate's strategic mindset and interest in contributing to the company's long-term success.
Asking the right questions can not only showcase your in-depth understanding of the industry and leadership requisites but also ensure that the firm aligns with your personal and professional aspirations. Remember, an interview is a two-way street; it's about finding the right fit for both parties. With these questions in hand, managerial candidates can feel confident in making informed decisions about their next career steps within an accounting firm.