Interview Questions: Explaining a Complex Issue to Someone without Accounting Knowledge

Accounting KnowledgeKnowledge, skills, core competencies – these are the commonly tested elements in job interviews. To impress your interviewer, you need to excel in each area. Questions may vary depending on the interviewer, but almost always include questions about your interpersonal skills. One possible question could be: How do you go about explaining a complex issue to someone without any accounting knowledge?


Interviewers ask this because they want to know if you have the ability to explain things to people who don’t understand accounting terms such as “accumulated depreciation,” “sundry debtor,” “sundry creditor,” and “sustainable competitive advantage.” They want to know how you’re going to communicate with people who have a little or no knowledge of the various terms in this industry.

So, how are you going to answer this question? How are you going to convince the interviewer that you have the ability to deliver information to people who are don’t understand the terms that you and your boss are using?

Here are a few reminders you might want to consider when answering this question:

1. Demonstrate your ability to clearly and effectively convey information to individuals or a group.

Tell your interviewer about the skills you’ve acquired in order to become a credible and effective speaker who can make arcane information understandable. Show him or her how clear and concise you can be in explaining details to both individuals and groups.

2. Express how you can adjust your communication style to suit your audience.

You have to convince the interviewer that you can adjust your style of communication according to what kind of person you’re talking to. Whether they’re non-financial personnel, clients, or even strangers, talking to them should be a cinch for you.

3. Show how ready you are to answer a barrage of questions.

You will, of course, receive a large number of questions. Expect this from people who really have no clue about the things you’ll be explaining. Once they start asking, you have to be patient and ready. Thus, you need to remind the interviewer that you’re perfectly capable of dealing with these questions.

4. Demonstrate your flexibility when it comes to explaining things to different kinds of people.

Don’t just tell the interviewer that you can communicate effectively; instead, show him or her how you can. Specify the communication styles that you use to explain certain things – the strategies and techniques you use to explain difficult concepts to various types of people.

5. Cite examples from previous work experience.

To further explain your answer, you should provide at least one example in which you explained a complex issue to someone who doesn’t know anything about accounting. Tell your story and how you were able to make that individual understand what you were trying to say.

People tend not to listen when they don’t understand something. It’s your responsibility, therefore, to explain accounting principles so that people can understand them. Follow the tips we’ve discussed and show the interviewer that you have the skills to succeed in this aspect of your job.

Read 53575 times Last modified on Thursday, 18 January 2018 11:08
Alan Carniol

Alan is the creator of Interview Success Formula, a training program that has helped more than 80,000 job seekers to ace their interviews and land the jobs they deserve. Interviewers love asking curveball questions to weed out job seekers. But the truth is, most of these questions are asking about a few key areas. Learn more about how to outsmart tough interviewers by watching this video.