Are you among the successful applicants invited for an internship interview among the Big 4 in the U.S.? Probably, you are surprised you made the final list. However, there is a big task before you. Which questions do you expect from your interviewers? What are the common questions you may face? And which answers will be correct for these questions? Worry no more! We have provided the typical Big 4 Internship Interview Questions. Plus the answers to some of them.
About the Big 4
The Big 4 is the largest accounting firm in the U.S. It comprises four different accounting firms that provide services to their clients. The individual firms among the Big 4 include Deloitte, EY, KPMG, and PwC. Each firm has its policy and offers internships to undergraduate and graduate students. In addition, fresh graduates in related courses like Accounting, Business Administration, Finance, and others can apply for these internships. However, it would be best if you prepared well for the interviews to stand a chance of getting a Big 4 internship.
General Big 4 internship interview questions
The hiring managers at Big 4 ask candidates some general questions. These questions help them to know if the students have the skills and knowledge to adapt to the company’s culture. The way you answer these questions will determine the outcome of the interview. Plus, it is used to assess your interests, motivations, and strengths. Here are some general questions a hiring manager may ask during your Big 4 internship interview. They include:
- How do you feel about multitasking?
- Have you ever demonstrated leadership qualities? Describe the situation.
- How do you handle work-related stress?
- What are the most recent books you read?
- Why do you want to work for us?
- Which skill singles you out from other candidates?
- What is the one thing you hope to contribute to the company?
- What made you interested in accounting?
- What do you do to have fun?
- How often do you travel?
- What strategy would you use to motivate your team?
- What are the biggest challenges in your career or as a student?
- What is your single best accomplishment as an individual?
- Which one do you prefer? To analyze minute details or observe situations from a broader view?
- Which details are not on your resume?
Big 4 internship questions about experience and background
Furthermore, the hiring managers at Big 4 also ask candidates questions about their experience and background, primarily work and educational level. Therefore, expect the following questions during your Big 4 internship interview. They include:
- What is your academic level?
- Tell us your school’s educational curriculum. Suppose you had the chance; what’s one thing you would change about it?
- What’s your educational plan?
- What are the best qualities you want in team members?
- What is the most challenging problem you have solved for a client?
- Have you taken ACA exams before? How many?
- Which ACA exam was the most difficult for you and why?
- Narrate how you prepare for an ACA exam.
You can also read our article on how to get a paid internship this year.
In-depth Big 4 internship questions
In addition to the questions above, interns will face the following Big 4 internship questions to test their knowledge of the company. They include:
- What differentiates our company from the other three accounting organizations comprising the Big 4?
- Which area should our firm consider serving in the future?
- Which topic or concept in accounting do you like the most?
- Are you comfortable conveying technical information to a client who needs to learn more about the field?
- What are the three primary skills you want in an accountant?
- What’s the difference between accounting and auditing?
- What kind of accounting software do you prefer to use?
- If you disagree with a client’s investment choices, how would you handle them?
- Which of the ten generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) is the most important?
- What factors do you use to determine the accuracy of the financial information you get from a client?
- How do you minimize the risk of making errors in your work?
- What is your concept of big data in accounting?
- Advise your client on how to spend or invest $5 million investment.
Big 4 interview questions with sample answers
Here are some Big 4 internship interview questions and sample answers for students. You can use them to prepare for your interview at any Big 4 firm this year. They include::
Question 1. What do you think is one of the biggest challenges in the accounting sector?
When a hiring manager asks you this Big 4 internship question, the intention is to consider the difficulties of working as an accountant. Therefore, you must demonstrate that you know of a significant challenge and have sought ways to overcome it. For instance, you can relate to them an experience you have in the industry. In your answer, you must highlight a challenge and tell him how you’ve handled it.
Sample answer: “My biggest challenge in the accounting industry is staying updated with the industry’s regulations and laws. The field has many requirements at both the state and federal levels. Concepts like employee compensation and tax rates are a few to mention. However, I try to educate myself on the latest changes by monitoring news alerts, subscribing to industry newsletters, and tracking the passage of new legislation by the government.”
Question 2. Describe a time when you helped a company reduce its operating costs.
This question aims to determine your resourcefulness and initiative and how your skills will benefit the company. In addition, the hiring manager wants to know how you can solve a similar p[roblem for future clients. Therefore, you must describe the challenge and highlight your steps to cut the company’s operating costs.
Sample answer: “I worked as an accountant at a hospital where they used various software to track patient records and financial information. When I audited the software, I discovered that multiple departments used different programs with similar capabilities. Thus, I led a campaign to improve the software programs. In the end, the company stopped using some software which reduced its operating CST by 10%.
Question 3. How do you remember small details when recording transactions and preparing journal entries?
This Big 4 Internship question helps hiring managers to know if their candidates understand the importance of accuracy in accounting. Applicants with details and accuracy will be preferred for an internship in a Big 4 firm. Therefore, you must share your strategy to ensure precision when answering this question.
Sample answer: “I have an index card on my desk and bedside that reads ‘Check and check again.’ The intention is to remind me to implement this concept into my professional life. Because, as an accountant, I cannot afford to make silly mistakes. So, it helps me include every detail by automating tasks, keeping a to-do list, and setting reminders in my digital calendar.”
Question 4. Describe how you would explain a complicated accounting concept to someone in another department.
Supposing you got your Big 4 internship and another intern in a different department approaches you to explain your duties. What would be your response? That is the essence of this Big 4 Internship question. Your employer wants to know how you interact with people outside the accounting department.
Sample answer: “AS a student, I met with a mid-sized business owner who needed my advice on how to proceed with their company’s operations. Their professional background was in agriculture, so they did not understand accounting topics. I organized a slideshow presentation for them, with the help of graphs that summarized the key statistics regarding the business’ revenue and expenses. Once I finished my presentation, I gave the owner a written summary which they reviewed independently. Afterward, they asked m questions, and I answered the questions for them.
Question 5. What’s the difference between accounts receivable and deferred revenue?
Hiring managers at a Big 4 firm ask these internship questions to determine a candidate’s comprehension of terms that may confuse some people. You’ll likely hear this question as a candidate interviewing for an internship or entry-level position. Your answer must clearly define each term and p[point out the differences between the two.
Sample answer: “Accounts receivable is the money customers owe a business when receiving a product or service. On the other hand, deferred revenue is the money customers pay for a product or service they haven’t yet received. Put differently, accounts receivable is an asset, while deferred revenue is a liability.”
The Big 4 internship questions above will help you to land your dream internship in a Big 4 firm this year. However, you must review them to know the best answers to each question. Otherwise, you may lose your chances of getting this job.