Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Common Interview Questions for Treasurers

The treasurer of a company oversees the firm's financial activities, in particular, investment and risk management. Among the myriad duties of the treasurer are managing cash flows, arranging financing, making investment decisions, and implementing policies and procedures that govern the organization's accounting practices. Ultimately, the treasurer is tasked with being one of the primary stewards of the company's financial assets.

Getting hired as a company treasurer requires demonstrated accounting skills, trustworthiness and leadership ability. At your job interview, expect questions that probe these topics, as the interviewer seeks to determine if you possess the necessary skills to serve as company treasurer. Practice delivering responses that sell yourself as a candidate and set you apart from the competition.

Key Takeaways

  • The treasurer of a company is a key financial manager that handles the firm's investments, risk management, and accounting practices.
  • The position of treasurer involves a great deal of responsibility, and ultimately, treasurers are responsible, in part, for the success and solvency of a business.
  • The treasurer position is upper management level, so hiring companies will look for a stellar track record of accounting experience, leadership ability, and knowledge of tax law.

Education and Past Experience

Once considered a branch of accounting, treasurer positions are now in their own specialized field and have their own unique career paths. Treasurers are the ultimate processors: they need to incorporate as much good information as possible and make informed decisions that affect the firm's bottom line.

Getting hired as a company treasurer usually requires a combination of higher education and demonstrated accounting experience. Treasurer is not an entry-level position; it is more comparable to a controller job, given the degree of autonomy a treasurer has over company finances. Therefore, in your interview, you want to paint a picture of robust knowledge and experience that has prepared you for the responsibilities of being a treasurer.

The most common college majors for treasurers are accounting and finance. Statistics is another major to consider if you are highly quantitatively inclined. Public accounting experience is helpful for the position, as is government experience, since a big part of the job is staying informed about regulatory guidelines.

If you lack public accounting or government experience, or if your college major was outside the realm of finance, you can still project the experience needed to succeed as a treasurer. Talk about the high-level financial responsibilities you have held in past positions, and highlight your advanced knowledge of accounting principles and regulatory codes.

Leadership Ability

Far from being simply a cog in the company's finance wheel, the treasurer is responsible for making that wheel turn. It is very much a leadership role. Expect your interviewer to probe your leadership and managerial skills and experience every bit as much as they do your accounting acumen.

Do not simply offer past job titles that sound managerial, such as "audit team lead" or "accounting manager." Describe specific projects on which you have managed others to successful outcomes. Talk about conflicts that arose during these projects and how they were resolved through your leadership. When it comes to hiring company leaders, few things make a candidate look better than demonstrated conflict resolution skills.

Industry Knowledge

Because the job of treasurer is a high-level position requiring advanced accounting knowledge, expect your interviewer to test this knowledge. A popular interview tactic is for the candidate to be asked to offer their knowledge on something esoteric to the industry. For example, you may be asked to give your opinion on how the Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act of 2002 has most affected corporate accounting practices. Alternatively, your interviewer might ask you to define an industry term, such as mark-to-market accounting, and to describe its advantages and disadvantages.

If you have the education and experience to get in the door for a treasurer job interview, it is likely you have accumulated the knowledge to handle any industry question thrown your way. However, it is still important to practice responding to some of these questions, even though you have no way of knowing which specific questions you'll receive. Practice giving responses that are clear, concise and confident, and that reveal a deep level of understanding without sounding too opinionated. For example, if you hate SOX and feel it has strangled business growth, avoid putting it in those words; instead, describe the challenges you have faced in previous accounting positions due to this legislation.

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