Financial Analyst Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated January 27, 2023
Published July 26, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Effective interview preparation can improve your confidence, show your professionalism, and increase your chances of being hired for a job. Some roles, like financial analyst positions, can require in-depth industry knowledge and thorough study before you meet with your interviewer. Reviewing common questions can help you practise your answers and re-familiarize yourself with more complex concepts. In this article, we list general interview questions, questions about your background and experience, in-depth financial analyst interview questions, and provide sample answers you can use to practice for an upcoming interview.
Financial analyst interview questions with sample answers
To aid you in preparing for your interview, here are some common financial analyst interview questions with sample answers:
Why do you want to work as a financial analyst?
Your interviewer may as this question to learn more about your goals, motivators, and interests. Give an in-depth answer that explains why you want to work as an analyst and what attracts you to the position.
Example: "I want to work as a financial analyst because I have always loved working with numbers. I enjoy identifying trends, helping others, and using my analytical skills to create cohesive narratives out of raw data. I think my curiosity and detail-oriented nature serve me well in this role."
What made you interested in our company?
A company may ask why you want to work for them specifically. This can be a great opportunity to showcase the research you performed prior to your interview or to express your genuine enthusiasm in the role.
Example: "I'm interested in your company because I want to learn more about the financial side of your industry. Also, when researching your company, I came across your core values. The value of 'Our company is our family' really spoke to me. I want a career where I can grow and develop. I see myself staying in my next role for a long time, and the idea of working for a company that genuinely cares for its employees is extremely appealing to me. I'm very excited about this opportunity."
What do you hope to accomplish in your first month working with us?
Interviewers may ask this question to learn more about your process, your work style, and to see how well you would fit into their company. Try to think of proactive steps you could take to show you're a dedicated employee who is eager to get started in a new role.
Example: "In my first month, I would like to learn all I can about your existing processes. I'd familiarize myself with the company's various clients, investors, and stakeholders and try to gauge your current situation to provide a context for my analysis. I'm definitely not someone who waits to be told what to do. I like to be proactive and constantly look for things to do and ways I can be helpful."
What is a cash flow statement, and how should it be used?
Employers may test your practical knowledge of common financial analysis concepts. Try to keep your answers simple and concise, and explain them in a way that someone who knew nothing about finance could understand.
Example: "Cash flow statements summarize how income or balance sheet account changes affect a company's cash. It allows analysts to see operating, investing, and financing activities independently. They can provide insight into operation performance, spending habits, income sources, and liquidity information for creditors."
Can you describe your previous role and your responsibilities?
Potential employers might ask you about your previous role to gauge your experience and comfort level with certain processes. Be thorough in your answer and highlight your strengths.
Example: "In my last role, I managed our bank transfer and helped our company qualify for a new, $3 million loan. I prepared reports for upper management and presented monthly on my analysis. I was the primary contact for our bank, managed our company's P-cards, and prepared charts and graphs to make data easily accessible for investors, stakeholders, and partners. Within my first year, they promoted me to the position of senior financial analyst because of my thorough reporting and leadership abilities. In that role, I managed two junior analysts and helped them with their work as well."
Have you ever had a conflict with a team member? How did you resolve it?
Conflict can be an inevitable part of working with a team. Interviewers may ask this question to determine your communication and resolution skills. This can help them determine your emotional maturity. Consider using the situation, task, action, and result (STAR) interview technique in your answer.
Example: "I had a co-worker who would routinely wait until the last minute before providing me with important metrics I needed to create a report for upper management each Friday. I became increasingly frustrated because leadership would blame me for the delays, even though it wasn't my fault. I spoke with the co-worker and calmly explained the consequences of his delayed reports and asked if he could send them to me on Thursday instead. He agreed and with the new timeline, I could turn my work in early and avoid further conflict."
How would you address inconsistencies in a company's finances?
Your interviewer may ask this question to assess how well you could communicate a potential problem or ethical dilemma. Be sure to show your commitment to enforcing ethical business practices in your answer. If possible, you can draw from a previous experience to explain how you handled a similar situation in the past.
Example: "In my previous role, I noticed a portion of funds were missing from the income statements of a small business each month. It was always the same amount, and there was no record of where the funds were going. I alerted my supervisor, and together we brought it to the business owner's attention."
What is an EBITDA? What doesn't it include?
Asking technical questions can help your potential employer assess the level of your industry knowledge. Define the term clearly and answer each part of the question fully. Your answer should illustrate your knowledge and confidence in what EBITDA stands for and what it measures.
Example: "EBITDA stands for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. It's a useful metric for understanding a company's overall financial standing. It's provides a very high-level understanding of a company's finances, but it doesn't include capital investment costs like property and equity."
If a company's debts increase, what changes would you see on their income statement?
This is another question an interviewer may use to assess your expertise and ability to communicate common financial analyst topics. Try to answer the question in a way that fully addresses how debt can affect the income statement.
Example: "Debts directly affect net income, or profit, on the income statement. So, increased debt would produce decreased profit. To remedy this, I would conduct an assessment and speak to the company's board members and provide strategies to reduce debt and increase profitability."
How is cash flow affected by increased accounts receivable?
This is another example of a question an interviewer may ask to assess your qualifications and preparedness. Try to communicate your thorough understanding of cash flow's and accounts receivable's relationship with one another.
Example: "Increased accounts receivable directly affects cash flow, net worth, and asset value. As accounts receivable increases, cash flow decreases. Prolonged durations of increased accounts receivable can mean a company will run out of money."
What are your greatest weaknesses?
An employer may ask this question to see how capable you are of reflection. Instead of listing your faults, try to identify weaknesses that may actually help you in your career, or follow up with an explanation on how you've learned to overcome your weaknesses in your work. Careful answers can help you frame your weaknesses as potential strengths.
Example: "I have a tendency to be a bit of a perfectionist, which can slow down my work process. I've learned helpful skills that help me stay on track and meet the high standards I set for myself without forgetting about deadlines or timeline restrictions. I can also be stubborn. This can be both a positive and a negative trait, because I stand up for what I believe in, but it's important for me to remember to listen to others' perspectives and ideas as well."
Now that we've listed general interview questions and in-depth financial analyst interview questions, you'll be better prepared to practice for an upcoming interview.
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