What skills do accountants typically need?
Accounting firms typically look for the following skills in potential employees:
Business knowledge and interest
High levels of organisation
Problem-solving and logical aptitude
What psychometric tests do accountancy firms use to assess these skills?
Numeracy and analytical thinking are typically assessed via numerical reasoning tests. Financial reasoning tests will evaluate those same aptitudes, and also business knowledge.
Abstract reasoning tests are used to assess your logical aptitude and capacity to solve problems, while verbal reasoning tests will look at how you communicate.
Finally, situational judgement tests examine how you react to certain work-based scenarios, and whether those align with the company’s mission and values.
See below for further detail on each type of test.
Numerical reasoning tests
Numerical reasoning tests evaluate your ability to comprehend and analyse numerical information in the form of charts, graphs, and tables.
Most companies looking for candidates to fill accountancy-based roles are expecting the individual to have exceptional numeracy skills; someone who can work fast with numbers and comprehend numerical information quickly, logically and skilfully.
These types of roles also require strong analytical skills and ability to problem-solve. As such, the recruitment process is likely to place emphasis on aptitude tests designed to demonstrate these types of skills.
It is common for these tests to be numeracy-based, so that the employer can see how well you handle analysing numerical information and completing complex calculations. As such, we would highly recommend revising basic numeracy principles such as calculating percentages, ratios, factions and decimals.
Accountancy-specific numerical tests may include information such as a profit and loss account, balance sheets, currency conversion or everyday economic data.
Practice tests will help you improve your accuracy and speed, so you can answer the questions with confidence.
Financial reasoning tests
Financial reasoning tests also assess your numerical reasoning skills, with the key difference that they assume you have a background in finance.
Financial reasoning tests examine your ability to identify relevant information from charts, graphs and text, simulating what you might typically expect to do when receiving reports in an accounting role.
Accountancy firms find this test useful because it tests two crucial skills of an accountant: can the candidate quickly understand what the key information is, and are they strong at understanding data?
Abstract reasoning tests
Abstract reasoning tests evaluate the way in which you identify logical patterns. It tests your logic and your ability to strategize (with the added pressure of trying to do it quickly in a testing scenario).
Accountancy firms occasionally use these tests as it helps them assess your ability to problem-solve and learn new skills.
Verbal reasoning tests
Verbal reasoning tests assess your understanding and comprehension skills. In a verbal reasoning test, you’ll be presented with a short passage of text that you’ll be required to interpret before answering questions. These are typically in the ‘true, false, cannot say’ multiple-choice format.
Accountancy firms find this test useful because accountants will often be asked to read reports and information, which they need to be able to comprehend in detail.
Situational judgement tests
A recruiter might use a situational judgment test to gauge your ability to react to hypothetical scenarios that may be encountered in a typical work day of an accountant.
Situational tests allow accounting firms to get an understanding of how well you might do in the role at their company. It provides an indication of whether you’re a good fit.