In this article, you will learn about the 17 Most Asked Finance Interview Questions & Answers. Take a glimpse.
Beginner-Level Finance Interview Questions
- What is finance according to you?
- How can a Company Show Positive Net Income but go Bankrupt?
- What does Working Capital Mean?
- Why do Capital Expenditures Increase Assets When other Cash Outflows don’t and Instead Create Expenses?
- Explain a Cash Flow Statement.
- Can a Company Show Positive Cash Flows While Facing Financial Problems?
- What do you mean by Preference Capital?
- What do you mean by Hedging?
- What is WACC, and how do you calculate it?
Intermediate-Level Finance Interview Questions
- What is RAROC?
- What do you mean by Fair Value?
- What do you mean by the Secondary Market?
- What is the Difference Between Cost Accounting and Costing?
and so on…
Read the full article to know more in detail on Beginner, Intermediate and advanced level Finance Interview Questions and answers.
If you were wondering how to prepare for a finance interview, look no further because this article will cover the most commonly asked finance interview questions. We have covered all levels of finance interview questions – beginner, intermediate, and advanced – to offer you a comprehensive idea of the finance domain. By going through all these questions, you’ll have a better sense of what to expect from the interviewer in a finance interview.
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Below are some of the most asked finance questions categorized into three difficulty levels. You can take note of these questions and curate your very own finance question and answer pdf. Doing so will give you your personalized and unique MBA finance interview question and answer pdf.
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Why Choose Finance as a Career?
Before diving into the list of finance questions for interview, it is important to evaluate the future scope of your choice of career. Financial roles remain an indispensable part of every industry, regardless of its sector of operation. Compared to other sectors, employment in the financial sector is expected to multiply faster between 2022 and 2032, with 911,400 job openings estimated annually on average.
In addition, the global financial services industry alone is estimated to clinch USD 33,313.5 billion by 2026. This guarantees that finance-related jobs will not only continue to be in demand but also grow rapidly in the foreseeable future. Here is a list of other reasons that justify pursuing a career in finance:
- Dynamic industry: The global nature of the financial market means it is constantly shifting and sprouting new avenues. Thus, it makes the industry dynamic, offering exciting opportunities for finance graduates with suitable skills in financial modeling, equity, stock market, valuations, etc., to keep themselves aligned with the surging industrial demands.
- Growth potential: The significant professional growth opportunities it offers are among the topmost reasons to choose a career in finance. Whether it is working in banking, law, accounting, or digital financial services, the choices for progression are aplenty. The opportunities for growth are endless, which keep on increasing with experience.
- Fast-paced environment: If working in a high-speed environment and facing new challenges is your forte, finance is the right choice for you. Job roles in finance require creative thinking, decision-making, and critical thinking skills, along with effective problem-solving capacity to thrive in these fast-paced surroundings.
- Multiple career paths: The most prominent advantage individuals with a degree in finance enjoy is living without the fear of stagnation. You are free to explore diverse positions, whether it is in investment banking, financial services, financial law, auditing, accounting, taxation, or retail banking. You can choose to become a financial analyst, accounts manager, insurance broker, research analyst, financial services advisor, or any other career based on your area of interest.
You can even switch careers without wasting much time or effort by taking up a short professional course. In this case, your prior experience will be an added advantage, boosting your resume.
- Stability and handsome salary: The industry’s continuously evolving nature ensures new job opportunities are always on the horizon. Moreover, the finance sector is known for its stability and lucrative pay packages, making it a popular career choice among young professionals.
- Upskilling and diversification: As the industry continues to evolve, adopting technology like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and blockchain ensures that individuals committed to continuous learning will always find new career paths within the sector. Learning and applying new technologies like RPA, cloud banking, and embedded financial systems further opens the door to new career paths.
Candidates can also explore specializations in fintech, like risk analysis, investment analysis, risk management, etc.
While the above-stated reasons are counted among the major driving forces for choosing a career in finance, the fundamental criteria for your choice must lie in your interest and passion for the industry. Before appearing for any interview, prepare yourself well to answer the basic questions, ‘What is finance?’ and ‘How do you perceive your role in the industry?’
Beginner-Level Finance Interview Questions
If you are a fresh graduate preparing to dip your toes into the employment market, do not skip basic finance questions, including financial terms for interview. Most interviewers are more inclined to check the interviewee’s fundamental knowledge of the subject before moving on to more complex questions.
Below, we have listed some frequently asked finance interview questions and answers for freshers to help beginners cover the essentials.
1. What is finance according to you?
Ans: Finance is a broad term comprising money, investments, capital markets, debt, banking, and credit, among various other aspects. Essentially, it refers to the act of managing money and procuring necessary capital for various purposes. Financial professionals oversee, create, and study financial systems, including money, assets, liabilities, banking, investments, and credit. The three primary finance types are — corporate finance, personal finance, and governing body finance.
2. How can a Company Show Positive Net Income but go Bankrupt?
Ans: A company can show positive net income while facing bankruptcy by deteriorating working capital (by enhancing accounts receivable and reducing accounts payable) and financial tactics.
3. What does Working Capital Mean?
Ans: Working capital is the amount you get after deducting current liabilities from current assets. It tells you how much cash is tied up in the business through inventories and receivable and how much cash you need to pay off the business’s short term obligations (in the coming 12 months).
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4. Why do Capital Expenditures Increase Assets When other Cash Outflows don’t and Instead Create Expenses?
Ans: Capital expenditures are capitalized because they give benefits to the firm for a substantial amount of time. For example, a new branch would make a lot of money for the firm for a long while but an employee’s work will only benefit until the time of paying the wages and that’s why they create an expense. This is the primary difference between an asset and an expense.
5. Explain a Cash Flow Statement.
Ans: First we start with net income, proceed line by line while making adjustments to arrive at cash flows from operations. Now, you will have to mention capital expenditures, purchase of intangible assets, purchase or sale of investment securities, and asset sales to arrive at cash flow from investments. After getting the cash flow from investments, you’ll need to mention issuance or repurchase of equity and debt and paying out dividends to arrive at finances.
Then, you need to add cash flows from investments, operations, and financing to get the total change in cash. Finally, the cash balance at the beginning of the period and the change in cash lets you arrive at the cash balance of the period’s end. This is essentially what a cash flow statement looks like.
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6. Can a Company Show Positive Cash Flows While Facing Financial Problems?
Ans: Yes, a company can show positive cash flows even while facing financial trouble through impractical enhancements in working capital (delaying payables and selling inventory) or by not letting revenue go forward in the pipeline.
7. What do you Mean by Preference Capital?
Ans: In simple words, preference capital refers to the amount raised by issuing preference shares. This is a hybrid method of financing the firm as it offers some features of debentures and some features of equity. It is the capital that has preference over equity capital at the time of dividend payment.
8. What do you Mean by Hedging?
Ans: Hedging is a risk management strategy we implement to offset losses in investments. We do so by taking an opposite position in a related asset. However, the amount of risk hedging reduces results in a similar reduction in the potential profit. You can say that hedging is similar to having insurance where you pay a certain premium and get assured compensation.
With hedging, if the asset in question causes you a loss, the opposite position in the related asset will make up for this loss. This is why a hedger is quite different from speculators as a hedger doesn’t focus on maximizing profits but on minimizing risks.
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- What is WACC and how do you calculate it?
Ans: The Weighted Average Cost of Capital, commonly known as WACC, is a financial measure that signifies the average expense associated with funding a company’s activities. This metric considers both the costs of debt and equity, taking into consideration their individual proportions within the company’s overall capital structure. WACC is employed to assess the desirability of an investment or project, serving as an indicator of the minimum return anticipated by both debt and equity investors.
The formula for calculating WACC is as follows:
WACC = EVRe + DV Rd (1-Tc)
Where, E is the market value of equity,
D is the market value of debt,
V is the total market value of the firm’s equity and debt,
Re is the cost of equity,
Rd cost of the debt, and
Tc is the corporate tax rate.
Intermediate-Level Finance Interview Questions
1. What is RAROC?
Ans: RAROC stands for Risk-Adjusted Return On Capital and is a risk-based profitability measurement framework we use to analyze risk-adjusted financial performance. It gives a proper view of profitability across organizations. It is one of the best tools to measure a bank’s profitability. By combining it with the risk exposure and the ascertained economic capital, you can calculate the expected returns more accurately with RAROC.
2. What do you Mean by Fair Value?
Ans: Fair value refers to the unbiased and rational estimate of the potential market price of an asset, good, or service. The fair value of an asset is the amount at which you can buy or sell the asset in a current transaction between willing parties other than a liquidation. Similarly, the fair value of liability refers to the amount at which you can incur or settle in a current transaction between two willing parties other than a liquidation.
3.What do you Mean by the Secondary Market?
Ans: Secondary market is where people trade securities that have been offered to the public in the primary market beforehand and are listed on the stock exchange. The secondary market is also known as the aftermarket and some of the prominent examples of them include NASDAQ, Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
4. What is the Difference Between Cost Accounting and Costing?
Ans: Costing is the process of identifying a product’s or service’s cost while cost accounting is the mechanism of analyzing a business’s expenditure. Cost accounting is a branch of accounting that determines the expenses incurred from a venture through examining, analyzing, and predicting the cost data.
On the other hand, costing is the process of asserting the costs and prices of products. Costing is a technique while cost accounting is a branch of accountancy. The former has very little impact on a business’s decision-making while the latter is crucial for informed decision-making.
5. What do you Mean by Cost Accountancy? Do you Know the Objectives of Cost Accountancy?
Ans: Cost accountancy is the combination of costing and cost accounting where you classify, record, and allocate expenditure to determine a product’s or service’s cost. It records and analyses the related data and presents them appropriately to help in guiding the decision-making process.
Following are the objectives of cost accountancy:
- To get correct analysis of cost (by process and different elements of cost).
- To ascertain the cost per unit of various products.
- To ascertain the profitability of every product.
- To advise the management on how they can maximize their profits.
- To disclose the sources of wastage (time, resources, or money).
So far these are the questions you must include in your finance interview question and answer pdf. However, don’t forget to read your curated MBA finance interview question and answer pdf to conduct last minute preparations for interview sessions.
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- Explain financial risk management.
Ans: This is among the most important interview questions related to finance. Identifying, assessing, and addressing the potential risks that may jeopardize or affect an organization’s financial health, thereby affecting its overall health, is termed financial risk management. These risks can arise from various sources, including market volatility, credit fluctuations, liquidity challenges, and operational uncertainties.
A financial risk management specialist must develop strategies to mitigate the identified risks. Diversifying investments, setting up contingency plans, using financial derivatives, or establishing insurance coverage are some strategies that can be adopted to mitigate potential risks. It also involves constantly monitoring and reviewing the risk management strategies implemented.
- Briefly describe a dividend growth model.
Ans: The dividend growth model, also known as the Gordon Growth Model, is a method used to estimate the inherent value of a stock by considering its expected future dividends. The dividend growth model assumes that dividends will continue to grow at a constant rate indefinitely and is suitable for companies with a stable growth rate in dividends per share. The formula for the Dividend Growth Model is:
Value of Stock = D₁(k-g)
Where D₁ = next year’s expected annual dividend share;
k = discount rate;
g = expected dividend growth rate.
- Why is PP&E important, and how do you record it?
Ans: Recording Property, Plant, and Equipment (PP&E) is an essential accounting process that involves recognizing and maintaining accurate records of a company’s long-term tangible assets. These assets typically have a useful life of more than one year and are used in the production of goods and services.
The process of recording PP&E involves three steps, which are as follows:
- i) Initial recognition: We have to start by capitalizing on the cost of acquiring or constructing the asset, including all costs necessary to bring it to its intended use.
- ii) Measuring: Next, we will record any subsequent costs that enhance the asset’s future economic benefits, followed by applying depreciation or amortization over the asset’s useful life.
- iii) Impairment testing: Finally, we will assess for impairments to check if the asset’s recoverable amount will be less than its carrying amount.
Advanced-Level Finance Interview Questions
Once you have gained considerable experience in the finance sector, you can apply for senior supervisory positions, which would broaden your employment prospects further. Financial manager, senior finance executive, commercial finance manager, financial planner, and analyst are some of the positions candidates with a minimum of 10-12 years of experience can aim for. These roles generally require excellent leadership, communication, and team management skills in addition to technical expertise. Here are some finance based interview questions for experienced candidates:
1. What do you Mean by Adjustment Entries? Why do We Pass Them?
Ans: The entries we pass at the end of every accounting period to the nominal and related accounts so we can indicate the correct profit and loss in the profits and loss accounts and keep the balance sheet accurate, are called adjustment entries.
It is crucial to passing adjustment before we prepare the final financial statements as in their absence the final statements would reflect incorrect information resulting in error and confusion. Moreover, the balance sheet wouldn’t show the accurate position of the business if we don’t pass the adjustment entries.
2. What do you Mean by the Put Option?
Ans: Put option is a financial market derivative instrument that allows the holder to sell an asset at a specific price by a specific date to the writer of the put. The purchase of a put option sends a negative message about the future of the stock in question.
3. What do you Mean by Deferred Tax Liability?
Ans: Deferred tax liability is the amount the company hasn’t paid yet to the tax department but is expecting to pay it in the future. It happens when a company’s tax expenses are lesser than the amount they reflect in their tax reports or financial statement.
4. What is Goodwill?
Ans: Goodwill is an asset that contains the excess of the purchase price over the fair market value of an acquired business.
5. What is the Difference Between a Journal Entry and a Ledger?
Ans: The journal is the book of prime entry and all the transactions are recorded in it to show which account got debited and which one got credited. However, the ledger is the book for keeping separate accounts. You’d have to classify the recorded transactions in a journal and add them to the dedicated accounts present in the ledger. The ledger is also known as the book of final entry.
Also Read: Future Scope of MBA in Finance
A finance interview won’t be complete without technical questions. Here are some common yet important finance technical questions to look into.
These are major concept-based finance technical questions, so you can easily find answers to these in your books. This will not only help improve your concepts but will also make your finance question and answer pdf unpredictable. So, brainstorm these finance technical questions and higher your chances of cracking your dream interview.
On that note, there will be some hints to guide and direct you toward the answers.
1. Explain, that capital expenditures help increase assets, yet other cash flows like taxes and paying salary do not do so but create an instant expense on the income statement, which then negatively impacts equity through retained earnings.
Hint: Go through the definition of capital expenditure and determine its main variables.
2. Given an example of a situation where a company is showing positive cash flow but is in grave trouble.
Hint: Look into the concepts of unsustainable improvements in working capital and pipeline getting slow.
3. Is it possible for a company to show positive net income but still go bankrupt? Give justification for your answer.
Hint: look for financial shenanigans and what happens when accounts receivables increase and payables get reduced.
4. Explain why the increases in accounts are receivable and a cash reduction on a cash flow statement.
Hint: Remember how a cash flow statement begins and what measures are taken to adjust the net income reflected.
5. Tell the relationship between the income statement and the balance sheet.
Hint: Think about net income and retained earnings and their relationship.
6. How can one create deferred tax liability?
Hint: Look into the definition of tax liability, GAAP, and IRS. After that, revise different relations between GAAP and IRS and see what happens when the difference between the two increases.
7. How can one create deferred tax assets?
Hint: What happens if a company pays more tax than they need to do? Look into revenue recognition, expense recognition, and NOLs (net operating losses) concepts and think about their relationship.
8. How will the three financial statements be impacted when I buy anything?
Hint: Determine whether or not the thing is a depreciating asset. The answer will majorly depend on that. Then understand the three financial elements.
How to Prepare Finance Interview Questions and Answers
Preparing all of these questions and answers can be quite daunting. You can streamline the learning process and get dedicated support by taking an MBA in Finance course. It would teach you all the necessary skills and you’ll get upGrad’s exclusive recruitment support such as mock tests, interview preparation, resume building, and career support.
Throughout the course, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to learn from industry experts and engage in peer-to-peer networking which makes the learning process much more exciting and fun.
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While it’s great to equip yourself with all the theoretical and practical knowledge before appearing for an interview, make sure that you focus on soft skills along with the technical topics we have covered in these questions. Recruiters are always on the lookout for candidates that possess strong technical and soft skills.
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What do I do 15 minutes before the interview?
For your interview, make a study-guide with concise notes and pointers about all the important concepts you need to know. It’s good to take a glance at the guide and brush up on the content before you go in. Close your eyes and take time to make a mental mindmap of what you have just read. That way, you’ll boost up your confidence and shake-off any nervousness. Right before the interview, just relax. Take a few deep breaths and be confident about yourself. You will do just well!
What can I do if I can’t remember the answer to a question?
In case you are not able to remember, the first and most important thing to do is to stay calm. Take a couple of minutes to think about the question, and try to connect it to the things you can recollect. You can ask the interviewer to explain the question once again to help you understand better. Talk about what you do know, and tell them how you would figure out the answer. Judge the right time to say that you don’t know the answer. There is no harm in coming clean. Try to let them know that you attempted to figure it out. You could even reach out to them later on to tell them that you looked up the answer to that question!
Does each interview need a different preparation?
Yes! Do research on each company you’re applying to. They all will most likely have a specific domain of working. This narrows down the things you might be asked and you can prepare more efficiently for each of them. Customise your preparation accordingly, and make sure you cover all bases of their field of work. They will appreciate the time you spent getting to know their company. This will also help you in future interviews, where you will be able to judge what questions might be asked.