The interview process can often differ widely between CA firms. Interviews can range from one with a partner to multiple interviews with different stakeholders. Interviews can be conducted in person at the office or a cafe, and now more commonly via Teams/Zoom.

Testing is one of the steps that CA firms commonly use to gauge a person’s knowledge, team fit personality and skillset. Again, how and when this is done during the process can vary depending on the firm. Some firms will look to do this after the interviews are complete and before an offer is made, whilst there are some instances where firms want this complete before the first interview.

So what does the testing look like?

One of the more common companies used for providing these tests is Accountests. 

They provide several different types of tests a firm can use, but they usually fall into one of these categories:

  • Psychometric Testing
  • Critical Reasoning Ability Test
    • Critical Verbal Reasoning
    • Numerical Critical Reasoning Test
    • Abstract Reasoning Test
  • Part Qualified (Public Practice) Accountant Test
  • Chartered Accountant (Public Practice) Test
  • Bookkeepers / Assistant Accountants
  • Trainee or Graduates

These tests are designed to be done at home and are usually timed.

How to best prepare

These tests are supposed to be challenging, which often makes accountants feel a little overwhelmed, especially as they are timed. Spend time researching the test you are about to sit. For example, if you are sitting the Chartered Accountant (Public Practice) Test, the website will outline what to expect:

  • Time to complete: 30 minutes
  • Number of questions: 40
  • Question Levels: Basic = 13, Intermediate = 17, Advanced = 10
  • Questions per topic: Financial Reporting = 8, Taxation = 12, Accounting = 8, Business Advisory & Analysis = 12

If you are working with a recruiter, they will have had plenty of candidates previously complete these tests and should be able to give you some pointers.

Top tips for the test

1. Timing

Make sure you pick the right time of day to complete the test. If, like me, you need at least two coffees to get the brain working properly, don’t complete the test after you have just jumped out of bed. Likewise, if your current role is very demanding and you usually come home exhausted, try and find a more suitable time to complete the test. A weekend is usually ideal if possible, as you will likely have more time and be more relaxed.

2. Internet Connection/ System

The last thing you want to happen is to have your internet connection cut out or have computer issues. Make sure you use a reliable device, preferably a computer and check your internet speed before opening the test. If other people are streaming tv in the house, ask them to stop for half an hour, so you have the best connection possible.

3. Distractions

It’s best to let flatmates or family members know that you are about to complete a test so that they know not to bother you over the next hour or so. It’s probably best to have pets and kids in another room or out of the way, as you want as little distraction as possible to focus on the test.

4. Don’t Guess

If there is one thing worse than not knowing something, it’s giving out incorrect information/advice. Whilst in a test, people are inclined to guess as you may get something right, which would help your score. These tests don’t work this way and will mark you for incorrect answers. Most partners/directors would rather know what you don’t know than be under the impression you think you know but don’t. You are best to leave something blank if you don’t know the answer.

5. Communication

Not all of us are good at exams, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t good at what we do. If, for some reason, you know you failed miserably at the test, and there is a reason for it, let your recruiter or hiring manager know. Sometimes, they will let you resit the test or look to take an additional reference to clarify your ability.

It’s not all about the test

In most cases, psychometric tests won’t decide whether a firm will hire you or not. It’s typically used to understand what team you will work best with, what knowledge gaps or training your might benefit from and how best to work with you from a management perspective.

For more information about how to best prepare for a pre-employment test, feel free to reach out to discuss;

Ben Holloway | 03 244 0258 | bholloway@tylerwren.co.nz