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EY (Ernst & Young) Interview Questions and Answers

Accounting & Consulting Application Specialists

Introduction

Ernst & Young (EY) is one of the largest professional services networks in the world and one of the “Big Four” accounting firms. Founded in 1989 through the merger of Ernst & Whinney and Arthur Young & Co., EY has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. The firm provides assurance, tax, consulting, and strategy and transactions services to clients worldwide. With a global network of member firms in over 150 countries, EY employs more than 300,000 people. The firm is known for its focus on building a better working world, fostering inclusive growth, and embracing digital transformation in its services and operations.

EY Admissions Statistics

The acceptance rate for EY’s graduate scheme is approximately 5%, indicating a competitive selection process while being slightly more accessible than some of its Big Four counterparts.

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EY Interview Questions by Category:

Audit & Assurance

   – How would you approach auditing a company’s revenue recognition practices?

   – What are the key risks to consider when planning an audit for a multinational corporation?

Tax

   – How might recent global tax reforms impact multinational corporations?

   – Describe your approach to staying updated with changing tax regulations.

Consulting

   – How would you help a client improve their supply chain resilience?

   – What factors would you consider when advising a company on digital transformation?

Technology & Innovation

   – How might blockchain technology impact the future of auditing?

   – What emerging technologies do you think will have the biggest impact on professional services?

Ethics & Integrity

   – You discover a potential conflict of interest in a client engagement. How do you handle this?

   – A colleague asks you to overlook a minor discrepancy in a financial report. What do you do?

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EY Interview Questions and Answers:

How would you approach auditing a company's revenue recognition practices?

Auditing a company’s revenue recognition practices requires a systematic approach. I’d start by understanding the company’s business model and revenue streams. Then, I’d assess internal controls over revenue recognition and design substantive testing procedures. This might include analyzing revenue trends, testing a sample of transactions, performing cut-off testing, and reviewing significant contracts. Throughout the audit, I’d remain alert to red flags indicating improper revenue recognition. Finally, I’d evaluate financial statement disclosures related to revenue to ensure compliance with accounting standards.

How might blockchain technology impact the future of auditing?

Blockchain could significantly transform auditing by enhancing the reliability and transparency of financial records. It could enable real-time auditing, allowing for continuous monitoring of transactions. Smart contracts could automate many accounting processes, reducing the need for manual verification. Blockchain could also improve transaction traceability, making it easier to verify the occurrence and accuracy of recorded transactions. However, it would also present new challenges, requiring auditors to develop new skills to understand and audit blockchain systems. Privacy concerns and regulatory considerations would also need to be addressed as auditing standards evolve to accommodate this technology.

How would you help a client improve their supply chain resilience?

To improve a client’s supply chain resilience, I’d start with a thorough assessment of their current supply chain, identifying vulnerabilities and bottlenecks. I’d recommend diversifying the supplier base to reduce reliance on single sources. Implementing advanced analytics and AI-driven forecasting tools would be key for predicting potential disruptions. Enhancing visibility across the supply chain through real-time tracking systems would be crucial. I’d focus on building flexibility into the supply chain, possibly through modular product designs or flexible manufacturing capabilities. Training the workforce to handle disruptions effectively would be important. Finally, I’d help develop a comprehensive risk management and business continuity plan, including scenario planning for various types of disruptions.

You discover a potential conflict of interest in a client engagement. How do you handle this?

Upon discovering a potential conflict of interest, I’d first gather all relevant information and document the specifics. I’d immediately inform my supervisor or the engagement partner about the situation. I’d consult EY’s internal ethics and compliance resources, following all proper protocols for reporting and addressing the conflict. If confirmed, I’d work with engagement leadership to determine the appropriate course of action, which might involve recusing certain team members, implementing additional safeguards, or potentially withdrawing from the engagement. Throughout this process, I’d maintain strict confidentiality. If client communication is necessary, I’d defer to senior leadership to handle this sensitively. Finally, I’d document all steps taken to address the conflict, ensuring a clear audit trail.

What factors would you consider when advising a company on digital transformation?

When advising on digital transformation, I’d consider several key factors. Strategic alignment with overall business objectives is crucial. I’d assess the company’s current digital maturity to identify gaps. Enhancing customer experience should be a primary focus. Understanding the competitive landscape would provide insights into industry trends. Organizational readiness, including change management capabilities and employee skills, is vital. I’d evaluate the current technology stack and identify beneficial new technologies. Developing a robust data strategy would be crucial. Cybersecurity and risk assessment would be essential. Ensuring regulatory compliance, particularly around data privacy, is important. Financial considerations, including ROI analysis, would need to be addressed. Finally, I’d emphasize the need for scalability and flexibility in the digital transformation strategy to adapt to future changes.


How would you approach a complex international tax planning scenario for a multinational corporation?

Approaching a complex international tax planning scenario requires a comprehensive strategy. I’d start by thoroughly understanding the corporation’s global structure, operations, and financial flows. I’d then analyze the tax laws and treaties of relevant jurisdictions, looking for opportunities and potential pitfalls. Transfer pricing would be a key consideration, ensuring arm’s length principles are applied. I’d explore options like holding company structures, intellectual property management, and treasury operations to optimize the tax position. Throughout the process, I’d balance tax efficiency with compliance and reputational risks. Finally, I’d collaborate with local EY teams to ensure our strategy aligns with each jurisdiction’s specific requirements and recent developments.

In an audit, you suspect the management is withholding important information. How do you handle this situation?

If I suspect management is withholding important information during an audit, I’d first discuss my concerns with the engagement manager or partner. We’d then increase our professional skepticism and modify our audit procedures accordingly. This might involve expanding our sample sizes, performing additional substantive testing, or seeking corroborating evidence from external sources. I’d document all communications and additional procedures thoroughly. If the issue persists, we might need to consider the impact on our audit opinion and potentially communicate with those charged with governance. Throughout this process, we’d maintain a balance between professional skepticism and maintaining a constructive client relationship.

How would you help a client navigate the challenges and opportunities of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) reporting?

To help a client with ESG reporting, I’d start by assessing their current ESG practices and reporting capabilities. We’d then identify key stakeholders and their ESG information needs. I’d guide the client in selecting appropriate ESG reporting frameworks (such as GRI, SASB, or TCFD) based on their industry and stakeholder requirements. We’d work on developing robust data collection and verification processes to ensure accurate reporting. I’d also advise on integrating ESG considerations into the client’s overall strategy and risk management processes. Finally, we’d focus on creating a clear, transparent ESG report that not only meets regulatory requirements but also effectively communicates the client’s sustainability story to stakeholders.

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