September 26, 2022
Given how competitive the profession is, and how wide a field of competitors you may face, it makes sense to work hard to shape the perfect resume for a professional accountant. As reported on Zety, a Glassdoor survey revealed that, on average, around 250 applicants are interviewed for every corporate position. That’s a large crowd to stand out from!
In this article we’ll go through some hints and tips for better resume design for accountants. We’ll break down the correct resume format for accountant and include some examples of good practice in an accountant resume.
The main sections of your accounting jobs resume should be headlined as follows:
· Objectives – a section that outlines your work ambitions and/or summarizes your career to date, including highlights which you’ll explore in more detail below.
· Education – you can put this up front since it’s important to know if you have a bachelor’s or master’s degree, and what specialty subjects you’ve covered.
· Experience – here’s where you list (from most recent to oldest) your professional positions including dates, company, role, and bullet-point highlights for each one.
· Skills and Certifications – Lead off with any CPA or CMA certifications and include computer software platforms you’re proficient in, as well as specialisms.
There’s no need to list leisure interests or hobbies – these are not appropriate for professional resumes.
You should head your CV with your objectives (sometimes simply called ‘summary’) and the order of the other items is up to you. If you have great skills and a CPA certificate but your experience is minimal, then prioritize the former.
You should be able to get your resume onto a single side of paper; two at the most. Do not include a photo or any other non-standard design elements.
First, it’s not important to give specific start / end dates. Years will do. This would help if you worked somewhere for just four or five months over a new year, since you can simply write 2019-2020 instead of November 2019 – April 2020.
What is more important is to bullet point your most important roles and achievements.
Here’s an example of how you might arrange your experience for one accountancy role:
Example Corps, Senior Accountant
· Oversight of annual budget expenditure totaling $5 million.
· Revised spreadsheets to improve reporting, saving two days’ work per quarter.
· Analyzed supply chain to spot opportunities for cost reduction, achieving £180K in savings.
· Helped produce financial forecasts for investment bid, securing $2 million in inward investment.
· Helped recruit three junior accountants to oversee rapidly expanding business.
Note that each item contains a work challenge and the resulting achievement, quantified where possible.
Where early career and junior positions are less relevant, you can include fewer bullet points. You should expect to personalize your resume each time you submit it, changing the order of your achievements to foreground those most relevant to your potential employer.
Where you have unpaid work in your accountant’s resume, including internships and ‘acting up’ positions, do specify this, since this demonstrates your ambition and willingness to muck in.
You can still bullet point your main areas of responsibility, effectively treating these positions like any other paid employment. Including these positions, even if they lasted a matter of weeks, will help beef up an early career resume.
Once you have sufficient paid positions which supersede your internships and unpaid experience, you can begin to leave these off your resume altogether.
There are two approaches to heading up your resume. Some include a section called ‘summary’, and this focuses on career highpoints to date. Here’s an example:
Driven, honest corporate accountant with pristine attention to detail, investment analysis experience and an enthusiasm for forensic accounting. CPA and CMA certified with extensive Quickbooks, Excel and LiveFlow experience.
Note that although it does begin with a statement about the accountant’s personality and soft skills, it continues with concrete information about areas of expertise. The summary can also highlight qualifications and technical proficiency, especially with computer software.
The other approach to the accountancy resume header is to include a short paragraph called ‘Objectives’. It focuses upon how an applicant’s experience and ambitions will benefit their potential employer.
Sometimes this section has no header, but is simply a couple of sentences falling immediately beneath your name and contact details, thus:
Tel: 555-54321234 Email: email@example.com
Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with over four years’ experience in corporate finance, as well as seven years as a federal assistant auditor at the US Department of Education. Hoping to expand my experience of management accounting and parlay my auditing experience to reduce risk in a corporate setting. Working towards a master’s in business management.
This applicant has foregrounded their corporate experience and explained the longer time they spent in a public sector accounting role by explaining how some of her auditing experience could uniquely benefit a corporate employer. She has included her degree in progress (below she can explain that this is an online course she works towards at the weekend or in evenings).
Whether you adopt a ‘summary’ or ‘objectives’ approach for your resume header, it is vital to change it to suit each role applied for. With each application, ensure this section ties your experience and unique skill mix to the requirements of the role in question.
Avoid overly generic statements like ‘a people person’ or ‘works to tight deadlines’ since these say nothing to make you stand out and cannot be quantified.
There are four categories of skills you might include in an accountancy resume. These are:
· Certifications and qualifications – CPA, CMA or other professional standards attained.
· Experience and specialisms – i.e., forensic accounting, tax legislation, cryptocurrency payments.
· Software Platforms – such as Quickbooks, Excel or LiveFlow.
· Related Skills – relevant indirect skills, i.e., speaks fluent French, data analytics, treasurer of local opera society.
Here’s an example of how that might look on the page:
· Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
· Quickbooks Pro, Excel and LiveFlow
· Experienced in forensic accounting and fraud detection
· Knowledge of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies
· Fluent in French and Portuguese
If you are short of space, you can also offer these via an inline list:
CPA, Quickbooks, Excel, LiveFlow, Forensic accounting, fraud detection, cryptocurrency, fluent in French and Portuguese.
· Make sure your career demonstrates a progression, even if you have had setbacks. List achievements and avoid providing ‘excuses’ for taking time out or making oblique career moves. You can usually answer such questions better in person.
· Write formally, but not necessarily in full sentences. In other words, it’s quite possible to write “experienced in cost accounting and project work” rather than “I am experienced in…”
· Remember to change up your cover letter AND resume for every job you apply for. This will give you the best chance of delivering a package that depicts you as the ideal candidate for each job. It can be a little time-consuming but it’s invaluable.
The following links provide some other samples of accountant resumes:
Resume Genius – a bookkeeper resume, with skills inline listed under the objective.
Beamjobs – several successful and contrasting anonymized accounting resumes.
Resume Worded – a selection of accounting resumes for contrasting roles
LiveFlow is a valuable platform built for QuickBooks, which is designed to make it easy to create an integrated, real time connection between your QuickBooks data and customized reports and dashboards in Google Sheets. This means that you don’t have to give anyone access to QuickBooks simply to review reports – you can use pre-built templates or bring live data to any customized report you already have. This way, you only share what departments need to see. The live connection between QuickBooks and Google Sheets means that your reports will always be up to date – without any manual exports, data formatting or hands-on effort.
Why not add knowledge of LiveFlow for Quickbooks to your resume? Our report generating platform gives you complete control over the data in Quickbooks spreadsheets and employs a huge library of templates to generate all the accurate reports you need – in minutes. Book a free trial of LiveFlow now.