Effective Resumes for Accounting Professionals

I often write resumes for “numbers people.” The best thing about working with clients in the accounting field is that there are a lot of opportunities available at any given time. No matter what business sector a company operates in, they will always need a dedicated employee to take care of their money. However, because there is such a wide range of opportunities, accounting resumes must not only be focused on accounting in general, but also a professional’s particular specialty or expertise.

The most vital aspect of writing an effective resume for accounting positions is to keep it simple and adjust your strategy depending on your career level and desired position. But regardless of your level of seniority, there are a few items you should always emphasize:

  • Software skills (with accounting programs like Sage Peachtree, QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics GP, and Great Plains, as well as enterprise resource planning programs like SAP or MAS 90/200)
  • Recent experience in industry-specific accounting (manufacturing, public, non-profit, etc.)
  • Knowledge and experience with the myriad of government regulations specific to the accounting field (Sarbanes-Oxley, FASB pronouncements, SEC reporting guidelines, etc.)
  • Company names (if you’ve worked for Big 4 or other large public accounting firms, multinational corporations, or pioneering firms in a particular industry)
  • Certifications (like CPA, CMA, CFA, CIA, and CFE)
  • Post-graduate degrees (MBA or MST or MSA)

But beyond these essentials, as you advance through your career, you will need to highlight a slightly different range of skills to interest companies.

  1. Upper-level accounting professionals like Chief Financial Officers and Controllers require a strategy that highlights the contributions they have made to the company as a whole. Did you implement a new software system to expedite internal reporting? Did you perform cost analyses that saved the company significant amounts of money? Additionally, you must tout your leadership skills, team-building abilities, and budget management expertise.

  2. Mid-level accounting professionals such as Accounting Managers, Auditors, and Senior Accountants will also need to show a requisite level of leadership ability, but for this level of job seeker, the hands-on work of accounting must be highlighted. Did you effectively manage accounts payable/receivable duties? Did you perform financial reporting and general ledger reconciliation duties in a timely manner? Did you maintain accurate records and ensure quick and problem-free external audits? The proficiency with which you can supervise and perform the “nitty-gritty” accounting work is what will separate you from the crowd and ensure success in your job search.
  3. Entry-level accounting professionals such as Junior Accountants, Bookkeepers, Accounts Payable/Receivable Clerks, and Accounting Assistants will more than likely only have experience in a certain aspect of the financial reporting/administration process. For this reason, the best way to present yourself in this early stage of your career is to highlight the specific experience that you have within the accounting field and tout your soft skills and intangibles like abilities in customer service, vendor relations, data entry (and accuracy), technical troubleshooting, and records management.

When writing your resume for positions in the accounting field, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the document must answer that simple question, “Why would this candidate be the best applicant for the position?” Always keep the reader in mind when writing your resume and be sure to focus on your results and specific expertise to prove to the potential employer that you’ve solved similar problems to theirs in the past and have the skill set needed to help them manage their business effectively in the future.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply