Resume Writing Tips for Accounting Professionals

Guest Blog by Freddie Rohner, CARW, CRS + AF
iHire.com Resume Writer, freddie.rohner@ihire.com

As a Certified Resume Specialist in Accounting and Finance (CRS + AF), I write a lot of 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 are such a wide range of opportunities, that means that the resume must not only be focused on accounting in general, but rather the particular specialty or expertise you have to offer.

Writing resumes for accounting professionals requires strategy, a detail-oriented approach, and most importantly, a focus on accuracy and “the numbers,” just like the industry itself. As with resumes for other fields, the basic ideas remain the same: the resume must begin with a summary paragraph identifying what you have to offer an employer before moving on to cover your core competencies, professional experience, achievements, educational background, and other information such as licenses/certifications, additional training, affiliations, and community involvement.

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. Always be sure to flaunt your skills with accounting software like Sage Peachtree, QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics GP (formerly Great Plains), enterprise resource planning programs like SAP or MAS 90/200, and/or any recent experience you may have in industry-specific accounting (manufacturing, public, non-profit, etc.).

Upper-level accounting professionals like Chief Financial Officers and Controllers require a strategy that highlights the contributions you 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, teambuilding abilities, budget management expertise, post-graduate degrees (MBAs), and certifications such as CPA, CMA, CFA, CIA, and CFE.

Mid-level accounting professionals such as Accounting Managers, Auditors, and Staff/Senior Accountants will also need to show a requisite level of leadership abilities, 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.

Finally, entry-level accounting positions such as Junior Accountants, Bookkeepers, Accounts Payable/Receivable Clerks, and Accounting Assistants will more than likely 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.

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