Accounting Resume from A to Z: Building An Excellent Document That Highlights Your Skills

Looking for a job is stressful, but it also involves the creation of self-presentation documents, which causes an additional wave of anxiety. You are an excellent accountant, without doubt, but telling how awesome you are can be beyond your capacity (and it’s a big objective problem for many). To alleviate your worries and help you build a resume that works, we’ve compiled this guide. It will provide directions, examples, tips, and lists of specific words to use to arrive at a really impressive document.

Read on and write along! And remember, that if it’s still hard for you, we will gladly build a resume for you, accurate but presenting you as a true blessing for employers.

Is there the Best Format for a Resume of an Accountant?

Yes, there is. To pick the resume format properly, you need to know what formats exist, to begin with. Along with the widely known reverse-chronological order, there are functional (or topical) and hybrid formats.

It’s clear what the reverse-chronological one is: you list your work experience and education from the recent or current ones to older positions and studies. It is the most used format because of its readability and the focus on your most recent skills and accomplishments.

A functional resume is a resume that does not provide timelines and focuses on your accomplishments instead. You highlight skills, duties, and achievements, but do it in a bundle, without mentioning specifically what happened when.

A hybrid resume is a combination of both. You underscore your key skills and competencies in separate blocks, but also outline your work record with timestamps, so to say, and mention when and where you did your studies.

Now, look carefully at the job description you want to apply to. Is there a demand for the very particular skills that you have but applied long ago? Or is the description more general and focuses on you having sufficient working experience under your belt?

In the first case, you may want to consider a hybrid format, where you put forward the presence of the given skills and mention the time of their application somewhere in the background. In the second one, opt for a reverse-chronological one, and it is the best format to choose in most cases, from accounting to architecture to arts.

Pick the accounting resume template that structures information carefully. Currently, many cool templates are available, where on the left, there is a quantitative explanation of your core skills and experience, and on the right, there is general information, also carefully structured. Settle for the use of one font all resume through, with its bold variant for headlines. It boosts the readability of the text and makes the document look professional.

Beginning the Accountant Resume: What Summary is and its Examples

Today, it’s a matter of common courtesy that your resume has a summary. It’s resume content in a nutshell placed at the top of the page, under your personal details. By skimming the summary, a recruiter immediately knows if an applicant fits the description and the resume is worth reading.

A summary declares your experience and wishes towards the new company, like what you can do and what you want to do in your new workplace. But it should be formulated in a way that shows how you will contribute to the company's success, and desirably, names specific numbers.

Based on good accountant resume examples, here’s a yes-summary:

A certified public accountant with 7 years of experience at AT&T and T-Mobile, sharp knowledge of the digital business environment, and cloud solutions seeks to contribute to efficiency and speed of accounting processes at TechNoledge. Saved $1,000,000 annually by implementing a new accounting system in the previous workplace and successfully led the account reconciliation for multiple corporate customers in different economic fields.

A not-so-good summary:

An experienced certified accountant seeks to obtain a position at TechNoledge with the prospects of career growth. Experience of 7 years includes corporate accounting, work with cloud accounting systems, and account reconciliation for corporate clients.

An Accounting Resume for Entry-Level: Examples of an Objective

An objective differs from a summary in that it describes a newcomer on the job market, with plenty of aspirations but little to no experience. Once again, the key is to write what you can do for the company to help it.

Consider:

Goal-driven and detail-attentive entry-level accountant seeks to contribute to So-&-So company through his/her skills in sales accounting, tax return consultations, and payroll. In the past year, provided 14 tax return consultations and extensively volunteered at the small local farmer market, thus fixing the inconsistencies in accounting and streamlining the processes for local community businesses.

It looks decent and mentions the local farmers’ businesses, which is a truly worthy cause to support.

Building the Perfect Accountant Resume In 5 Steps

Now that you’ve picked the format and created the summary or the objective, it’s time to shape the informative parts of the resume. We will guide you through 5 essential steps you need to take to arrive at the impressive document.

1. Start With Your Work Record And Essential Accounting Skills

Remember, we are discussing mostly the reverse-chronological resume accounting examples? It means we put the experience in conjunction with skills first and proceed from this point.

How to include the essential skills that will catch the eye and make a recruiter pick you for an interview? The answer is to include the skills that are specifically mentioned in the job description and skills that may relate to them.

So, read the job ad carefully, think about what skills fit the requirements (or what skills of yours can be made relevant here), and make a list in bullet points. That’s the first step. The next step is to present these skills and experience in a form that looks persuasive like you know what to do and it brings palpable results. Remember to list jobs and related skills in reverse order, from the recent to the oldest ones.

For example:

2014-2019

  • - Supervised and managed the creation of the accounting team for Texto, implemented cloud accounting across branches for better compatibility and financial accountability, saving around 800 work hours and wages expenses for extra employees.
  • - Supervised payroll and current expenses accounting, prepared the financial statements and end-of-year reports, ensuring the accuracy and consistency of financial matters of the company.

2012-2014

  • Led the changes in accounting practices across 4 branch companies of TechNoledge.
  • Reconciled branch accounts, thus saving the parental company $1,000,000 in fees and fines for possible breaches of good practice.

2. Professional Experience Should Be Quantified In Specific Numbers

Basically, we’ve shown it in the previous accountant resumes samples, but let’s explain the reasoning behind it. It may seem that mentioning the numbers looks like boasting or unnecessary text overcomplicating. But that’s not true. When you mention numbers, you claim that your work brought results measurable in hard cash.

That’s what every employer wants to get from a new employee, and that’s what you tell them right from the start: ‘I helped to get more revenues in the previous workplace and I’ll be able to do it in the new one, for your company.’ Done. You hit the magic button.

What accomplishments can be presented in numbers? Almost all of them:

  • Worth of contracts you managed
  • Turnover of companies you worked with
  • Sums of money you helped to save
  • Man-hours that you helped to eliminate (and so to cut costs)
  • Cost-cutting you helped to achieve (just don’t write that you helped to fire the whole department that did nothing, even if it may be true)
  • Number of specific job tasks you performed. We mean, not like ‘I showed up for work every day,' but like ‘I managed the accounting teams of 4 big companies in the last two years.'
So, every skill or experience you mention needs to be supported by measurable results you achieved, that is, by numbers.

3. Summary/Objective: Don’t Take Them Lightly

Yes, we put it as a separate point because this section jumps to the eyes of a recruiter first. So, take care to write and rewrite it until it screams ‘I will bring lots of good to your precious company.’

The valuable advice from experts is to write other sections of your resume first, and then skim it, pick the coolest accomplishments and skills and fit them into that three-line blockbuster of an objective. Remember to include hard numbers and match the skills you underscore to those specifically demanded in the job ad.

Let’s reiterate it:

A certified public accountant with 7 years of experience at AT&T and T-Mobile, sharp knowledge of the digital business environment, and cloud solutions seeks to contribute to efficiency and speed of accounting processes at TechNoledge. – Here, numbers are years of experience and skills presumably mirror those requested in the job ad. Plus, you say how you want to apply these skills at a new workplace.

Saved $1,000,000 annually by implementing a new accounting system in the previous workplace and successfully led the account reconciliation for multiple corporate customers in different economic fields. – Here, numbers are money saved from the company, and other successfully implemented skills are mentioned.

In an objective, you will act similarly, mentioning your informally applied skills (it also counts).

4. Your Education & Certification Are Your Ace Up The Sleeve

Although mentioned after skills and experience, education matters, if presented properly in resumes for accountant. Certification and licenses mean even more because they show that our skills are officially validated by a third party.

Certifications

Where to put certification? Everywhere. Mention the abbreviation of your certification after your name in the header, place it in the resume, and a dedicated certification section. No, it’s not too much. Three letters are easy to miss in the haste of fast reading, but they can make or break your career.

What are common certificates? CPA, CMA, and also EA, CIA, CFA, CFE, and CISA. So mention them generously.

Education

There the same rule applies: match it to the expectations of a potential employer and demands of the job ad. Name years, name of the school, major, courses in which you excelled, degree, and additional awards or credentials that can play to your benefit. For example:

2014-2018

California State University, Master’s in Corporate Accounting

  • Major in Corporate Accounting and Taxation
  • Was distinguished in Corporate Taxes class
  • Volunteered with accounting tasks on campus
  • Led a graduation group project in Tax Compliance and Corporate Tax (the project passed with honors)
Looks impressive, right? You can do it, too.

5. Don’t Be Boring: Use Action Verbs To Describe Your Accomplishments

Choice of words to use in the resume also matters. Most people tend to use the same set of descriptors while talking about themselves and their work success. So to stand out, you need a different approach.

Use more action verbs while writing different resume sections. Action verbs are verbs that state what exactly you did (and how you did it), and when you use them instead of describing yourself in nouns or adjectives only, you add a whole new dimension to your professional portrait.

Compare:

‘A great team player, attentive to details and pedantic in complying with the best accounting practices.’ It seems nice but is a bit boring and generic. Let’s rewrite it using action verbs:

‘Collaborated with and directed multiple teams at several work locations, contributed to the improvement of accounting practices used by these teams. Pinpointed the problematic point, which saved $500,000 of annual costs in fines and installed the elements of the best tax accounting to ensure full compliance.’ That’s impressive and tells a lot more about what exactly you did at your workplace.

Such action verbs can be categorized into groups according to the areas they relate to. You can find the full lists all across the web. Let’s consider some of them just to get you started:

Verbs for ‘a team player’:

Diversified, collaborated, encouraged, nurtured, facilitated, partnered, united, mediated, blended, established connections, etc.

Verbs for ‘responsible for’: performed, operated, accomplished, achieved, navigated, executed, produced, prepared, secured, undertook, etc.

Verbs for ‘good at communication’: advocated, convinced, explained, clarified, defined, informed, moderated, composed, etc.

Verbs for ‘leadership’: installed, led, managed, fostered, enabled, directed, cultivated, delegated, organized, etc.

No Experience? No Problem! How to Write a Resume With No Work Records

Most jobs require the same set of soft skills along with specific industry-related skills (accounting included). So if you worked at least somewhere or ever volunteered in your life, you can transfer those skills into your resume and make it look serious even in the absence of formal accounting experience.

2017-2018
  • Volunteer chief accountant at the local farmers’ market
  • Completed tax return papers for individuals
  • Consulted small businesses on the best accounting software and practices
  • Assisted in establishing the accounting system of a local store supplying gardening materials and equipment

The Cheat Sheet: the Skills To Put On the Accounting Resume

Now we move to the final point that haunts people creating an accountant resume. What skills to put on it? You may know your job A to Z but feel at a loss while describing it formally. Let’s fix this problem.

Soft skills:

  • Time management
  • Critical thinking
  • Leadership
  • Goal-oriented
  • Attentive to details
  • Collaborative in teamwork
  • Good at communication

Hard skills:

  • Tax Returns
  • Corporate Tax
  • Payroll
  • Account Reconciliation
  • Budgets
  • Reports And Statements
  • Profit And Loss
  • Invoicing
  • Account Analysis
  • Implementation Of Cloud Accounting Systems
  • Quickbooks

Final Tips

We hope that we answered all key questions about writing a resume for an accountant. Now let us just remind you a few points: read carefully the job description and start from it, pay attention to a summary and every section of the resume, and don’t be afraid to transfer other skills (that you really have) to paint a true portrait of you as a talented and hardworking accountant.