Every business or entity that processes any transaction will eventually require accounting services to reconcile its finances. Whether to keep the balance sheets clean or to ensure taxes are paid on time, it's the task of accountants to ensure every "I" is dotted and "T" crossed. As more positions become available, new and experienced, CPAs will need to maintain an updated accounting resume.
Writing a resume is like riding a bike – once you do it correctly, it's easy to hop back on and get the job done. However, many recent college graduates with MBA degrees or those without tremendous experience tend to get stuck – or even worse, overthink the process. Any resume is easy to write once you have the tools, understand the best practices, and engage in a plan of attack that includes organization.
This is what we're going to teach you today. In the information below, we'll provide a professional accountant resume sample, the best practices for organizing the content included in an accounting resume sample, and explain what is the objective of accounting resume writing in the first place. We'll also include what accounting resume skills are important to list, along with a few links to other examples of accounting resumes.
These tips will be helpful to anyone – whether you're writing an entry-level accounting resume or accounting resumes for experienced job candidates. So – let's get started.
Accountant Resume Sample
Accountants and bookkeepers are typically analytical thinkers who make decisions and guide clients based on numbers, data, and facts. They pay attention to the smallest details, have an uncanny knowledge of US Federal and State tax and financial regulations, financial reporting, and possess strong organizational skills.
Some accounting professionals prefer to learn by reading a book – and others find it easier to practice by doing the job manually. Regardless of your preferred learning methodology, one thing that will help all future and current accountants are reviewing practical accounting resume examples.
Below is an excellent resume for accountants written by the professional scribes at CVMaker.com. Take some time to review the resume from start to finish. Take some notes of critical items that you believe make this resume stand out. Once you're finished, review each section of the article below – as we'll provide a step-by-step guide to explain the best practices for writing a stunning resume.
The sample you see above is a shining example of what hiring managers are looking for with accounting resumes in 2022. The document you see was created using one of our accounting resume template files – which is why it's so clean, straight, and formatted with precision.
The content in this accountants resume sample tells a story from top to bottom. As you read the opening statement, it's clear that our candidate Daniel is highly qualified – with more than five years of practical accounting experience. He has listed two examples of relevant work history, starting with the job where he is currently employed.
Further, Daniel has added his highest completed education, the MBA he earned from Columbia University. As a CPA needs to have an active certification to practice in their state, he has included that in a separate section – called certifications. The resume wraps up by listing his references and relevant hard and soft skills that make him a great employee.
How to Write a Good Resume for Accounting in 2023: Guide to Successful Accounting Resumes
If you think that there is no way to replicate the quality of the resume posted above – think again. Like any other major project, organization and structure are critical components to reduce mistakes and ensure every detail is mentioned. To accomplish this goal, we recommend using a master's resume.
The master resume is a working document that allows you to outline each significant section, insert relevant content, create bullet points, and edit or optimize your writing words and sentences. As you begin writing the accountant resume sample, we strongly recommend creating an outline with each of the major sections that you should include. Here are the sections that all accounting resumes should include:
- Personal Contact Information
- Accountant Resume Summary
- Work History
Best practices for resume writing – using this type of master file, suggest listing these seven sections in order on the document. Bold type them – or make the font size more prominent – so you know that it's a significant section.
To provide some additional tips on how to build out the content in each section, please continue to read each section below.
Section #1 – Personal Contact Information
An accountant needs to pay attention to details. They are tasked with reviewing complex financial records, discovering cash or bookkeeping discrepancies, and making corrections to accounts that can impact the business or individual tax records. As they apply to positions, hiring managers will look for practical examples of the candidate's ability to focus on details with every section of their application.
This includes the accounting resumes submitted with a cover letter and application.
When you review the sample resume above, you'll see that our candidate Daniel Smith has noted his full legal name, mailing address, email, and cell phone number. This is essential for all the content listed on an accounting resume.
How to Format This Section
The sample section above shows you how we can format the contact information through one of our resume builders or templates. However, if you're free to write and create your resume, we strongly recommend listing your contact information in the center, top section of the resume – or the left sidebar. This will make it easy for hiring agencies and managers to find it and contact you.
Section #2 – Resume Summary
There are several terms for our next section – ranging from a resume overview to a professional summary. Essentially, the accounting resume objective section is your opportunity to sum up your entire resume, the scope of work, and qualifications in one easy-to-read and engaging paragraph.
Seems simple, huh.
The truth is that of all the sections in your accounting resume, the summary or overview is the one that will require the most time, revision, and attention. Your primary objective with the summary is to convince the reader that you are the most qualified person to assume the accounting job you are hoping to receive.
In the sample section we've posted above, you can see that our candidate Daniel has customized the summary for the company he has applied to. The summary then lists his years of experience, relevant certifications, and specialized skills that he will bring to this industry. Finally, the resume objective summary introduces the interpersonal skills that make him an exceptional team member.
How to Format this Section
The key to writing an excellent resume summary is to ensure that it reads naturally. As such, try to keep this to less than 200 words. Make sure that it flows from start to finish, is written in a conversational tone, and is grammatically perfect. You'll want to include some action verbs or keywords of top searched skills, and we'll include those in the skills section below.
Section #3 – Work History
It's easier to get a great-paying job when you have loads of practical experience – regardless of the industry. Relevant job history is vital for all certified public accountant candidates, especially when multiple candidates share similar education or job skills.
Listing your work history on a resume is essentially an extension of your application. It allows you to highlight some of the key accomplishments under your belt – and during your employment.
Case in point – as you can see in the sample work history section posted above, Daniel has listed his two most-recent CPA positions. Under each job description are a few key bullet points – where he introduces key accomplishments or tasks that he has made him a successful employee.
For an accountant position work experience, you'll want to focus on consistency, maintaining fiscal responsibility, and the tasks you've completed that help improves profitability. These technical skills are not only traits of the best senior accountant candidates, but also reviewed by recruiters and hiring managers.
How to Format This Section
The work history section for CPA resume format should include two of your most recent jobs – starting with your current or previous position. Make sure you include the company's name, location, dates of employment, and a brief description of your employment. The bullet points should be kept to four to six. This would also apply for those including a financial analyst during their job search.
Section #4 - Education
If you're reading this article, it's apparent that you've matriculated through the proper education to become a certified public accountant in the United States. Most CPAs earn their MBA in Accounting from an accredited university. However, each accounting job will require different educational requirements. Therefore, it's essential to carefully read the job posting for the position you're hoping to retain.
The education section of an accounting resume is essentially a formality. There is no need to dive deep into core studies, extra-curricular activities, or primary education. You can see that our candidate Daniel has listed his MBA earned at Columbia University. He's listed the basic information, which we'll outline in the formatting section below.
How to Format This Section
As we stated above, the education section is the easiest one to complete in your accounting resume. List your highest completed level of education, the name of the university, date of graduation, and the school's location. There is no need to add bullet points of the required course or ancillary activities.
Section #5 – Certifications
There is a reason why the position is called a Certified Public Accountant. Those tasked to review financials for individuals or business entities are required to hold accreditation and certification from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
A candidate must complete the required educational courses and ancillary certification instruction and pass the AICPA examination to receive this certification. The certification is listed on a resume to provide additional credibility to support the candidate's application.
How to Format This Section
The certification should be listed in a simple format like the education section. You'll want to list the name of the certification (as shown in the sample posted above), the date of completing your certification, and the agency where it was earned.
Section #6 – References
A solid reference can help you eclipse other candidates when all qualifications are equal. For those who might be new to resume writing, a reference is essentially an individual who can testify to prospective employers about your work ethic, experience, qualifications, and interpersonal skills. There are two types of references to consider adding when drafting a resume for public accountants.
A professional reference would be a former employer, manager, or mentor, likewise a CPA. They are used to provide real-world testimonials to a prospective employer about your abilities as an accountant. A personal reference is an individual you know that can provide substance to your interpersonal skills, work ethic, and personality.
How to Format This Section
A reference section is intended to provide the names of individuals who will be happy to vouch for your experience as an accountant. Due to privacy reasons, we strongly suggest listing the individual's name and place of employment (or where you know them from). Do NOT provide any personal contact information on the resume – such as phone number, mailing address, or email. Write the term "Upon Request" – and supply their contact details if the company asks.
Section #7 – Skills
The path to becoming a great accountant begins by enhancing a series of skills that helps them complete daily tasks. These hard and soft skills are integral for any CPA – as they help them focus on details, analyze financial records, complete due diligence, and maintain a positive demeanor under stressful situations.
When you're thinking about which skills to list on an accountant resume, consider the following: These are helpful search terms that automated software solutions seek for candidates in this industry. Some critical skills or action verbs we suggest adding to your resume include time management, analytical skills, corporate tax law, attention to detail, and problem-solving.
You might want to consider adding additional accounting skills such as expertise in Excel, financial statements, Quickbooks, Microsoft suite, account reconciliation, accounts payable, forecasting, general ledger, and documenting journal entries. Applicant tracking systems will search for these terms in accounting manager resumes - so make sure to sprinkle them in the body of your documents.
How to Format This Section
When you utilize a professional accounting resume template, formatting the skills section is a snap. We recommend listing your skills at the bottom of your resume or in the left sidebar of the finished document – below your contact information.
Other Finance Resume Templates
Writing a resume is much easier when you start with a plan of attack. We hope that you find the information above educational and helpful, as it's the same approach that many professional resume writers embrace. However, if you're a person who prefers to learn by reviewing practical samples – we've got you covered.
Take some time to review the plethora of finance resume templates we've gathered. Feel free to take notes and incorporate some of the concepts and verbiage into your objective for your accounting resume.
Final Points on Writing Resumes for Accountants
An accountant position, by nature is highly technical. But that does not mean that you can't embrace some of your personality into your resume. When there are several candidates who are applying to the same position, the resumes and accounting cover letter that are personalized to the company, are creatively written, and tell a story from start to finish are typically the ones picked for an interview.
As you plan out your resume writing project, keep these essential items top of mind.
- Make sure your resume formatting is robust - flows from start to finish – and is reader-friendly.
- Always write your resume on a plain white background with black font.
- Edit the document SEVERAL TIMES – through Grammarly.com and visual inspection.
- Ensure its well-spaced, organized, and professional.
- List all education, experience, and certifications in chronological order.
The most important tip we can provide for accounting resume writing is to take your time. When you're applying for any job, you get one chance to make a solid impression. And a well-written resume is a great way to pull ahead of other applicants.