How to write an appealing accountant resume

An accountant resume, much like the job itself, is often all about the numbers. Find out how to stand out in a crowd that all has similar qualifications with our resume tips!

So, at some point in your career, you decided to enter the world of accounting. The good news is that this means you're absolutely no stranger to hard work. You're also in luck, as the accounting sector has always been one of the strongest around in terms of growth and stability.

So, if you've got the right qualifications and those extra special skills you need to stand out in the crowd, there are jobs out there ready and waiting to be filled.

Of course, when it comes to finding the perfect job, you're more interested in quality than quantity. Accountancy has something of a stigma among the general public, where some might even consider it boring.

But, of course, you know that's not the case, and for people that put in the work and have the skills and qualifications that matter, there's no shortage of high-paying roles with incredible benefits and the kind of working environment that makes you want to turn up every day.

Your resume gets your foot in the door to make this happen, and it goes without saying that anything you can do to make yourself stand out will ensure you'll have your pick of the most desirable accounting roles.

Here's how to do precisely that.

1. Start with an appealing resume summary or resume objective

Summaries and objectives aren't required in every sector, and if you're unfamiliar with applying for accountant roles, they're easy to overlook. However, when your resume is likely to be packed with facts and figures, an introduction at the top of the document can ensure you don't immediately end up in the recycling bin.

As with more employers, people want to know if you're the right fit for the job within a few seconds. Think of it like making a first impression, and consider how important that is in the real world. Your resume can achieve the same goals.

The difference between a resume summary and a resume objective comes down to experience.

If you've got lots of it and you've provided accounting services to some of the biggest companies in the world, go with a resume summary. Don't be afraid to shout all about your skills and achievements either.

There's no need to be humble in the world of getting work. Namecheck your largest employers and condense the most impressive numbers into a paragraph. If you saved a company money, time, or anything else with your skills and efforts, make sure the hiring manager knows all about it.

An eye-catching resume summary might look something like this

An experienced accounts professional with more than 20 years of service with JP Morgan and Barclays. Operated within the Barclays accounts payable team to deploy a new financial system that resulted in cost savings of $3 million annually.

If you don't have enough experience to make a resume summary stand out, consider using an accountant resume objective instead. Don't worry about what you haven't done.

Instead, talk about what you have done and demonstrate work ethic, no matter how minor it might feel to you. Even if it's not necessarily relevant to the role, if it shows passion and enthusiasm, there's every chance it can work.

Accounting resume objective example

Ambitious entry-level accounting professional. Since achieving CPA certification, provided freelance CPA services to local small businesses. Extensive hard and soft skills used in numerous voluntary roles, including planning and fundraising $50,000 for a local homeless shelter.

2. Include the best accountant skills in your resume

The skills section of an accountant resume plays a pivotal role in showcasing your expertise and capabilities in this specialized field. 
It serves as a snapshot of your technical proficiency and personal attributes that make you a well-rounded accounting professional. 

Hard skills such as financial analysis, budgeting, and proficiency in accounting software like QuickBooks or SAP demonstrate your technical knowledge and ability to handle complex financial tasks.

Soft skills such as attention to detail, analytical thinking, and strong communication skills are equally crucial, as they highlight your ability to accurately analyze financial data, solve problems, and effectively communicate financial information to stakeholders.

The best soft skills for your accountant resume

  • Attention to Detail
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Time Management
  • Effective Communication
  • Ethical Conduct and Integrity
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Decision Making
  • Client Relationship Management

Effective hard skills to include in your accountant resume

  • Financial Analysis
  • Budgeting and Forecasting
  • Financial Reporting
  • Tax Preparation and Compliance
  • Auditing
  • Knowledge of Accounting Software (e.g., QuickBooks, SAP)
  • Excel Proficiency (including advanced functions and macros)
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation
  • Cost Accounting
  • Cash Flow Management

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3. Get the work experience section of your accountant resume right

Whether you're looking for entry-level roles or it's time to take the next giant leap in your career, you want to demonstrate how far you've come in your career already to employers. They're not worried about how you did in high school, and neither should you be.

Start off by listing your most recent experience first. You've evolved as an accounting professional since you gained your first certification, and it's essential to focus on the fact that you'll be providing the best version of yourself to your new employer.

Focus on the numbers. You're an accountant, so you know how important numbers are, right? The chances are that whoever reads your resume will have some kind of grasp on the importance of numbers too. Once they've read your intro, they're looking for the figures that back up your skills.

Don't list your experience as you went to work and did what was expected. Instead, talk about what you did that will fill the employer with a mix of curiosity and the desire to see you do the same for them.

Once again, be prepared to shout about your achievements and put a number on them. Consider:

  • Cost savings
  • Boosts in profitability
  • Hours saved through your efforts

In short, don't feel the need to focus on the journey in your accountant resume. Save that for the interview. For now, stick with the facts, particularly the ones that will mean the employer can't wait to meet you.

Even if you don't have much experience, that shouldn't put you off. People want to see achievements by the numbers, even if you did it for the local sports club and not a multinational financial institution.

Demonstrate that you succeed in whatever you put your mind to, and use your qualifications to show that you know all about transferring those skills and aspirations to a financial setting.

Accountant work experience section example

PWC, Ireland, United Kingdom
Financial Reporting Manager

  • Managed the timeline and collection of the information required from various teams across the company. Owed the relationship with the external audit team to ensure a seamless audit process.
  • Mentored colleagues and supported the team's overall development.
  • Assisted in the preparation and filing of all SEC financial reports (not limited to, but including Form 10-K, Form 10-Q, Form 11-K, and Form 8-K).
  • Monitored and ensured timely identification and compliance with evolving accounting guidance as it relates to external reporting.
  • Created and maintained the SEC calendar to inform parties of necessary deadlines for the following processes: Form 10-Q/K and earnings release.
  • Provided direct support on various special projects.

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4. Make your accounting education pop

One of the most complex parts of designing an accountant CV is the fact that most people have the same kinds of information to include. You're a CPA. So's everyone else applying for the role. It goes with the territory.

Think of it like this. You went to school to become an accountant, and you succeeded. But what else did you do?

It ties in closely with the ever-desirable soft skills accountants are expected to possess. Put yourself in the shoes of the employer. If you had the choice between a qualified accountant or a qualified accountant with proven teamwork and leadership skills, which would you choose?

When listing education, you can use the same bullet point format as when putting down your work experience, especially if you lack all that much of the latter. If you organized extracurricular activities, achieved something that only one student each year can, or anything else, bring it to their attention.

Indeed, focus less on the qualification itself. Instead, reassure them you have it, but only because you need it. They'll assume you've got it, and it won't impress them, so shift your focus to something that will.

Accountant education section example

University of Dublin
Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting

  • Graduated with Honors

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Published on May 23, 2023

Martin is a resume expert and career advice writer at Kickresume. In his five years at Kickresume, he has written nearly 100 in-depth, painstakingly researched resume advice articles and, as chief editor, he has also edited and revised every single article on this website. Tens of thousands of job seekers read Martin’s resume advice every month. He holds a degree in English from the University of St Andrews and a degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Amsterdam.

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