How to craft an effective accounting & finance cover letter
Writing an exceptional accounting & finance cover letter may seem complex. But it doesn’t have to be — especially if you have a great guide filled with handy tips and specific examples.
In our guide, we'll venture into what it takes to create an impressive accounting & finance cover letter designed to make you stand out. So, read on and learn all about:
- Formatting your cover letter properly
- Writing an effective header
- Crafting a compelling cover letter headline
- Building a strong introduction for your accounting and finance cover letter
- Making your skills and accomplishments stand out in the body of your cover letter
- Writing a persuasive conclusion
- Avoiding common mistakes in an accounting and finance cover letter
- Average salary and job outlook for accounting and finance professionals
- Accounting and finance resources
1. How to format your accounting & finance cover letter
A well-structured cover letter reflects organization skills — a trait treasured in the accounting and finance sector. Here’s how to format your cover letter:
- Standard business letter format: Stick to the traditional layout. Your personal information at the top, followed by the date, then the recipient's details.
- Professional font and size: Use clean and professional fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri. Keep font size between 10-12.
- Precision is key: Keep your document to a single page. Be clear, concise, and precise with your words.
- Margins and spacing: Use a 1" margin all around. Make sure there's a space between each paragraph.
- Bullet points to highlight: Use bullet points for listing skills or experiences. It’s an effective way to draw attention and make your points easy to skim through.
- Consistent formatting: Use the same formatting, spacing, and font on your resume and cover letter for a professional, coordinated presentation.
Remember, your cover letter's format sets the stage for its content. It's the first impression before the recruiter delves into your qualifications and experiences. Get it right, and you're one step closer to that dream accounting & finance role.
2. How to write your accounting & finance cover letter header
The header of your cover letter is the first thing a recruiter sees. It's essentially your professional greeting, and it contains your contact information.
A proper header should contain:
- Your full name
- Your address (city, state)
- Your contact number
- Your professional email address
- Date of the application
- The recruiter's name and position
- The company’s name and address
Now, let’s have a look at an incorrect and a correct examples:
Incorrect accounting & finance cover letter header example
April 12, 2022
To: Hiring Manager
Why is this example wrong?
- The address is insufficient as it only provides a street name with no city or state.
- The phone number is not in the correct format. Typically, a phone number would have brackets or hyphens, showing clear separation.
- The email address mentioned here is both unprofessional and incomplete. It's important to use an email address that includes your name and seems formal, ideally on a reputable platform like Gmail or Outlook.
- Moreover, the reference to the hiring manager is generic, it's always more professional and personalized to mention the hiring manager's full name.
- Lastly, the company name and address are missing.
All these mistakes could give an impression of a lack of regard for details — a red flag for any accounting & finance role.
Correct accounting and finance cover letter header example
123 Cherry Street, New York, NY
15th April 2022
To: Mr. Smith Johnson
ABC Finance Corporation, 456 Finance Avenue, New York, NY
Why is this header correct? It includes a full address, a properly formatted phone number, and a professional email address. It also includes the application's date and the recruiter's and company's information. This correctly formatted header projects an image of precision, attention to detail, and respect for professional conventions — all qualities that prospective accounting and finance employers highly value.
3. How to craft a cover letter headline for accounting & finance roles
A headline is the hook that reels in your reader. For an accounting & finance cover letter, you want a headline that not only grabs attention but clearly communicates your professional expertise. Here's how:
- Keep it relevant: Your headline should clearly relate to the accounting or finance role you're applying for. This helps the recruiter understand immediately that you're a suitable candidate.
- Use keywords: Incorporate key terms from the job description that align with your skills. This can signal to recruiters that you have what they're looking for.
- Stay concise: A lengthy headline can lose the reader's interest. Keep it short and to the point.
- Display your value: The headline is your chance to showcase your unique value. Include a significant achievement or a unique skill set that can distinguish you from other candidates.
Incorrect accounting & finance headline example
Applying for Accounting Job
Why is this example incorrect? It’s too vague and offers no value or insight into the candidate's skills or achievements.
Correct accounting & finance headline example
Certified Public Accountant with 5+ Years of Experience and Proven Record of Improving Efficiency by 20%
Why is this example correct? This headline immediately presents the candidate as a skilled, experienced professional. It's keyword-rich and specifies a quantifiable achievement, creating a compelling impression. The position the candidate is applying for is implied rather than stated, maintaining focus on the candidate's value.
4. How to customize the greeting on your accounting & finance cover letter
A personalized greeting plays a significant role in your cover letter. Addressing the hiring manager directly shows that you’ve done your research and aren’t just mass-blasting generic letters. It’s a small detail that can position you as a thoughtful candidate.
Consider these tips when writing your cover letter greeting:
- Find the name: Do your best to find the hiring manager’s name. Look at the job posting, the company's LinkedIn page, or even call the company to ask.
- Use appropriate titles: If you know someone's official title, use it. It adds a professional touch to your greeting.
Here are some examples of greetings and when to use each:
- When you know the hiring manager's exact name: Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name]
- When you can’t find the exact hiring manager’s name, but you know the department hiring: Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
- When you’re not sure who exactly will be reading the cover letter: Dear [Company Name] Team
- Avoid generic greetings like 'To whom it may concern' or 'Dear Sir/Madam'. They can make your letter seem impersonal, indicating a lack of effort.
Here are some examples of personalized greetings for your cover letter
- Dear Hiring Manager Mark Johnson,
- Dear Mr. Johnson,
- Dear Mark Johnson,
Remember, each line of your cover letter, including the greeting, is an opportunity to create a positive impression. Don't miss out!
5. How to write a strong introduction for your accounting & finance cover letter
Your accounting & finance cover letter's' first impression starts with the initial passage. The opening paragraph, much like the summary of an annual report, should captivate and hold the HR manager's attention.
A great introduction to your cover letter should include:
- Synopsis of your professional and academic journey: Present the highlights of your professional and academic track records, just as you would highlight key financial summaries in a report. Include the roles you've played, your academic achievements, and the organizations you've represented.
- Explanation of your interest in the position: It's essential to illustrate why you're interested in this job. Is it a step towards bigger career goals or a chance to dive deeper into the realm of accounting and finance?
- Reference a mutual professional (if applicable): A shared contact provides an additional assurance about your credibility and rapport.
Now, let's look at two sample introductions — one for an experienced professional and one for a fresh graduate.
Experienced professional’s cover letter introduction example
With more than a decade spent navigating the intricate world of financial analysis and optimizing fiscal operations, I bring extensive acumen to the Financial Analyst position at XYZ Company. Through working with renowned firms like A and B, my skill-set has grown exponentially. John Doe, your CFO, and a former colleague of mine, spoke highly of XYZ's holistic financial strategy, which piqued my interest.
This sample showcases an experienced professional emphasizing their rich background. The candidate's mention of a known industry name subtly aligns their credibility with the company hierarchy.
Fresh graduate’s cover letter introduction example
As a recent accounting accolade from University College, my keen eye for numbers and a solid foundation in finance make me an ideal candidate for the Junior Accountant position at XYZ. Jane Smith, an alum of the same college and a current XYZ employee, relayed to me XYZ's commitment to cultivating talents — an environment I'm excited to contribute to.
While this candidate might be new to the field like a crisp banknote, they express their valuable academic prowess and eagerness to harness it. The mention of a personal connection within the company demonstrates their resourcefulness. Their commitment predicts potential value to the company.
6. How to highlight your skills and accomplishments in your accounting & finance cover letter
When you think about the body of your cover letter, imagine it as the core financial statements in an annual report. This is where you detail your skills, achievements, and credentials that position you as a strong candidate for the role.
Ensure the structure of your cover letter is easily readable and logically segmented:
- Start with a clear statement about your current role and responsibilities.
- Move on to detailing your past experiences and achievements, drawing a direct line to how these can contribute to the prospective role.
- Conclude with your standout skills and competencies that would make you an asset to the team.
When it's time to elaborate your skills and achievements, follow the “prudence concept”. Only write about skills and achievements that you can clearly prove. Be sure to:
- Use quantifiable metrics where available. Increased efficiency? State by how much. Reduced costs? Inform them of the percentage.
- Highlight achievements that demonstrate your problem-solving abilities or strategic thinking.
If you're a recent graduate or changing sectors, think of this as framing your initial trial balance — it's all about showcasing where your real potential lies:
- Discuss any relevant coursework or projects you've undertaken.
- Talk about internships, work placements, or any team projects that you've been part of.
- Mention recognitions you've received, such as top grades, scholarships, or other academic awards.
Now, let's consider some specific examples:
Experienced professional’s cover letter body paragraph example
As the lead financial analyst in ABC company, I supervised a team of five and managed projects aimed at identifying cost-reduction opportunities. Our successes included an efficiency increase by 25% in the first year. Furthermore, my strategic input in financial forecasting led to the mitigation of a potential fiscal crisis, saving the company $2 million.
In this instance, the applicant effectively applies bold numbers and quantifiable achievements, much like a well-audited financial statement. They've skillfully highlighted major skills — team management, strategic financial input, and cost-cutting initiatives — painting a compelling picture of their value addition.
Fresh graduate’s cover letter body paragraph example
In my final year at University, I involved myself in a voluntary income tax assistance programme that exposed me to practical aspects of tax accounting. My rigorous coursework in financial accounting and analysis gave me a strong theoretical foundation. Plus, my distinction in advanced calculus demonstrates my proficiency in handling figures, a skill that can be an asset in the role of a Junior Accountant.
Despite the lack of professional experience, the fresh graduate here draws attention to relevant extracurricular activities and coursework. They've banked on their exceptional academic performance to emphasize their potential. Using their mathematical prowess as an example showcases their readiness to handle accounting responsibilities.
7. How to conclude your accounting & finance cover letter
The conclusion of your cover letter is just as important as your introduction. It's your final chance to convince the hiring manager that you're the right candidate for the role. Think of it as the final figures in a financial statement, cementing the overall impression.
What should your conclusion include?
- Your availability for the role: Make sure to state when and how you can be easily contacted. This shows you're eager to take the next step.
- Proactive follow-up: Mention that you intend to follow up within a specific timeline. By taking initiative, you show your determination.
- A formal sign-off: End on a respectful and formal note. A simple 'Thank You' goes a long way towards creating a positive impression.
Here’s an example of a strong conclusion for you cover letter
I am excited about the prospect of contributing my unique blend of skills and experience to XYZ Company and am eager to discuss potential cooperation further. I'm available by phone or email at any time that suits your schedule. I will make it a point to follow up on my application within the next week. Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of partnering with you to drive forward the goals of XYZ.
Remember, the conclusion isn't a mere formality. It's the summary of everything you've listed before, reinforcing your suitability and declaring your interest in the role. It's your final chance to make an impression, so make it count!
8. How to avoid common mistakes in an accounting & finance cover letter
Though cover letters vary by individual, certain pitfalls can creep into anyone's document. Avoiding these common mistakes enhances the overall impact of your letter.
Here are a few pointers on how to steer clear of these mistakes:
- Irrelevant Information: Just like irrelevant entries can distort a balance sheet, including non-related details only dilutes the effectiveness of your cover letter. Focus on the skills and experiences that directly enhance your suitability for the job.
Tip: Don't mention your retail job while applying for a financial analyst position, unless you can tie certain transferable skills, like customer service or communication skills, to an aspect of the new role.
- Generalized statements: A vague sentence is as unhelpful as an unclear financial report. Tailor your cover letter for each application instead of rehashing a general template with no modifications.
Tip: Instead of a bland statement like "I'm a seasoned financial professional," you could specify, "I bring to the table a decade's experience in optimizing fiscal operations and leading finance teams across diverse sectors."
- Typos & grammatical errors: In the accounting world, an error can create financial discrepancies. Similarly, typos and grammatical errors can affect how you're perceived. Proofread meticulously and consider using spell-check tools.
Tip: It's easy to overlook mistakes in your own writing. Smart editing tools can help you catch errors you might miss.
- Lengthy cover letters: Remember that hiring managers are typically pressed for time. Craft your cover letter like a succinct summary of financial statements — crisp and to the point.
Tip: Keep your cover letter to a maximum of one page. Be thorough but concise.
By avoiding these common errors, you'll be able to present a polished, professional, and effective cover letter that stands out in the competitive landscape of accounting and finance jobs.
9. Average salary and outlook for accounting and finance roles
Navigating the landscape of accounting and finance jobs entails looking into the promising future prospects and earnings of these roles. Let's crunch the numbers and review the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
According to the BLS, accountants were earning, on average, about $78,000 a year in May 2022. That shows that businesses value the work that accountants do.
Moving our lens to the job outlook, it seems the future is pretty bright. Employment opportunities for accountants and auditors are projected to grow by 4% from 2022 to 2032. That's about the same as the average growth for all jobs.
Every year, there will likely be around 126,500 new job openings for accountants and auditors. This takes into account new jobs as well as older workers retiring or leaving.
All in all, the accounting and finance field offers a promising path with respectable earnings and robust job prospects. Career stability and progression are notable strengths in the industry, making it an attractive choice for many aspiring professionals.
10. Accounting and finance resources for job seekers
If you're seeking a job in the accounting and finance industry, it's important to equip yourself with valuable resources. Below are some suggestions:
- Professional networks: Join networks like the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) or Financial Management Association International. These offer resources, courses, and community connections which can be valuable in your job search.
- Web resources: Websites like Investopedia provide a wealth of information on financial terms, practices, and theories. Using this resource can help you stay up-to-date with industry trends and terminologies.
- Online learning: Platforms like Coursera and Udacity offer online courses on finance and accounting, some even from top-tier universities. These can boost your credentials and expertise.
- Finance blogs and podcasts: Following finance-focused blogs and podcasts can help you remain updated on industry happenings, insights, and ideas. The AICPA's 'Journal of Accountancy' is a good start.
- Job portals and LinkedIn: Regularly check job portals specialized in finance jobs like eFinancialCareers. Don't forget to maintain an updated and active LinkedIn profile.
- Mock interview and resume checkers: Services like Interview Query provide mock interviews, while Kickresume’s AI Resume Checker helps you improve your CV and give it that extra polish in a matter of seconds.
Remember, the more knowledgeable and prepared you are, the higher your chances of landing that coveted accounting and finance job. Good luck!
Accounting / Finance Cover Letter FAQ
Highlight skills that are relevant to the role such as proficiency in different accounting software, analytical skills, attention to detail, and strong knowledge in fields like tax codes or financial regulations.
Yes, if you hold specific certifications relevant to the job, like Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Financial Analyst (CFA), these should definitely be mentioned in your cover letter.
Yes, soft skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills can be just as important as technical skills in finance and accounting roles, so it's a good idea to mention them.
Absolutely. Your cover letter should tailor your skills, experiences and career aspirations to the job description. It shows the hiring manager that you understand the job requirements and how you can meet them.
Yes, showing enthusiasm for your work can make you stand out. You can express your passion by mentioning your continuous learning efforts, engaging in finance/accounting seminars or workshops, or your satisfaction in delivering precise financial reports or strategies.