How to Write a Professional Accountant Resume

FT Contributor  | 

Working as an accountant may not be the most glamorous job, but it’s certainly a secure and profitable one. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, accounting has a very comfortable median pay of just over $70,000 per year and is growing at an average pace, which means tens of thousands of new accountant jobs are created every year.

This is a competitive field. Along with obtaining the appropriate educational training, if you’re looking for an accountant job you must take the time to hone your cover letter writing abilities and curate a top-notch list of references.

In addition, you  must learn to craft a resume that is formatted correctly and professional enough to slip past applicant tracking systems without an issue, while simultaneously being interesting and unique enough to catch an employer’s eye. Below are some top tips to help you create a high-quality resume that will help you distinguish yourself.

How to Organize an Accounting Resume

There’s isn’t a universal formatting option for resumes. However, the sections below outline the most important areas to address on your resume as well as how to create them with an accountant position, in particular, in mind.

Header

All resumes should begin with a header that includes the following information:

  • Your name.
  • Your physical address.
  • Your phone number and email address.
  • Any important contact links, such as your LinkedIn URL.

This information should be at the top of the document and either left-aligned or centered.

Introduction

The first section of the resume should be titled “Career Objective,” “About Me,” or “Introduction.” Write no more than a few sentences that highlight the most relevant parts of your resume as they pertain to the position you’re applying for.

For instance, if you’ve passed the CPA exam or spent time working for the IRS, mention it here. If, on the other hand, you mention that you have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, you’ll be wasting precious introductory space with information that belongs further down in your resume.

In addition to career and training highlights, you can also include any personal career goals and objectives as long as you contextualize how they’ll benefit the employer.

Skills

The skills section of your resume should list out both soft and hard skills — including technical skills. Display your skills in two separate, bulleted lists. Consider some of the following suggestions:

Hard skills:

  • Corporate accounting.
  • GAAP standards.
  • Financial reporting analysis.
  • M&A due diligence.
  • Tax preparation experience.
  • Proficient with state and federal tax codes.
  • Forecasting and making projections.
  • Quickbooks.

Soft skills:

  • Organized.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Collaboration.
  • Problem-solving.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Positive attitude.

Make sure to take the time to prioritize skills within your lists that are unique and may help you stand out against the competition.

Experience

The experience section of your resume should list all relevant experiences that apply to the position. This includes experience you’ve gained in both professional settings as well as nonprofessional settings, such as time spent volunteering or pro bono work. For each item, include the following information:

  • Company’s name.
  • Your job or position’s title.
  • When you worked in the position.
  • A few applicable achievements from the experience.

If your experience section is a bit thin, such as if you just graduated or you’re making a career shift, you can select other, less applicable things to include. However, if you feel the section doesn’t add much unique value, you can push it below the educational section.

Education

If you’re applying to a job as an accountant, you likely already have, or nearly have, a degree in accounting. Each relevant part of your education should be listed, including:

  • The name of the institution you attended.
  • The name of the degree you earned.
  • The school’s location.
  • The years you attended school.

Make sure to include things such as sitting for the CPA exam as well as any additional accountant-related training or certifications you may have received.

References

References are always good to have. However, you shouldn’t include them directly on your resume. Instead, list your references on a separate document including the following information for each one:

  • The reference’s name.
  • Their job title.
  • The company they work for.
  • Phone number.
  • Email address
  • Physical address.

Make sure to choose your references wisely. Look for professional references, such as an old professor, boss, or colleague you trust, and ask them to vouch for you. 

Accounting Resume Writing Tips

Here are a few other helpful tips to augment the common resume sections listed above:

  • Always be brief and consistent in your tone, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Look for keywords in the job description and then insert them into your resume wherever possible.
  • Utilize a resume template to help you structure your document — just make sure to personalize every bit of the information for yourself.
  • Use powerful, eye-catching action verbs to help provide a splash of life and interest throughout your resume.

Accountant Resume Sample

If you’re hesitating on where to start, use the sample below as a guide. Just copy and paste it into a new document and then fill out each section with your own personal information.

Janice Smith.
789 Union Road
Battle Creek, MI, 49014.
555-125-3289.
janicesmith@gmail.com.
linkedin.com/janice-smith.

ABOUT ME

An organized individual with 3 years of experience as a tax professional at H&R Block.

SKILLS

Hard skills:

  • Netsuite.
  • Proficient with state and federal tax codes.

Soft skills:

  • Organized.
  • Critical thinking.

EXPERIENCE

H&R Block, Brockport NY, Tax Preparer, October 2016 – November 2019.

  • Process individual, corporate, and partnership tax returns.
  • Resolve customer complaints quickly.
  • Exercise due diligence with each tax return, ensuring that every possible deduction, credit, and liability are taken into consideration.

EDUCATION

  • University of Phoenix, Bachelor’s degree in accounting, Phoenix, AZ, 2015.
  • Sitting for the State of Arizona CPA exam in the fall.

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