A career in accountancy is highly sought after. With the average salary after five or more years for a chartered accountant being up to roughly £90,000, it’s clear to see why. To get an accounting job, you’ll need to pass several exams and have a CV that makes you stand out. To help you out, we’ve made a step-by-step guide on how to write an accountant CV, including advice from hiring managers when it comes to what they’re looking for.
What to include in an accountant CV
Whether you’re trying to be an account manager or an account assistant, the information you include on your CV will roughly be the same and should aim to fill 2 pages. This can be split into 7 main sections, which can be added in the following order:
1. Personal information
The obvious bit: this section is essentially your contact details and will appear at the top of every CV, regardless of your professional field. Include your full name, your home address, your contact number and email address. It might also be useful to include your LinkedIn profile if it’s up to date.
2. Personal statement
Your personal statement will consist of a couple of sentences, roughly 50-100 words of your professional summary. This should be easy to read and concise and will include your top skills, experience and what you’re looking for. This is essentially the part employers will see first to decipher whether they will continue reading your CV, so make a summary of your best points.
For example, your personal statement could say something like “A highly motivated financial account manager with 3 years’ experience in the industry and a comprehensive knowledge of financial procedures. A confident professional with proven accounting results, seeking an organisation where I can bring significant value.”
3. Key skills
Your key skills are a chance to show off. This is again likely to be skimmed, so demonstrate what you know with brief bullet points. For example, this could be the sector of accounting you specialise in, i.e. commercial finance, bookkeeping, or business strategies.
Try and stick to between 6 and 12 bullet points as employers prefer a concise format. If you're just starting out and don’t have many industry specific skills or results to boast about, just include softer skills you’re personally proud of, for example, leadership or management, or even communication skills.
4. Qualifications and education
Regardless of the accountant role, education and your academic qualifications are important, so they should be highlighted early in your CV. Again, this should be done in a brief list instead of discussing each qualification at length. You should present this by listing the most recent qualification first, working backwards.
For accounting examinations, state the examining body, the start date, the date of completion and the examinations passed. For education, list the university/college/school name, the dates of study, the name of the subject and finally your grade. You can work down to include your GCSEs, however these aren’t compulsory if you’re short on space. You can also consider just listing the grades you achieved rather than listing each individual subject.
5. Employment history
For your employment history it’s best to include the most recent or relevant three roles. List the job title, the company’s name and location and the dates you worked there. Also add your main responsibilities under each one, for example ‘preparing sales invoices’ or ‘identifying and rectifying accounting errors’.
This is again a chance to show off any specific wins in your career, if you made a company a lot of money and have results to prove it, shout about it here. For example, ‘implemented X change which resulted in X’. If you won any awards during your employment history, this can also be included here.
Managing director of Quant Accountants Daniel Newman advises:
“It’s about more than just your qualifications. Whilst it’s important to demonstrate your academic background, I’m more interested in hearing about the way you have helped clients, the challenges you have faced and the successes you have achieved. These are the elements that can’t necessarily be showcased in an exam situation and will help you to stand out from the crowd.”
If on the other hand you don’t have years of experience, you can include any relevant work experience, even if it was just a week shadowing a chartered accountant. If you don’t have any relevant experience yet, it might be time to consider contacting various local companies to see if they offer work experience.
6. Hobbies and interests
This section is the least important part of an accountant CV, so isn’t compulsory to include if you’re short on space. However, if you choose to include your hobbies and interests it’s a chance to showcase your personality. Try and keep your hobbies loosely relevant, for example if it’s a management role, discuss how you manage a sports team. If you’re applying to be an accountant for a travel company, talk about the time you worked abroad.
Finally, sign off by adding that ‘references are available upon request’ this will help save some room on the CV and give you an inkling if an employer is interested in you. Your references should be previous employers, educators or professionals in the accounting industry, so try and plan up to 4 references in advance.
Accountant CV templates
If you're looking for an accountant CV sample with all your headings set up for you, plenty of job sites have useful resources. For example, Reed, Fish4 and Monster all offer accountant CV examples with similar headings to the ones listed here.
Good luck with your job hunt! If you'd like to beef up the qualifications section of your CV, browse our accounting courses here or fill in the form to get your free brochure.