Over my time in Cpl Finance, I have met some impressive candidates. Accountants who are passionate about the work they do and who can explain it to me, a non-Accountant, in a way I can clearly understand. But the main reason that I’ve met these people is because they have something in common, a strong CV that makes them appealing.
When you send your CV to an Agency or directly to the employer, chances are that it’s going to be received initially by a non-financial person, so as simple as it sounds, you need to clearly spell out your experience and skills. You could be the most suitable person for the role, but if your CV doesn’t market yourself to potential employers then getting to interview stage will prove difficult.
Accountants are amazing with figures, but when it comes to putting into words the work they do daily, it can be a struggle. So, my 6 key pieces of advice to help overcome this and write a great Finance CV would be:
1. Clearly explain your qualifications
It’s crucial to let potential employers know that you are:
- Qualified: either through practice or experience and what qualification you hold: ACCA, ACA, CIMA
- Newly qualified: especially if you’ve come from a practice background and even more so if you come from one of the Big 4
- Part qualified: include details about where in the exam process you currently are
Some employers look for more details on your exams such as first time passes and where you placed in the exams. If it’s impressive and relevant then make sure it’s clear – if you’ve had first time passes for all exams it’s definitely worth noting.
2. Detail any practice experience
If you’ve come from a practice background, outline what clients you’ve worked with, what industries they work in, the details of audits you’ve been involved in (obviously not disclosing any information that would violate a NDA).
If possible, do try to include some actual financials, as it’s great to see the scale of experience you’ve had.
3. Highlight technical systems
Most employers have an Accounting system in place, so ensure to highlight what technologies you’ve used and where. Employers like to see:
But smaller systems like Sage and strong Excel skills can be equally important, depending on the industry you’re targeting.
4. One CV does not fit all
You should never have a generic CV that you use for every application. It needs to be tailored to each role you apply for – minor changes can make a significant difference. Always look at the job description and use this to sell your experience, if you have the skills the company are looking for, highlight this to them.
5. Include a short personal statement
I know that across the recruitment industry, this is a section that divides recruiters, some like to see one and some don’t. Personally, I think it can be used in a very positive way to highlight the sectors/industries you’ve worked in and the type of accountancy roles you have experience with. For example, If you only want a Financial Analyst role but your experience is pure accountancy based then use this section to clarify this.
6. Don’t ignore formatting
This applies to all CV’s, not just Accountancy CV’s, but think about the formatting you use. Clear and concise paragraphs, minimal tables and borders, or none at all. Always have a Word version of the CV on hand as well as a PDF. Recruiters will need to make some slight changes and it speeds up the process for us and for you.
My final piece of advice would be to utilise your recruiter for feedback and assistance on structuring your CV for each individual application. We spend our day reviewing CVs and we know what the hiring companies want to see. If you want your books balanced, you would hire an Accountant. If you want your CV to stand out from the rest, listen to your Recruiter.