If you google “accountant resume template”, you’ll find a lot of resume models filled with roles and responsibilities such as:
- Responsible for the reporting of accounts receivable, sales, cash, pension plans, variance analyses and special projects.
- Manager of the Cash Management section, responsible for all banking, investing and cash control functions.
- Prepared data for corporate budget.
- Performed monthly and year-to-date budgeting functions.
- Manage commercial letters of credit, DAP and DAA processes.
- Quarterly presentations to, and participation on, Finance Committee of the Board of Managers.
That seems about right, no?
But there’s a problem. A huge problem, actually. Think of the accountants that you know. How many of them have done similar things? Probably most of them. Because that’s pretty much what being an accountant is all about. There are differences here and there, but roles and responsibilities will often overlap. So if your resume is very close to a typical “accountant resume template”, how is that helping you get interviews? After all, the best resumes are distinctive. They make you stand out, not blend in!
So here’s a little something to help you make your resume stand out. It’s based on the 3 Laws of Resume Writing. And it’s not material that I made up. I found it by carefully studying good accountant resumes.
5 Accountant Accomplishments to Make your Resume Distinctive
- Performed revenue recognition, analysis and forecasting that improved the company’s reporting system by over 30%, by implementing correct authoritative literature. (I’m not sure what about the reporting system was improved by 30% (is it speed? accuracy?), but that certainly translates to time savings, which is always a positive result from the employer’s perspective.)
- Managed two departments of 25 individuals. (Here, we see both leadership and management, since managing staff means setting priorities, getting people to work as a team, coaching, having tough discussions… The list goes on.)
- Implemented a European Factoring Arrangement for Italian receivables, driving $10 million of incremental, accelerated cash flow. (Obviously, when so much money is involved, even if it’s not direct profit, your job and salary are fully justified, and employers will want you on their team.)
- Provided leadership and technical expertise to Operations and Finance personnel relative to the analysis and forecasting of inventories and unit cost data. (All your accomplishments won’t be amazing, and this is a good example. The result is somewhat indirect, but still acknowledges the technical expertise and the collaborative attitude of the candidate.)
- Initiated strategic revenue planning and forecasting on a forecasting team for gross revenue, net revenue, and gross margin, while retrieving information from Oracle 11i.10 through Oracle Discover. (Whenever someone pioneers or initiates something, there’s already a sense of dynamism, a desire to make things better, which resonates with hiring managers.)
The benefit is the key component of each accomplishment: improved operations, more money, demonstrated leadership and reliability, … Accomplishments like these are the most critical pieces of your resume. Now read that last sentence again, because that’s the best resume advice you’ll get this month.
If you’re a fantastic employee but your resume is silent on many of your accomplishments, you’ll end up behind a good employee whose accomplishments are all clearly laid out.
And for that matter, an average employee with weak accomplishments better know how to network, since the resume alone won’t pull its weight. (Actually, networking skills are critical to everyone’s job hunt. But I’m more of a resume guy, so let’s stick with the topic, if you don’t mind.)
Accomplishments are where it’s at. When you solve a problem, reduce costs, make something better/simpler/faster, when you show initiative, it has to be on your resume, without being drowned out by too much roles and responsibilities (i.e. the “we’ve-all-done-it” resume template material). In my view, half of the energy and time spent on your resume should be focused on your accomplishments. To write good accomplishments, you need to think of what your potential employer is thinking about (problems solved, better results, and so on) and emphasize that. If you go through 20 resumes of your peers, you’ll certainly find great accomplishments that you could adapt on your resume. I truly believe that is time well spent.
Many More Accomplishments, Just for You
I’ve already done that research… The 5 ideas above are just a glimpse of the full list of accomplishments I’ve assembled. If you’d like that well-rounded, unique list of real-world accountant accomplishments, for just a few dollars, check out our e-book, Accountant Resume Hacking, on Amazon. You can read it even if you don’t have a Kindle device.