Accountancy is a discipline which is becoming increasingly popular nowadays. Amidst challenging job market conditions, it’s seen as an ‘iron rice bowl’ – every company needs someone to keep the books, and while the basic bookkeeping may be automated away, high-level accounting and financial management entails a lot of subjective decision making which computers can’t easily handle. Just look at the grades needed to even get in the door in our local universities now: nearly straight ‘A’s!
I’ve seen a lot of accountants looking for new jobs recently. Unlike other industries, they’re not coming to me because they can’t land a job. They’re coming to me because they want to land a more senior position at a better company. This is great news! At the most basic level, this entails a different strategy – I tend to spend a lot more time with these clients to get every single achievement and project they’ve worked on in the past. To stand out, those are a must. This is especially the case in industries dominated by high-flyers, where performance is very easy to measure objectively. The most common problem I see is that these achievements aren’t presented well, if at all. It seems we Singaporeans are a modest bunch. That’s not good in the context of a job search. Modesty most definitely has its place, but we need to sell ourselves better. We must be confident in our abilities!
Here’s a recent example I’ve written for an accounting professional.
[If-you hold certifications or professional qualifications which entitle you to use postnominals, e.g. the Chartered Accountant. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). Certified Public Accountant (CPA), etc., you can optionally choose to include them after your name. Not all certifications let you do this; be careful!]
Accounting Manager | Regulatory & Compliance Expert
Address: 123 Sentosa Cove | Tel.: +65 1234 5678 | Email: email@example.com |LinkedIn: linkedin.com/johnsy | Nationality: Singaporean
[This section gives a good helicopter view of the candidate. Briefly mentioning about the subjects you teach, as well as your extra academic functions, will establish a focus of your specialisation and abilities.]
- Well-rounded accounting professional with 12 years of experience in driving full range of accounting operations, including preparation of corporate financial statements and consolidating accounts in several globally-recognised multinational and listed organizations, including XXXXX and XXXXX (Note: I’ve removed the actual organisations’ names for confidentiality reasons. You can tweak this phrasing to fit your own context.) [The first point should summarise your key value proposition and skillsets. It should highlight any major/significant sections of your history (e.g. have you worked in any brand-name firms before? What was the highest level you reached? How much in revenue/budget/finances were you directly responsible for overseeing?) This is intended to ‘hook’ the reader and get them to read on. Here, I highlighted ‘John’s’ professional skillsets. as well as the fact that he worked at major MNCs in the past. These MNCs are usually pretty selective, so it says something about his abilities.]
- Extensive practical and theoretical experience in all major accounting functions, including AP/AR, GL preparation, financial reporting, audit management, and financial controls. [It’s usually a good idea to spend a point showcasing professional competencies that are expected and frequently used in your industry. AP/AR (accounts payable and receivable. respectively, as well as GL (general ledger) are accounting functions any professional accountant should have.]
- Recognised subject-matter expert in compliance and regulatory affairs, with strong understanding of prevailing reporting standards e.g. US GAAP, IFRS, SFRS, SOX. Trusted advisor to senior management on corporate compliance-related issues, providing insights on company-wide policymaking process. [If you specialize in any area. it’s good to state that too. It helps set you apart from the next candidate in the recruiter’s pile of CVs. Compliance is an increasingly important area nowadays in finance-related fields (including Accounting!) – that’s why I’ve chosen to highlight John’s understanding of the major compliance/regulatory standards all firms must adhere to]
- Effective in implementing new accounting procedures and utilising financial software to streamline accounting operations, having built and introduced interactive dashboards and financial models across multiple divisions. [Beyond ‘on paper’ knowledge, it’s important to demonstrate that you can effectively contribute ‘in practice’ as well. In this case, I showed how John uses his accounting and software knowledge to improve effectiveness and productivity across his entire firm. This is a clear value-add, where the contribution is obvious. You can choose to support it with metrics as well, either here or later on in the CV.]
- Excellent interpersonal skills towards building relationships at all organisational levels. Proactive manager, team builder and tactical planner with ability to attract and secure high-performance teams. [This point wasn’t actually in the final CV. It was in John’s original CV. but I talked him out of including it for two simple reasons: firstly. It’s what I call a ‘motherhood statement’ – a point which sounds good in practice, but doesn’t tell me much, it’s too generic at present. It’s not wrong to use such a statement, but it must be backed by a solid, objective example. Secondly, it’s not very relevant to accounting. Accounting is more of a ‘back office’ function, which means that interpersonal skills should take a back seat to practical, domain-related knowledge. It’s important but CV space is too limited to list everything.]
[This section gives a good helicopter view of the candidate. Briefly mentioning about the subjects you teach, as well as your extra academic functions, will establish a focus of your specialisation and abilities.]
|Financial Accounting||Financial Reporting & Analysis||Accounts Receivable|
|Accounts Payable||Financial Modelling||Tax Regulatory Compliance|
[These skills refer to his Accounting and Finance knowledge]
|Cross-Functional Team Leadership||Mentoring and Professional||Development|
|Sales Team Training||Regional Team Management|
[John wanted to highlight his leadership abilities as he was gunning for a senior management position]
|Key Account Management||Client Relationship Management||Communication and Presentation|
|Change Management||Interpersonal Relationship||Development|
[Just some general skillsets that are good to have. Change it up depending on what you know you can do.]
XYZ COMPANY, SINGAPORE
- Supervise team of 4 accountants and finance officers to oversee AP, AR, & GL functions for leading FMCG MNC with annual revenue of USD$100 million and presence in 20 countries. Oversee all credit control issues and AR for portfolio of 3 key brands worth USD$30 million collectively. [This high-level summary shows his domain knowledge (“AP, AR, GL… “) and his level of responsibility (“USD 100M, presence in 20 countries” – this shows how ‘high level’ his role is and how much he is entrusted with). If the recruiter only read this point, he would still have gotten a good idea of what John did, John’s value-add and contributions, and why he should call John for an interview. Try to make your own summary points in such a manner. Recruiters have notoriously short attention spans!]
- Responsible for identifying areas for process improvement and proposing new streamline processes for accounting team’s financial reporting to ensure compliance with IFRS/US GAAP and corporate requirements. [This skillset is valuable in accounting; it demonstrates his knowledge of major compliance and reporting standards. which every firm needs.]
- Coordinate with internal and external auditors and liaise closely with tax consultants for year-end transfer pricing adjustment for goods from US and Europe. [Audit is also a unique skillset which is good for accountants to have. In addition, this demonstrates his ability to work well with others. Recall that I had no space in the executive summary to include the point on interpersonal skills (keep it to 5 pts max). This gave me a chance to demonstrate that he’s a team player, which is again something fairly important to showcase.]
- Analyse regulatory requirements and monitor compliance of accounting procedures and practices. Ensure all accounting deadlines are met. [Similar to point 2. I’ve again highlighted his knowledge of compliance. This point is different as it shows that he is of a senior level, given that he monitors compliance. The previously point is how he used his Compliance knowledge to create value for the company. Essentially, we demonstrate two different skillsets here.]
- Mentor and guide junior team members, developing their personal and professional competencies, and sharing industry best practices. [As a senior manager, he’ll be expected to guide and nurture younger leant members. This is a good way of showing that he’s already been consistently doing so. It means he knows what to do, and can help build up the prospective employer’s teams.]
[Achievements are projects or once-of] duties that have resulted in some value or significant outcome. They demonstrate why the company should hire you. Try to support them with objective numbers and statistics where possible; this helps contextualise why something you did was significant and just how significant it was.]
- Conceptualised and implemented new credit controls and revenue recognition compliance through review and improvement of workflow processes. This resulted in compliance with corporate finance policies which didn’t exist earlier–integral to company’s goals. [Cite metrics to substantiate your achievements. Do, however, be aware of your company confidentiality clause.]
- Spearheaded installation of QuickBooks accounting software to provide improved transparency of accounts, increasing team productivity/efficiency and enhancing management of company cash flows.
- Successfully reduced month-end closing from 90 days to 25 days through automation and streamlined process. [The numbers here (90 -> 25) clearly demonstrate the improvement in efficiency that has been created because of John. The prospective employer will be tempted to hire him, so that he can create similar value in his new company.]
- Instrumental in reducing overdue accounts (>90 days) by 50% through persistent following up and reduction of credit limits of errant customers. [Again. I’ve used statistics to show the value created by John. In this case, we cannot show the original number, so I used percentages instead to convey the significance of John’s work There are many ways we can show significance while respective NDAs and confidentiality agreements.]
ABC COMPANY, SINGAPORE
- Directed daily operations of financial and accounting unit, partnered Senior Finance Manager and auditors to ensure statutory audit and FRS compliance. [Simple, clear overview of the job John has previously done. Notice also how the remaining bullet points are shorter. No need to go into deep detail about more junior workscopes; they aren’t as valuable as the more recent ones given that they are from a long time ago.]
- Performed full spectrum of financial management duties, including financial analysis, audit, and inter-company reconciliation of subsidiary accounts; drafted timely financial reports and other relevant correspondence.
- Drafted and presented financial statements to senior management as part of annual report preparation exercise. [We just include short one-liners on relevant, but more Junior’ roles. This particular point is something that is done by mid-level managers; as someone gunning for a senior. Director-level post, it isn’t very interesting or significant. Be sure to change your job descriptions according to your seniority level.]
- Spearheaded implementation of Oracle HFM Consolidation System and incorporation of Notes to Accounts format into standard operating procedures, successfully reducing subsidiary reporting lapses and eliminating human error by 100%.
- Devised and developed application to automate timeline production in place of manual procedure, successfully improving efficiency and productivity of business functions by 80%. [Note how I’ve again used numbers and statistics to show the significance of these two projects. This is how we differentiate a job description or responsibility from an achievement.]
JKL COMPANY, SINGAPORE
- Managed daily maintenance of invoices, including processing, verification, and reconciliation of accounts.
- Conducted analysis of financial and management reports to ensure compliance with accounting standards.
- Liaised closely with local customers to collect unpaid monies; established contact with clients to handle order settlements and invoicing queries.
[This is a junior role from over 15 years ago. There’s no need to say much about it. If John had more roles to include, I’d have cut this point out entirely, and would have left it under a separate section without any job detail descriptions (just the role and company). Again, the more recent the role, the better a picture it paints of your abilities and skillsets. Accounting is a fast-evolving discipline standards from 15 years ago are very different from standards today!]
EDUCATION & PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS
- Chartered Accountant (CA) • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) • Singapore • 2006 [If have membership in professional associations. advanced certifications. etc., be sure to include them here. They help set you apart from others.]
- Master of Business Administration (MBA) • Edinburgh Business School • Heriot • Watt University • 2004
- Bachelor of Science (Hons) • Accounting & Finance • Singapore Institute of Management • Singapore • 2002 [Once your career has taken of information like GPA and academic awards get less and less important. John had a very good GPA, but I didn’t include this as it’s very old, including it can in fact backfire – it gives the sense that we’ve got nothing better to include despite his long career history! It’s a case-by-case basis.]
- Technical Skills: BPC • Hyperion HFM • SAP • CODA • Cognos System • Microsoft Dynamics NAV • Fast Accounting Software • Microsoft Office Suite • iSAS • Bloomberg • VBA • SQL • SPSS • Python [These are a mix of popular Accounting and Finance software suites. which are beneficial to have. There are also a few programming languages frequently used in the industry, which is a nice bonus given the increasing level of automation every industry is engaged in today.]
- Nationality: Singaporean
- Languages: Fluent in English and Mandarin
- Availability: 2 months’ notice
[Pretty standard information. If you have language certifications e.g. JLPT, you can include them. It’s a nice bonus to have. If the job ad asks for things like expected salary, you can include them here as well.]
References available upon request
[There’s no need to list your references; if HR is interested in you they will ask you for them.]
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As mentioned, many accountants and accounting professionals look really impressive when it comes to account handling and auditing of finances of big brands and large corporations. However, they seem to be quite challenged when it comes to presenting their skills and achievements in their resumes. These candidates can do a lot better than what they already have written in their CVs. It’s so important to showcase your contributions – your CV is a marketing tool, and must thus show your best side. If you’d like more in-depth reading, check out my Ultimate Guide to CV Writing – I go into far greater detail on each section of the CV there, and break down how you should write each part and how to combine them to achieve an effective resume.
If you are one of those professionals who need help crafting a well-written CV, here’s my guide on how to write an accounting resume!
CV Template and Formatting
I thought I’d touch a bit on this first. Nowadays, we’re seeing a lot of fancy templates and infographic-style CVs. On one hand, this helps you to stand out a bit, but on the other hand, the nature of the industry means that these funky designs aren’t looked favourably upon! Accounting is an industry rich in tradition with a very long history. It’s also notably professional and formal. As such, stick with a simple yet professional template like the one I’ve used.
Also, if you’re applying to the big 4 or a larger firm, chances are they’ll be using an ATS system. ATS is an automated CV scanning tool which reviews CVs from applicants and looks out for certain keywords. It then filters all the CVs which don’t meet its criteria. They’re pretty finicky – things like icons, pictures, etc. tend to mess up their programming and cause them to wrongly filter candidates. It’s a real pity to get filtered like that! I’ve had to be particularly careful – I’ve recently gotten access to a tool which acts like ATS and tells me what’s missing, and if ATS can read what I’ve written. I generally give my clients access too – it seems to be helping quite a bit!
Key Pointers Hiring Managers Look For in Accounting Resumes
- Your strong experience in financial, compliance, and/or controlling functions within SMEs and large corporations
- You being comfortable and confident in doing budget planning, forecast, and preparation
- Deep understanding of the financial market and trends in Singapore
- Proven expertise in using accounting and financial systems
This is not an exhaustive list of traits by any means. It’s what I see come up most frequently though.
Additional Accounting Resume Writing Tips
- Accounting is quite a broad field of knowledge that covers many different kinds of functions and responsibilities. It is always best to specify your area of specialization and tailor your CV according to this, in order to put a focus on your profile — rather than being a “jack of all trades” who may confuse hiring managers. You can do this in your executive summary and job title.
- Don’t forget to mention accounting certifications or licences you were able to acquire to help improve your resume and boost your career. These certifications could be things like CA/CPA, CFA, CISA, CMA, etc. They’re very nice bonuses to include on any accountant’s CV. Even if you’re still taking the qualification (i.e. you don’t have the paper in your hand yet) you can still list the certification on your CV – just put “In Progress (Est completion: X)” – this shows that you’re trying to improve yourself which is great :).
Accounting Job Opportunities
Make sure your CV is in order before you reach out to recruiters/headhunters. It’s the first impression you make, and it’s very important to be certain it represents you properly.
- Sign up to and scour job search websites for jobs and opportunities. Explore these top job search portals or our complete list of job sites in Singapore to get started.
- Alternatively, you can reach out to these top recruitment agencies and headhunters in Singapore to learn about any vacancies they may be trying to fill out.
- You can also try searching on LinkedIn. It’s an increasingly popular way to network. I’ve got a cool story about how I helped a client land a very prestigious role through exploiting the power of LinkedIn – read it here.
Job Hunting Tips from our Resident Headhunter
- Get the basics of resume writing right – learn our secrets to crafting a killer CV in our ultimate resume guide.
- Create a winning cover letter and send it along your resume. The cover letter will serve as an introduction about yourself and is a great venue to answer the question “Why should we hire you?”
- Building up your LinkedIn presence is one of the best things you can do for yourself in today’s job search landscape. Having an up-to-date LinkedIn profile, filled with the right keywords, makes you easily discoverable to potential employers. Make sure to create a strong online profile that represents you and you professional experiences. Here’s how to write a great LinkedIn profile.
- Landed an interview? Great! Be sure to prepare well for these common interview questions, and follow our tips and tricks to ace your job interview.
- Benchmark your salary against others in your industry, to negotiate the pay you deserve. Check out our complete Singapore salary guide for your industry this year.
- People sometimes come here looking for Finance CV examples too. We’ve written one recently – check it out here.
- Before you start sending out applications, get a free CV Feedback Session with our team.
More Useful Links
If you found this article on Accounting resume sample useful, you might also like:
- How to Write a Winning Resume: Your Ultimate CV Guide
- How to Write a Cover Letter: Your Ultimate Cover Letter Guide
- List of Headhunters in Singapore
- Singapore Salary Guide for All Industries
- Complete List of Job Sites in Singapore
- Cover Letter Samples, Templates & Tips
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