How to Write a Resume for Accounting Assistant: Expert Tips
Make a shiny accounting assistant resume in 7 steps
Accounting assistant is an entry-level accounting position, so requirements for applicants are less strict. Still, to get hired for an accounting assistant role, one needs to have a certain level of training in financial records and office administration. And your resume must represent the specific accounting knowledge and soft skills to persuade a target employer that you are the best candidate.
Whether you apply to a large business or a small accounting firm, the guidelines for writing your resume are pretty much the same. Examining financial statements, computing taxes, and maintaining records is your bread and butter, so the resume has to demonstrate these skills effectively. Today, a resume writing professional will explain how to create a perfect CV for a finance and accounting sphere.
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If you prefer writing a resume on your own, be sure to follow these steps:
Create a catchy accounting summary
This section introduces your professional background to the recruiter. In 2-4 sentences, you need to emphasize your most notable skills, achievements, and expertise as well as your fit for the role. For instance, you may start the summary like this:
- Meticulous Accounting Assistant with 3+ years of experience processing accounts payable, accounts receivable, and purchase order invoices with utmost accuracy. Proficient with…
Focus on qualifications and credentials which emphasize your fit. Maybe, you have worked in wholesale sales in clothing industry as the job posting requires. Or, you have rich experience in handling inventory, maintaining account ledgers and reconciling monthly statements.
Pro Tip: Although the number of accounting assistant jobs is expected to decline by 4% till 2028, the number of open jobs remains stably high. Moreover, it doesn’t require an extensive training, which makes it a great career option for college graduates.
Describe the accounting assistant work experience
When listing your past experience, it’s important that you do it accurately and give context. Whether you prepared monthly clearing invoices for companies, maintained fixed assets records or updated the physical filing system, follow these guidelines:
✓ Keep the job descriptions short. The recommended length is 5 to 7 bullet points per job. Give only the most important highlights of accounting and office administration experience to save space.
✓ Capitalize on your accomplishments. Work experience matters, but it’s achievements that can truly distinguish you from others. Did you organize the transition from paper to electronic filing system and completed it sooner than expected? Did you manage accounts payable and receivable with zero discrepancies? Put these achievements in a visible place.
✓ Use strong action verbs. Use ‘Reconciled’, ‘Calculated’, and ‘Streamlined’ rather than ‘Led’ and ‘Managed’. The language affects how others perceive us, and action words will make you look as an initiative, organized, and resourceful employee.
What if you have no accounting experience? In this case, career experts recommend that you list previous jobs even if they lay outside the accounting field. Yet, be sure to draw connections and demonstrate transferable skills such as attention to detail, teamwork, and organization. Since accounting assistant is an entry-level role, you have a big chance of getting hired even with no prior experience. Show off the basic accounting skills and soft skills you’ve gained in a different career path.
Want to reach the top of accounting career? Read the first-hand career tips from successful women in business.
Pro Tip: Accounting assistants earn a median salary for of $40,240. If you want to earn more, learn the effective salary negotiation strategies first: http://resumeperk.com/blog/salary-negotiation-tips-from-cv-writing-service
List the all-important accounting resume skills
Accountants, accounting clerks and accounting assistants are required to highlight the similar set of skills. They often serve as keywords. When screening the incoming resumes, the ATS may specifically search for phrases such as ‘bank reconciliations’ or ‘accounts payable’.
Resume makers recommend that you list skills right after the career summary. If placed higher on page, your skills will have bigger weight for resume robots. Here are the examples of skills that show your ideal fit for an accounting assistant job:
✓ Software skills – any accounting professionals are expected to be proficient with certain types of software. The most popular software names include Oracle, FreshBooks, SAP, and Crystal Reports. They are required to do your daily job, so be sure to master at least one type of software.
✓ Office and operating systems –accounting assistant do a variety of clerical tasks as well. So, they need to be familiar with office suites (MS Office or Google Docs), at least one operating system and office equipment such as fax, photocopiers, etc.
✓ Accounting skills – the specific accounting skills you’ll need to list depend on the role and the company. Yet, many accounting assistants list such skills as knowledge of accounting principles, account reconciliation, record keeping, financial statement preparation, and managing vendor accounts.
✓ Soft skills – personality traits which are sought after in accounting include methodical working style, independence, problem-solving, discretion, and business acumen. It’s also important that you highlight strong verbal and written communication and customer service abilities.
You will need to work individually. Find out the pros and cons of independent work to organize your working day efficiently.
Mention your diplomas
Starting a career as an accounting assistant doesn’t require a strong educational background. Many jobs require an associate’s degree only, and it’s possible to get hired without a degree at all. If you have a Bachelor’s degree or above, it increases your choice of jobs.
Here’s how to list your education:
✓ If you are a graduate with no accounting experience, include your GPA and coursework. Thus, you’ll show the employer that you have a solid theoretical foundation.
✓ Include academic awards. If you were a top performing student (for instance, if you have awards as an athlete, made it to Dean’s list, or won student contests), do humblebrag about it.
Another way to increase your professional value is to write about professional training and certifications. If you are now working towards your CPA certification, include this information as well and mention the anticipated certification date.
Top 6 tips to polish your resume
1. Tailor the resume closely
Sending the same resume in response to all job posting isn’t the effective tactic. Your resume should be targeted towards each job listing. This is needed not only to pass the resume robots but also to make it more persuasive for a human recruiter. If the job listing requires experience with maintaining purchase orders, G/L, accounts payable and receivable, make sure your resume lists these qualifications and they are spelled out correctly.
2. Keep the required qualifications in mind
When reading the job posting, pay attention to the requirements in the first place. These are the qualifications that you must have to be considered for the job. If, for instance, the job requires a certification in tax accounting, it means that it’s a must have to get this job. If you don’t meet 100% of required qualifications, it makes no sense to apply. Desired qualifications, on the other hand, aren’t mandatory so if you don’t have a few qualifications from this list, apply anyway.
3. Use a professional file name
Giving your file a random name such as ‘my resume’ or leaving the default name can get your file tossed among other applications on a hiring manager’s computer. Use the one that combines your name and a position’s name, for example, ‘Jane_Kenneth_accounting_assistant.doc’. Firstly, the recruiter knows your target role even before they open it – they typically have lots of positions to fill at the same time. And secondly, such a name makes the document easy to find.
4. Limit it to one page
Zero-experience candidates are recommended to apply with a one-page resume. If you’ve had many jobs over a short period of time, you might want to remove the irrelevant ones (for instance, your college jobs as a cashier or photographer) or omit the descriptions for your early roles. Your accounting resume is a marketing document, not a track record of your career. So, feel free to omit any outdated and less important information.
5. Make it an eye candy
Be careful when choosing a bright design for your accounting assistant resume. This industry favors traditional resume formatting and design. Yet, it’s acceptable to use a bit of deep blue or green color to highlight the key information. Use shorter sentences for better readability and leave white space between sections to help the reader easily find the important information. Format consistently – use the same font and formatting type top to bottom.
6. Edit and proofread
Meticulous attention to detail is a must for any accountant professional. And when you submit a resume with typos and grammar issues, you make the hiring manager doubt that you have these qualities and will make a successful employee. So, be sure to check your resume several times before you hit ‘Apply’. Use an online spell checker such as Grammarly.com or Online-spellcheck.com. Then, read it aloud to make sure that every sentence makes perfect sense and sounds exactly as you planned.
Sample accounting assistant resume
It’s best to learn from an example, right? Here’s the sample of a strong accounting assistant resume:
As you see, this is a resume of an experienced candidate. Her career profile makes it clear what kind of regulations and accounting software she is proficient with. She also highlights the accomplishments (the development of cross-check functionality to pick up on manual data entry errors, decreasing error rates by 22%) above the job duties. Skills are listed in a separate column and are easy to skim through.
Bonus: How to get promoted?
Been in an assistant position for a while and would like to move through the ranks? Here’s how to receive a desired promotion faster:
➤ Draw the desired career path – there are lots of possible career directions in finance and accounting. So, before asking for a promotion, define where you’d like to move in your career. Would you like to do the cost accounting, tax accounting, business analysis or would like to make it to CEO one day? Determine your goals before you move any further.
➤ Get certified – promotions don’t happen out of the blue. You need to prove your value to the company, for example, by accelerating the closing process, or training new accounting assistants. Another scenario is taking training in accounting and finance or obtaining a prestigious certification (such as CPA, CIA, or CPP).
➤ Make your goals clear for the boss – having ambitious career goals is great, but your supervisor should be aware of them as well. Tell your boss that you’d like a promotion and which steps you should take. Managers prefer retaining talented and enthusiastic employees, so they are likely to hive hands-on advice.
➤ Get away from ‘just an assistant’ mindset – if you want an advancement, work on your self-esteem as well. Don’t be afraid to speak up during meetings, draw attention to your successes and contribution, and take an initiative to work on a new project or recommend a solution for an issue.
Not sure that your resume is up to scratch?
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