How to Write a Financial Accountant CV
The financial accountant's CV must communicate a broad range of knowledge, as well as the individual attributes required to undertake analysis and draw conclusions from financial data. It must highlight considerable knowledge of corporate finance and the accounting function and its processes.
Management or assistant management experience at departmental level is usually required and needs to be conveyed in your CV. The advantage to the organisation in appointing you must be immediately obvious, with the possibility of short-term improvements as well as longer term growth being evident.
If you would like some help in preparing your financial accountant CV, then you might consider our CV writing services. Bradley CVs has considerable experience in writing accounting CVs at all levels.
A financial accountant frequently works for financial institutions, assessing the health of a company in order to inform investment decisions. They prepare financial statements based on general ledgers with the aim of contributing to financial decision-making and increasing profitability. You need to get this experience across in your Financial Accountant CV, so that when you are applying for accountancy jobs, employers can see you as the right person for the job.
If you work within a corporate group, you may compare income and expenses to the budgeted figures, undertake balance sheet analysis, and complete research into causes behind variations. The decisions contributed to may involve mergers and acquisitions, compensation and benefits planning, and long term financial projections. Again this experience must be listed on your CV.
Typically, a financial accountant is highly familiar with certain industries and is employed to analyse certain companies operating within those industries. Be clear about your capabilities and sector experience on your CV.
What Might You Include on a Financial Accountant's CV?
This role varies in line with the financial accountant's area of speciality. The financial accountant may decide upon a speciality in a particular area of accounting, such as internal auditing, government accounting, public accounting or management, but within those areas they undertake the same tasks in support of investment decision makers:
- Setting and monitoring budgets.
- Developing financial plans.
- Controlling working capital by managing debtors, creditors and investments.
- Advising on strategic direction.
- Supplying data to assist with daily financial decisions.
- Advising the board of directors.
In the UK, financial accountants are usually fully qualified with the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants), or ACA (Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants).
If not already qualified, financial accountants are usually working towards certification. It's very important to include all relevant qualifications on your CV.
Characteristics You Must Demonstrate on Your CV
The Financial Accountant's CV needs to demonstrate the analytical capability required to inform directors' or managers' investment actions and decisions. This means a proactive personality is required. The applicant therefore needs to demonstrate and provide evidence of some or all of the following accounting knowledge and skills, plus relevant experience in the following:
- Meticulous accounting skills and knowledge of procedures and accounting practices, with awareness of updates.
- Techniques for the development of financial policy and procedure.
- Techniques for improving processes.
- IT and automated systems for financial reporting and accounting.
- The UK's accounting laws and regulations, plus legislative language.
Personal and professional attributes on a Financial Accountant CV must display:
- A positive and constructive outlook with the ability to analyse and evaluate data and make recommendations regards financial decisions.
- Ability to establish and maintain sound working relationships with managers and departmental staff, as well as government agencies and external professionals.
- Sound financial judgement, being innovative while avoiding unnecessary risk.
- Confidence in liaising with regulatory representatives and professionals in external organisations.
- Ability to discuss financial issues with both fellow professionals and those with little or no financial background.
- Ability to utilise excellent written and verbal communication skills for the preparation of and delivery of reports and analyses.
- High level of integrity, being trustworthy and respectful of confidential information.
- Resourcefulness and ability to work alone, but fully able to provide input to executive team decision making processes while supervising departmental staff.
Employers' Concerns on a Financial Accountant CV
Naturally, the employer wishes to make the appointment with most chance of success when appointing for accounting jobs. This means minimising risk, while giving the post to someone with the composure to address financial investment issues and make informed recommendations with confidence. The employer's concerns on a Financial Accountant CV are:
- Can this financial accountant contribute to a successful financial strategy development?
- Can they assist in building the organisation by establishing best practice accounting processes?
- How soon will they make a difference and will this contribution continue in the form of future growth?
- Is this person totally dependable, being an innovative thinker but a thorough accountant?
All of these questions can be addressed in your Financial Accountant CV and you should ensure that they are. They must be substantiated with evidence of your performance to date, adding weight to the employer's belief that your work will help the organisation move forward.
You have to sell yourself to the employer, showing them that you are the most capable candidate. To do this to greatest effect, you must tailor your CV to each job you apply for by researching and understanding the organisation's objectives.
Create Initial Impact with Your Profile
It is frequently said that you only have 30 seconds within which to impress an employer before they add your CV to the reject pile.
Sited at the top of your Financial Accountant's CV, the Profile is your opportunity to do this, through a high impact statement that encourages the employer to read the rest of your CV.
Your Profile must highlight your best experience, strengths and attributes. Always make these totally relevant to the job vacancy, which will entice the employer to read your Financial Accountant CV and make them want to interview you.
In this type of accounting, the strengths that are required are frequently common to many positions: accounting processes, financial planning and strategy development, and understanding investment performance.
However, what also matters to the employer is how you will fit in within their organisation. This means they want to know the number of years of accounting experience you have, the kind of organisations you have worked for, and is your previous accounting experience similar to the advertised job vacancy in terms of the size, turnover, departmental scale, etc.?
These questions can help you answer what information needs to be included, briefly, in your Financial Accountant CV Profile.
For example a CV writer at Bradley CVs might write: "Financial Accountant with 12 years' experience of overseeing multiple mergers and acquisitions. Hands-on, CIMA-certified manager with expertise in accounting systems development, portfolio investment and joint venture accounts."
You may also highlight 3 or 4 key strengths, skills or personal attributes, focussing on the most important things that meet an employer's needs information about the vacancy.
You may need to rewrite your Profile for each separate vacancy, so it closely matches the differing priorities of each employer.
Present Your Case with Powerful Achievements
Now that the employer's attention has been caught by your Profile, it's time to add even more impact with a string of impressive achievements. Packed with compelling data, your achievements provides quantitative evidence of your previous experience by showing, in measurable terms, how you contributed to business success.
In its position in the top half of the first page of your Financial Accountant CV, it is your second chance to really hook in the employer before they add you to the 'reject' or 'maybe' pile.
Achievements paint you in an enormously positive light and must differentiate your CV from all the other CVs an employer receives. Proven achievements that closely match the job vacancy will actually inspire and motivate the employer, as they will be able to quickly imagine what you can do for them too.
You can create high impact achievements on your Financial Accountant CV by asking yourself: what did I do? (not what was written on my job description), what did that involve, and what positive outcomes did my actions have?
You can think of this in terms of Situation, Action and Results (SAR). You also need to quantify your results - numerical data enables an employer to build up a picture of what you did and how important your results were. For example:
- Increased cash flow by £15 million by optimising credit analysis function, reducing outstanding receivables from 60 to 30 days, and minimising risk from marginal customers.
- Changed profile of finance to match new industry requirements, reducing finance cost by 25% and increasing profitability by 50%.
- Instrumental in revenue and income growth of 63% over an 18-month period, through both organic growth and acquisitions.
- Participated in a task force charged with improving accounting processes resulting in overall savings of $8,000 per year.
- Formulated a strategic plan for sale of group assets during liquidation of BMC Plc, achieving a total sale price of $236 million, 10% higher than forecast.
You should include between 3 and 6 first-class achievements on your Financial Accountant CV, which should match the employer's requirements as closely as you can. The Achievements section in tandem with the Profile, can really make your application stand out.
Other candidates may have very similar qualifications / experience, but your own achievements will be unique to you, and when they've been written properly, can tell an employer that they must invite you for an interview.
Career History on Your Financial Accountant CV
The employer's attention is now well and truly caught. It's time to give them a more structured view of your employment history. Below, is a checklist of the main information that you need to include on your Financial Accountant CV within the Career History.
- Name of the employer and your job title (e.g. Financial Accountant).
- Your main responsibilities, presented as bullet points.
- Particulars of the major projects you worked on, which could include take-overs, mergers or acquisitions, etc.
- Full details of new processes, procedures, practices and systems,.
Rather than being a synopsis of your previous job descriptions, your Career History is another opportunity to list your achievements on your Financial Accountant CV. It is now widely recognised that a list of duties and responsibilities, while important, makes a dull and boring read, doing little to sell your real strengths. These lists describe jobs, not the post-holders.
So, the trick in your Career History is to cover your responsibilities in each job, but also to cover as much as possible about your skills, abilities and achievements. You need to clearly communicate this information in an engaging manner that will convince an employer that you have a lot to offer them. For example:
- Compiled and distributed weekly reports to all six vice-presidents, conveying accurate data and financial reports.
- Remodelled European flow of trade and capital to accurately forecast multi-year exchange and interest rate movements.
Ensure that your points are specific, as this will help ensure that the employer trusts what you are describing. Always be positive - even if describing a negative situation or a challenge, you can turn this into details of your positive response. In this way, even the most difficult challenges you have faced at work, which may have seemed insurmountable at the time, can be presented as achievements.
Use action words to add clout and make your Financial Accountant CV sound more interesting, which will also tell the employer what type of person you are.
For example: administered, allocated, appraised, assessed, balanced, budgeted, measured, planned, and programmed'.
Including keywords can also be very important, especially when employers are using scanning software on incoming CVs. These keywords may be listed in the job advert, job description or person specification.
You may therefore want to use the important words and phrases from each specific job vacancy. This can mean the difference between you being shortlisted or not. But, don't inject too many keywords and don't ruin the flow of information in your CV.
Reinforce with Solid Skills
To reinforce the impression of your expertise, a list of technical skills is worth including on your Financial Accountant CV. You can include specialist accounting software such as Magnitude, Business Objects and Sun Ledger. State the level of your expertise: e.g. expert or advanced.
Include the normal desktop skills, e.g. Microsoft Windows, Word, Excel, Outlook, etc. Again specifying whether you are at an advanced or expert level.
Qualifications and Training on a Financial Accountant's CV
Your most important qualification in relation to this vacancy must be listed first on your Financial Accountant CV. In most cases, this is going to be your accountancy certification. List this first, whichever of the six main professional accountancy bodies you are qualified with: ACCA, ICAEW, ICAS or ICAI, which deal primarily with private practice, or CIMA and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance Accountants (CIPFA).
Provide the dates of your certification. If you are partly qualified include the start dates of your study and state that it is ongoing.
As a Financial Accountant, you are likely to have a Bachelor's or Master's degree in Accounting or Business Management. Inclusion of your degree results backs up the impression that you will be able to apply your knowledge to the demands of the job. You may list the education institution's name, the degree title, result, and completion date.
Include any relevant vocational training that you completed on your Financial Accountant CV, listing the name of the organisation who trained you and training dates.
Also list next any degrees other than accounting, such as business management or economics. Also list any other qualification from further education colleges, etc.
Present Yourself Professionally
As a financial accountant, it is vital that the employers feel absolute confidence in you. How you finish and present your Financial Accountant CV will reflect considerably on your standards of accuracy and attention to detail. With the data you compile likely to influence executive decisions, it is critical that the employer trusts your ability to get it right.
Spelling mistakes will destroy your chances. Whether you are personally good at spelling or not is besides the point - it is how you respond to that weakness that is important. It's vital that you check and double check your Financial Accountant CV for errors, using the spellchecker, your own eye (print a copy out) and a friend's second opinion. Otherwise, your standards will be judged on the presence of spelling errors.
The layout of your CV should be extremely clear, so that it is easy to read, being well laid out and presented. It should look like a strong selling document and you should write in an extremely confident and professional manner. Make sure you come across as highly motivated and a logical thinker.
Use positive and unambiguous language, ensuring that you clearly add impact to each point you make. Each word must support your CV and you must come across as the ideal candidate for the job you are applying for, telling the employer how you can add to the existing job, without posing a risk to the employer.
Finally, you might consider adding some personal details in the form of interests to your Financial Accountant CV. Be careful to only include interests that are usually looked on favourably. It is hard to go wrong with team sports and community interests.
These will help to convince the employer that you are a well balanced individual who is not just a 'numbers person', but who takes a rounded viewpoint, can integrate well with their workforce in general and makes a positive contribution on a cultural level.
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