Creating an Entry-Level Accountant Resume: Tips, Template and Example
Getting a good entry-level job as an accountant first requires an excellent resume that showcases your aptitude for finance and accounting. Whether you're applying to your first job out of college or you have a year or two of experience and are seeking a new environment where you can develop your career, having an accounting-focused resume is essential. You can thoughtfully prepare your resume to get the most out of your entry-level qualifications and identify yourself as a top candidate for open accounting roles.
In this article, we explain what a resume for entry-level accountants should include and provide advice for making your resume appeal to hiring managers at accounting firms and departments.
What is an entry-level accountant resume?
An entry-level accountant resume is a document that aspiring accounting professionals can use to apply for their first jobs in the field. It is a summary of your experience and knowledge related to accounting, finance and bookkeeping. When looking for an entry-level accounting job, you may not have much experience, so your resume might mainly focus on relevant skills, education and certifications.
Entry-level accountants are often recent college graduates who want to apply their education to a full-time accounting job. Some beginning accountants with only a few years of experience may also be interested in using an entry-level resume to apply for a new position or company. Because each state has different work experience requirements you have to meet before you can become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), some entry-level accounting jobs could still require up to five years of experience.
How to write an entry-level accountant resume
When preparing a resume to apply for an entry-level accountant position, it's important to be prepared and have an idea of how you want to organize the relevant information. To make sure that you appropriately target your accounting skills and experience, use these steps to guide your resume writing process:
1. Start with a header
At the top of the page, include a header that has your first and last name in a large font. If you're a CPA, you can include this title in your header, but most entry-level accountants will not yet have this designation.
On the following lines, list your address, phone number and email in a smaller font. This is standard for any type of resume so employers can quickly identify your application materials and reach out to schedule an interview. If you're a recent graduate, make sure you have a professional email that isn't connected to your university to guarantee that you'll be able to access communications from employers.
2. Introduce yourself with an objective
The first section on your entry-level accounting resume should be a summary or objective statement that explains why you're the ideal candidate for an opening as a beginner accountant. Including an objective is especially important for entry-level roles because it highlights your potential despite minimal hands-on experience as a professional accountant. The objective statement should include the type of accounting job you're looking for and the name of the employer as part of a description of your ideal position. Here are a few examples of objective statements for entry-level accountants:
Recent college graduate seeking introductory accounting role at Johnson & Meyer LLP. Interested in utilizing a background in corporate accounting and experience managing large budgets to optimize client financial practices.
Detail-oriented and methodical bookkeeping professional with a degree in accounting looking for an entry-level opportunity at Kessel Solutions. Seeking to apply extensive financial literacy to help achieve company deadlines and provide accurate services to clients.
Strategic, motivated accounting graduate with internship experience at banking institutions seeking a role as an accountant at Boost Taxes & Accounting to assist with flawless secure account management.
3. Emphasize your education
As an entry-level accountant, you should put special emphasis on your education. Most states require at least 150 hours of accounting-related course credits to eventually become a CPA, and some employers will hire entry-level accountants with the expectation that they seek certification once they earn enough field experience. Describing your coursework can assure potential employers that you have growth potential at their firm.
Discussing your accounting education can convince employers that you have the technical knowledge of accounting procedures to easily integrate into their work environment. In addition to details about your GPA, where you went to school and when you graduated, include information about key courses and relevant extracurriculars.
4. Highlight relevant skills
Accounting is a field that heavily relies on technical skills, and entry-level accountants can attract an employer's interest by listing them prominently on your resume. Even without work experience, most aspiring accountants will have gained many of the necessary skills through their education. Examples of skills that you can list at the beginning of your accounting resume include:
Accounts payable and receivable
You can also list your proficiency with accounting tools and software, like QuickBooks and Xero.
5. Focus on the impact of your experience
Next, include an experience section where you'll describe your contributions and responsibilities during jobs, internships, projects and volunteer opportunities. Entry-level accountants may only have one or two entries in this section, which is appropriate for beginning positions in accounting. You can use any roles or experiences related to finance, office work, accounting, bookkeeping and related fields as examples of professional experience.
Note the name of the organization you participated in, when you were active and what title you held. Then, use bullet points to discuss your key duties and how your actions contributed to company goals. One example of a well-phrased experience bullet point for an entry-level accountant is:
Managed ledger and payroll for a small business of 10 employees to ensure accurate account balances and establish an accurate transaction history.
Tips for creating an effective entry-level accountant resume
After developing quality content for your entry-level accountant resume, there are several strategies you can implement to improve and optimize your resume and appeal to potential employers. Try using these tips to leave a great first impression when applying for entry-level accounting jobs:
Select a clean format
Accounting is a highly practical field and hiring managers will appreciate the simplicity of an organized but basic resume. Basic resume formatting is also easier for applicant tracking systems to parse through and read, which will make it easier for employers to find your resume.
When formatting your resume, use basic spacing, margins and design elements. Avoid colorful graphics, charts and other unconventional features that you might include for a resume in a more creative field. Choose a clear, readable font and keep it consistent across all parts of your resume. If you decide to use a distinct font for your section headers, opt for another basic font with a bolder typeface.
As you edit your resume, incorporating accounting keywords that employers might search for when trying to hire an entry-level accountant. Recruiters search for specific keywords on job sites and databases to find the best applicants for each position. Resume keywords can include accounting job titles, skills, characteristics, accounting tools and more. You can add resume keywords anywhere in your resume that makes sense to you and flows with your existing content.
To find the best keywords for your entry-level accounting job, review the job posting and mimic their vocabulary choices. Here are some general accounting keywords to consider adding to your resume:
Profit and loss analysis
Include facts and figures
Including statistics and numbers in your resume not only helps describe your experience to potential employers, it demonstrates that you have a mathematical, analytical mindset that's ideal for an entry-level accounting role. If you increased productivity by a 10%, managed a $100,000 budget or processed 1,000 transactions a week, share that information in your experience section. Facts and figures validate your experience, especially in technical fields like accounting.
Proofread your work
Before sending your resume off to employers, proofread your work. Look for spelling errors, formatting problems, inconsistent verb tenses, misplaced punctuation and awkward phrasing. Additionally, if you're applying to multiple accounting positions, make sure you have the correct job title and company name in your objective. Consider asking a trusted friend or colleague to review your resume to ensure that you're submitting the highest quality resume possible.
Entry-level accountant resume template
Here is a basic template for entry-level accounting resumes that you can use to structure your application:
[First name Last name]
[Summary of the position you want and why you'd be a good fit].
[College name] [Graduation year]
[Type of degree] in [Major]
[Minor if applicable]
[Clubs and memberships]
[Awards or projects]
[List of accounting skills earned from your education or work experience]
[Title], [Start date] - [End date]
[Description of key responsibilities]
Entry-level accountant resume example
While developing your resume, look at other resumes from entry-level accountants to get an idea of what to include and how to talk about your qualifications. This example uses the above template to display beginner accounting experience targeted at entry-level positions:
1165 Parliament Ave
Princeton, WV 24740
Hardworking, analytical accounting graduate with experience in corporate finance seeking entry-level accountant role at James & Johnson to assist with complex account reconciliations.*
West Virginia University '19
Bachelor of Science in Accounting*
Minor in Finance
Member of WVU Accounting Society
Related courses: Advanced Managerial Accounting, Corporate Income Tax, Payroll and Business Accounting
Senior capstone project on corporate refinancing and debt consolidation practices
Accounting and payroll software
Confidentiality and information security
Expert mathematics and data analysis
Corporate budgeting and transaction controls
Bookkeeping and organization
Corporate Finance and Accounting Intern, August 2018 - June 2019*
Organized corporate account ledgers to facilitate efficient documentation practices for a team of 50 employees.
Reconciled account differences in client records to achieve 100% accuracy ratings.
Tested system updates to protect client data integrity and identify auditing issues.
Prepared journal entries for 200 unique accounts, compartmentalizing information and recalling relevant details to improve client satisfaction and uphold consistent bookkeeping practices.
Coordinated software updates and installation, facilitating interdepartmental communication and documentation.
IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program
Tax Volunteer, January 2017 - May 2019
Screened taxpayers to identify the necessary level of support, performing 20+ intake assessments per shift.
Organized schedules for 15 tax volunteers and accountants to ensure quick and efficient service for community members.
Reviewed tax returns for accuracy to identify errors and mistyped information before submission to the IRS.
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