Accounting Effective CV’s in 3 Steps

1. Targeted CV’s

Your CV should be targeted or tailored to each job you apply for. The objective is to match employers’ expectations, which vary from one job to another, as closely as possible. “A CV is a sales tool,” insists Renée Belleville, hiring manager for Accountemps, and a specialist in temporary recruiting for accounting jobs. “You will make a better impression if you include what the recruiter wants to see.”

To this end, develop a basic CV and target it to each job. Three sections are particular easy to tailor: the objective, the presentation paragraph (“Profile”) and individual job details.


1. Requirements of the position:

Several years of accounting experience in the area of new technologies; Familiarity with computers; Familiarity with SAP; Detail-oriented; Thorough; Team player.

Targeted CV:

Objective     To find an accounting assistant job in the telecom field
  •   8 years’ accounting experience in the area of new technologies
  •   Maintained complete records to balance
  •   Proficiency in computerized bookkeeping systems, including SAP
  •   Detail-oriented, good interpersonal skills

2. Requirements of the position:

The perfect candidate has 5 to 7 years’ experience in general accounting, preferably working for a small company; A DEC is required; Ability to meet deadlines; Fluent in French and English.

Targeted CV:

Objective      To find a versatile accounting assistant job
  •   8 years’ general accounting experience
  •   Maintained complete records to balance
  •   DEC in accounting
  •   Proficiency in manual and computerized bookkeeping systems
  •   Thorough, responsible
  •   Bilingual

Note the importance of properly decoding the job ad in order to draft a relevant reply.

And don’t worry, targeting does not mean lying! It simply involves emphasizing relevant points, not dreaming some up. Lies will always return to haunt you.

2. Clear, Professional CVs

Your CV should catch the eye and be easy to read. It must be as clear as possible so that the essential points stand out.

Pay attention to the visual aspects:

  • Margins: 2 cm minimum
  • Font size: at least 10 points
  • Well-spaced out and consistent
  • Heading titles: in bold and larger than the subtitles
  • CV headings: clearly identified with lines, boxes or underscores
  • Highlighting a term: underlined or in italics
  • Maximum of 3 pages

In terms of formulation, use short expressions and get rid of all useless words. Avoid wordy, flowery writing:

  • Use bullet lists instead of complete sentences: “Portfolio management for 800 clients” instead of “I managed a portfolio of 800 clients.”
  • Have no more than one idea per sentence.
  • Try to use strong action verbs: “implement,” “prepare,” “participate,” “develop,” “follow up,” “present,” etc.
  • Use technical terms: “bank reconciliation,” “journals,” “treasury,” “balance,” “reconcile,” etc.
  • Clearly specify the relevant dates.
  • Give your CV a title, right under your name: “Versatile accounting assistant,” “Payroll specialist clerk,” “Accounts payable supervisor,” etc.
  • Leave out unnecessary details: non-relevant software, student work experience if you already have other accounting experience, unrelated jobs, etc.

3. Organized CVs

Your CV must have a common thread. The recruiter has to be able to understand your career path.

We suggest having 7 sections:

1. Contact information

Name, address, telephone number, e-mail address.

Do not include any personal information such as a picture of yourself, your age or your civil status.

2. Objective

The objective describes, in one sentence, the type of job you’re looking for.

Objective To find a payroll supervisor position in a multinational company.

3. Profile

This part can also be called “Areas of expertise” or “Presentation.”

Present yourself—your main skills and experiences—in one paragraph. You can include your education, language or software skills, as you see fit.

  •   5 years’ payroll supervisory experience
  •   Managed a team of 10 clerks and assistants
  •   Excellent proficiency in payroll systems
  •   Independent, diplomatic and responsible
  •   Bilingual

4. Professional experience

The jobs should be listed chronologically, from the most recent to the oldest.

The first line should specify the dates, job title and company name.

Professional experience 2001–2006                Payroll supervisor              Company XXX, ON

A list of your duties and achievements follows. The most recent experience should be the most detailed.


  •   Supervised 10 payroll department clerks
  •   Controlled compliance with payroll practices and policies
  •   Monitored compliance with payroll-related laws and regulations
  •   Maintained data in PeopleSoft system
  •   Reconciled and finalized payroll
  •   Executed, analyzed and distributed payroll reports and slips
  •   Reconciled payroll registers to the general ledger
  •   Prepared and issued income tax forms and government reports
  •   Coordinated the implementation of new versions of the      computerized payroll systems
  •   Made recommendations to improve the efficiency of the payroll    department
  •  Supported internal clients and the human resources department

5. Education

List your education, from the most recent to the oldest. Only mention relevant degrees.

As required, add a “Professional training” or “Refresher training” subsection to showcase the courses you have taken during your career.

Education 1998      College diploma in accounting

Accounting Institute of Toronto, ON

6. Language and computer skills

Language and computer skills
  •   Bilingual (English and French)
  •   Payroll software: PeopleSoft, ADP, Ceridian
  •   Accounting software: Simply Accounting, Quick Books Pro2005,    Fortune 1000 Acomba, Accpac, UFile
  •   Office Pack

If the job requires specific computer or language skills, list them in the “Profile” section.

7. Other

List your hobbies and leisure activities.

Other 2003–2006
Treasurer of athletic club for the town of Gracefield, ON

This part is not crucial, states Renée Belleville, Accountemps hiring manager and accounting recruiting specialist. She recommends including it only if you think that it truly reflects your personality or if it showcases your professional skills.


  • Always run a spell check.
  • Have a family member or friend proofread your CV to make sure it has the desired impact.