Public Accountants, have you included these three things on your resume?

April 4, 2018

So you have made your decision to leave public accounting and transition into industry after busy season. How can you set yourself apart on paper as you prepare to compete with your peers?

So you’ve just spent the “best years of your life” laying the foundation for your career as a public accountant and you have decided it’s time to take the next natural step into industry. First task, update your resume. You haven’t had to prepare a resume since college and needless to say, it feels as though the past four years of your life are a blur of C-Corp tax returns or financial statements and audit notes (depending where you focused your efforts). What more is there to say?
As busy season draws to a close, hundreds of your peers are hitting the job market and will begin competing for the same job opportunities that you are. Most have very similar experiences:

  • Planned and prepared tax returns for individuals, corporations, partnerships, and non-profit clients
  • Supervised and performed audits, reviews, compilations, and agreed-upon procedure engagements
  • Prepared financial statements in accordance with US GAAP
  • Reviewed internal controls and assisted with implementation of upgraded controls

So what makes you special and how do you set yourself apart? In the world of recruitment, an employer or hiring manager’s assessment of your experience extends beyond technical responsibilities. Here are the three most important aspects of developing your resume as a soon-to-be former public accountant. They will improve your chances of landing an interview during your upcoming search.

1. Client Experience: Industry & Company Size

Outline the industries and the sizes of companies you have worked with as a public accountant. When hiring managers and employers look at an applicant’s resume, they oftentimes are seeking to understand whether or not you have past experience working in a similar environment. For example, an Accounting Manager at a large Fortune 500 manufacturing company is going to seek out individuals who have previous experience working with large manufacturing organizations. Why? Individuals who have worked in a similar environment will come prepared to understand management reporting structures and accounting regulation specific to the manufacturing industry. Alternatively, a Controller for a lean start-up is going to look for job seekers who have similar experience working with smaller clients because they will understand the need to “wear multiple hats.”
Example Resume Responsibility:

  • Direct experience preparing the 10-K’s and 10-Q’s for manufacturing, pharmaceutical and healthcare clients averaging gross revenues of $50 million to $800 million.

2. Qualitative & Quantitative Accomplishments

How did you help your clients improve? As public accountants you are by trade ‘financial consultants.’ Companies employ your firm to assess the integrity of their books and financials. The best way to demonstrate your expertise is to outline both quantifiable OR qualitative returns realized during previous client engagements.
Example Resume Responsibility:

  • Qualitative: Developed and implemented an eight week operational improvement plan to address inefficient audit documentation processes for Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company through weekly employee education and communications.
  • Quantitative: Uncovered over $20 million in audit adjustments for a middle market healthcare medical device client.

3. ERP & Financial Systems Experience

Do you have direct or indirect experience working with specific ERP’s or Financial Systems? Although developing financial systems experience as a public accountant is rare, it can happen and it is an extremely beneficial sell when looking for your next job. Even if you did not directly work within a client’s financial system, public accountants are commonly asked by their clients to review reports generated by common financial systems. This means you do have indirect experience working with the software! Include it on your resume.
Example Resume Responsibility:

  • Leveraged Oracle Hyperion Financial Close Management’s Reconciliations Management module to identify potential compliance risks associated with a $500M manufacturing company’s balance sheet.
  • Reviewed routine financial statements generated by Oracle Hyperion on a month to month basis for VC-backed tech start-up.

Common Accounting and ERP Systems: Oracle, SAP, NetSuite (now Oracle NetSuite), Hyperion Financial Management, Hyperion Essbase, Quickbooks, Peachtree

Are you looking for additional ways to improve your job search as you prepare to explore opportunities outside of public accounting? Check out 8 10-Minute To-Do’s to Prepare Public Accountants for a Job Search During Busy Season for more tips from our St. Louis affiliate, Burchard & Associates.
We hope you have enjoyed the latest Pinnacle blog! For more hiring and career advice, visit If you have questions or would like to learn more regarding our accounting and finance recruiting services, please contact us at

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