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CPA Resume Examples & Templates for 2024

A Certified Public Accountant, or CPA, conducts audits and creates financial reports. This article will show you how to write a CPA resume with examples and tips.

Maria Correa Profile
By Maria Correa 5 minute read

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Four keys to a top CPA resume

Make sure your merchandiser resume hits all the right notes following these tips:

1

Tailor your resume to fit the job posting.

We know searching for a job is time-consuming and sometimes you just want to submit the same resume for every job application, but I highly advise you not to do that. By taking a few minutes to tailor your resume with keywords from the job description — such as skills and requirements mentioned — you increase your chances of making it through applicant tracking systems. Most employers use ATS to filter resumes based on their relevance to the job opening, so make yours as relevant as possible.

2

Show you can get results.

Instead of highlighting mundane tasks, impress hiring managers with accomplishments and examples of projects you have worked on. Did you conduct primary and secondary reviews of complex income tax? Were you able to efficiently reduce an audit cycle time? Most hiring managers understand what a CPA does, so give examples of what makes you exceptional.

3

Highlight important soft skills as well as hard skills.

A good CPA resume will have a well-balanced list of hard and soft skills. Hard skills like accounting and financial reporting, auditing and tax preparation are important to perform the job, but soft skills such as analytical thinking, attention to detail and excellent time management are also crucial.

4

Quantify your achievements.

As a CPA, you know that sometimes numbers speak louder than words. Instead of saying you can ensure financial accuracy, write, “Implemented rigorous financial controls, resulting in a 99.5% accuracy rate in financial reporting.” Or, instead of saying you conducted audits, you can write something like, “Conducted 20+ audits annually with a focus on efficiency, reducing audit cycle time by 20%.”

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Action words for a compelling CPA resume

Action words make your resume more dynamic and your statements more impactful. Where starting a phrase with “I was responsible for…” can feel lackluster and unprofessional, an action verb will turn that statement into an impressive accomplishment or responsibility.

  • Auditing
  • Financial analysis
  • Budgeting and forecasting
  • Risk management
  • Great communication skills
  • Analytical thinking
  • Leadership skills
  • Taxation
  • Data analysis
  • Ethical decision making
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Collaboration
  • Client relationship management
  • Adaptability

 

For a more detailed list, check our action words article.

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Choose the right format for your resume

Choose from these three resume formats to organize your resume:

  • The chronological resume format, also known as the reverse-chronological resume, is the most common. It emphasizes employment history and career progression, so it’s best for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) with more than nine years of experience.
  • The functional resume format, or skills-based resume, is better suited for CPAs looking for their first job. It focuses on skills and training, emphasizing what you know how to do instead of your lack of experience.
  • The combination resume format, also known as the hybrid resume format, gives equal focus to your work history and skills. This balance makes it a great option for mid-level professionals with three to eight years of experience.
Pro tip:Check our resume formats page to learn more about them. You can also let our Resume Builder guide you through your resume creation.

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14 key skills for your CPA resume

The specific hard skills and soft skills to feature on your resume will depend on the CPA job, industry and requirements. That being said, here are some relevant skills you might want to consider including in your public accountant resume:

  • Auditing
  • Financial analysis
  • Budgeting and forecasting
  • Risk management
  • Great communication skills
  • Analytical thinking
  • Leadership skills
  • Taxation
  • Data analysis
  • Ethical decision making
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Collaboration
  • Client relationship management
  • Adaptability
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How to write a CPA resume

Contact information

The header goes to the very top of your resume and contains your contact information. It typically includes your name and professional links, such as your LinkedIn profile. This section tells hiring managers who you are and creates a great introduction to your information.

Resume summary or objective

Next, you’ll write the resume summary or resume objective.

A resume summary is a two-to-three-sentence overview of your strengths and qualifications. It’s ideal for people who have been CPAs for more than two years. Here’s what a professional CPA resume summary should look like:

Results-driven certified public accountant with over 10 years of experience in financial management and auditing. Proven track record of ensuring accuracy and compliance in financial reporting. Proficient in GAAP and IFRS and successfully leading cross-functional teams in implementing streamlined accounting processes, resulting in cost savings and improved operational efficiency. Strategic thinker with excellent analytical skills.

Unlike the summary, a resume objective is best for people with less than two years of experience. While it also talks about strengths, its goal is for you to explain your career goals and desires for employment briefly. For example:

Motivated and detail-oriented CPA candidate with a strong academic background in accounting and a recent internship in an auditing firm. Eager to leverage my theoretical knowledge and practical experience to contribute to a dynamic finance team. Seeking a challenging entry-level position where I can apply my analytical skills, dedication to accuracy and passion for financial integrity to support organizational goals while continuing to grow as a finance professional.

Skills

A CPA, by definition, needs a lot of skills. Some of these are skills that you’ll learn through the process of becoming a CPA, while some will be skills you’ll learn through years of experience. Most CPA resume examples will include 8-10 of these bullet points:

  • Audits
  • Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
  • General accounting and bookkeeping
  • Financial reporting
  • Accounting software (QuickBooks, Microsoft Office Excel)
  • Accounts payable and accounts receivable
  • Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP)
  • Account reconciliation
  • Financial management
  • General ledger skills
  • Ability to read financial statements
  • Financial records
  • Filing and understanding tax returns
  • Regulatory principles
  • Communication skills

Both hard skills and soft skills are important to succeed as a CPA. General accounting skills and interpersonal skills play into whether a recruiter wants to hire you, so you need to list a well-balanced mix of skills to show you’re a well-rounded professional.

Work history

Next is your work experience section. This is where you list up to 10 years of your work experience unless the job description asks you to include a more detailed career timeline. For each job title, you should include three to five bullet points with metrics when possible, achievements and important responsibilities.

Make sure the jobs listed are relevant to the job posting, even if they weren’t exclusively CPA jobs. For example, experience as a staff accountant or tax accountant can be considered relevant experience.

Senior Accountant | XYZ Corporation, Miami, FL | July 2021- Current:

  • Spearhead the transition to a new accounting software, resulting in a 25% reduction in month-end closing time.
  • Conduct comprehensive financial analysis, leading to the identification of cost-saving opportunities contributing to a 15% reduction in annual expenses.
  • Manage a team of three junior accountants, providing guidance and training that resulted in a 20% increase in team productivity.
  • Successfully lead the implementation of internal controls, ensuring compliance with industry regulations and reducing the risk of financial discrepancies by 30%.
  • Develop and maintain financial models for forecasting and budgeting, improving accuracy and achieving a 98% forecast accuracy rate.

Staff Accountant | ABC Accounting Firm, Miami, FL | Sep. 2018 – June 2021:

  • Audited 20+ client financial statements annually, maintaining a 95% accuracy rate and ensuring adherence to GAAP standards.
  • Implemented process improvements that reduced the time required for audit procedures by 15%, improving overall audit efficiency.
  • Prepared and filed quarterly and annual tax returns for clients, resulting in a 100% on-time submission rate and minimizing the risk of penalties.
  • Conducted financial statement reviews, identifying and rectifying discrepancies that improved client financial accuracy by 20%.
  • Collaborated with cross-functional teams to streamline the client onboarding process, reducing onboarding time by 25%.

Education

To become a certified public accountant, you typically need to complete a bachelor’s degree, pass the CPA exam and then work under the supervision of a licensed CPA for two years. Some states even require candidates to pass an ethics exam, such as the AICPA Professional Ethics Exam, to ensure an understanding of ethical and professional conduct.

Depending on where you are in your career, you might not need to list relevant coursework in your education section but do include your certifications. For example:

Bachelor of Science in Accounting
University Name, City, State
Month Year – Month Year (e.g., September 2015 – May 2019)

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Exam
Month Year – Month Year (e.g., June 2019 – August 2020)

Professional Ethics Exam
Month Year (e.g., October 2020)

 

Pro tip:If you have multiple certifications relevant to your career, consider creating a separate section to list them.

For more resume-writing tips, check our How to Make a Resume article.

Do’s and don’ts for a CPA resume

check sign Do:
  • Proofread your CPA resume before submitting it to the job application. A grammatical mistake or typo might set you back, even if you have excellent skills and qualifications.
  • Look at resume samples before you write your resume. Our CPA resume examples allow you to see what these resumes typically look like.
  • Discuss specific projects you’ve been part of. This allows companies to see how you’ve used your skills, not just that you have them.
close sign Don’t:
  • Include more than a handful of skills. You typically shouldn’t include more than 10 skills in a CPA resume.
  • List basic computer and accounting skills. These skills come with being a CPA; you must list impressive skills you can bring to a company.
  • Try to create your resume from scratch. The ResumeHelp Resume Builder and its professional resume templates are a great starting point for anyone looking to make a beautiful resume.

FAQ: CPA resume

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Your CPA resume should showcase your education, professional experience, skills and relevant accomplishments. Make sure the information you include reflects what the prospective employer listed on the job description; that way, you’ll be seen as the perfect candidate.

  • Summarize your strengths and top skills in your professional summary.
  • List your work experience in reverse chronological order and highlight specific accomplishments from past jobs that showcase what a great CPA you are.
  • Include a mix of soft skills and technical skills.
  • Emphasize your certifications and licenses, as well as your educational background.

A good CPA resume summary should be two to three sentences long, highlight your top strengths and give hiring managers an overview of who you are as a professional. For example:

“Results-driven and detail-oriented CPA with over eight years of experience in financial management and reporting. Adept at analyzing complex financial data, implementing streamlined accounting processes and ensuring compliance with industry regulations. Proven success in leading cross-functional teams, driving efficiency, reducing costs and optimizing financial performance for organizations.”

It’s not common practice to put your CPA scores on a resume. Employers often view passing the CPA as a binary achievement — once you’re licensed, the focus shifts to your professional experience.

The best way to make a CPA resume that stands out is to tailor it to the job opening and its requirements. Use quantifiable metrics, percentages and numbers to show your previous success and the results of your hard work. Numbers sometimes say more than words, so let yours do the talking!

Yes. If you have a CPA application, you should include both a cover letter and a resume. While the resume writing process is definitely important, a cover letter allows you to explain why you should be the applicant the hiring manager chooses. The cover letter also allows you to spotlight experiences that you might not have otherwise been able to showcase.

If you have a CPA designation, you have experience, it just might not be in the job field. Remember that for entry-level CPA work, job seekers can include academic experience and experience in related fields, like preparing tax returns. These all work together to make a resume that shines when you submit it.

One of the best ways to create the perfect resume for your job search is to use resume keywords. Scan the job listing and look for required skills and qualifications. Then, use those keywords in your resume where appropriate (e.g., in your skills section, or in a description of a previous job responsibility or achievement). You’ll be reflecting exactly what the recruiter and the applicant tracking software (ATS) are looking for.

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Maria Correa Profile
WRITTEN BY Maria Correa

Maria Correa is a Puerto Rico-based Content Writer with ample background in digital marketing and copywriting. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a B.A. in English and enjoys making information accessible to others.

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