How to Prove Your Value as an Accountant

John Krautzel
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According to the annual Talent Shortage Survey conducted by ManpowerGroup, accounting and finance jobs have been among the top ten hardest positions to fill over the past three years. With companies struggling to fill positions, professionals with the right accounting training might wonder why it's not easier to land a job. It turns out showing off your value as an accountant isn't as easy as flashing proof of a degree.

Because more than fifty types of accounting certifications are available, you need to make sure prospective employers understand which credentials you hold. Certified public accountants or certified general accountants can expect employers of all types to recognize their credentials, but specialty credentials may not be recognized by hiring managers or recruiters in the financial sector, much less in other industries. If you're a certified fraud examiner, don't rely on the CFE designation to let employers know. Give a few basic details about your niche accounting training or experience on your resume. The same holds true for CA, CISA, CMA, CIA, and other specialty credentials.

Basic accounting training is great, but if you want to shine at higher recruiting levels, consider an extra year or two of school. Some universities offer a one-year master of accounting program; often, such programs include work studies or internships that give professionals a leg up on the job hunt by creating a personal network even before the application process begins. To reflect even more value as an accounting professional, highlight your extra education, accounting training, and workforce experience on your resume in a way that incorporates relevant skills employers may be searching for. Many recruiters use keyword searches to locate potential candidates on networks like LinkedIn.

Accounting training and experience aren't the only things employers are looking for. Companies want to hire team players who are professional and dependable. Some of these attributes are difficult to communicate in a resume, but professional wording and a solid employment history are good places to start. When speaking with employers on the phone, via video interviews, or in person, make sure to be pleasant, friendly, and professional. Arrive on time for all meetings, follow up quickly with requested documents or information, and present an organized appearance. Do some research into the company you're interviewing for and show initiative by asking company-relevant questions that illustrate the time and thought you've put into the interview process.

In a technical niche like finance, accounting training and accounting certifications are important issues for employers. Ensuring your credentials and experience are clearly spelled out on applications and resumes is a first step in proving your value as an accountant. Don't put all your eggs into niche-skill baskets; remember that today's employers are as interested in soft skills as they are in hard skills.


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