Targeting your CV for Finance Jobs

When an area such as finance contains so many varying job roles, you will sharpen the effectiveness of your CV by emphasising your strengths as they relate to both the industry and the function you are targeting. Help an employer to shortlist your CV by highlighting your relevant experience.

The key information you should include can be divided into general and function-specific:


This is the detail that surrounds your role and which may be extremely important to an employer.

Sector experience: Financial services, telecomms, FMCG, IT, manufacturing. When yours matches an employer’s it is vital to highlight it. Conversely, when it does not you should avoid drawing attention to it and the variance between your experience and theirs.

Organisation type: Similarly, if your organisational background mirrors that of an employer, whether it be private, public, third sector, listed company or local government, make this clear in your CV and covering letter.

Improvements: Describe your experience of designing process or service improvements leading to savings in time, cost and quality.

Lifecycle experience: Organisations will have different priorities and requirements depending on what stage they are at (start-up, growth, restructuring, merger etc.), so if you have first-hand experience of their likely issues you may have something extra to offer.

Staff management: Most senior finance roles will have management responsibility so it is important to describe the numbers and positions of staff you have been responsible for and those you have reported to (direct and/or dotted line).

International: Larger group companies with overseas subsidiaries or divisions usually value people with similar experience. Highlight any of your relevant experience, including language skills and knowledge of international tax systems.

Software: Include your experience of packages and versions e.g. Sage 200, SAP, Aggresso, Maconomy, DDS, Hyperion, Excel (esp. Vlookup and pivot tables).


Function Specific

Focus on highlighting your achievements in the areas below, particularly in describing the changes you introduced and the effect these had. For example:

“I streamlined the reporting hierarchy by removing unnecessary involvement of some managers. This lead to a reduction in days to report from 15 to 9 and also contributed to reducing audit days by 50 percent, saving the business £10,000 in professional fees.”


Management Accountant

Accounts: Statutory and management accounts, including VAT returns, cash flow forecasting and year-end statements. Some roles seek experience in analysis of service charges and costs, so this will be worth including for some vacancies.

Budget preparation: Size of budgets and numbers of departments involved.

Data: Scrutinising complex data and communicating information and interpretations to non-finance colleagues, including members of the board.


Finance Manager

Financial leadership: Describe how you have driven decisions, worked with departments, suppliers and other stakeholders to maximise commercial performance.

Risk management: How you have evaluated organisational risk and recommended solutions that minimised liabilities.

Legal and regulatory: Describe your experience of managing controls relating to organisational compliance, regulatory and anti-money laundering etc.


Financial Controller

Forecasting: Daily, weekly, monthly forecasting, reporting and variance analysis; analysis of costing and inventory (including projects).

Accounts: Preparation of annual accounts and returns, management of payroll, cash flow monitoring, credit control, payments and billing processes

Issue resolution: Accounts payable issue control

Communication: Presentation of results to management or the board and ability to provide insightful commentary.