How to Write an Accounting Cover Letter
Some job adverts ask you to write a brief email for your cover letter.
The finance and accounting field is highly competitive, so a well written cover letter will highlight your skills, experiences and qualifications allowing you to stand out.
Whether you need an entry-level accounting cover letter, a cover letter for an accounting internship or a cover letter for an accounting professional, these same rules and structure would apply.
Whenever you apply for a new position, you should include a new and updated letter and follow the instructions of each accounting firm's hiring process.
Writing cover letters is not something many of us enjoy doing, and it can be challenging to know what to say after reading a job description.
Check out our article on What is a Job Description if you need some help.
This article will provide those in the accounting field with tips and examples to write better cover letters.
How Do I Write an Accountanting Cover Letter?
- Clear and concise language
- Business-style writing with short, direct paragraphs
- Business-style professional fonts such as Times New Roman or Ariel
- Double-check spelling and grammar
- Use an existing template
- No longer than one page
Details that should always be in a cover letter are:
- Your details (for example, your name, phone number, email and address)
- What job you are applying for
- Where you found the job advertised
- What you know about the company and your passion for the accounting field
- What makes you suitable for the job
- How you meet the requirements
- What you can do for the company
- A closing statement with a summary and positive outlook
Our article on How to Write a Cover Letter will provide you with some great general tips on writing your accounting cover letter.
Cover letter structures generally stay the same; however, the information written in a cover letter can vary based on the role.
Some roles can be more technical than others, keep reading to find out how to write a great accounting cover letter.
Cover letters are addressed to the hiring manager. If you know their name, address the cover letter to them formally.
Dear Mr Smith
LinkedIn can be a great place to find out the name of a hiring manager. Be sure that you have their name correctly.
If you don’t know their name, you would address the cover letter to 'Dear Hiring Manager’.
Addressing your cover letter with ‘To Whom It May Concern’ can feel impersonal and is not recommended.
How Do I Start My Accounting Cover Letter?
You want to start your accounting cover letter by expressing your interest in the advertised job and stating where you heard about the job.
This is especially important if someone is recommending you for the position as it gives you an advantage.
If you are being recommended for the job, make sure to include your contact’s name and your relationship with them.
Use the first paragraph to show how you fit in with the company ethos, goals and values. To do this, research the company so you can demonstrate your interest in this organization.
If the work this accounting company does is impressive to you or they have recently received recognition for an achievement, you should acknowledge it. All of this shows the hiring team that you have done your homework and allows the potential employer to see that you have a genuine passion for your chosen area of accounting and their company.
Take a look at our article on How to Start a Cover Letter for more tips on getting started.
This would vary based on the accounting job you are applying for and whether you are applying for an accounting internship, a new graduate or early-career position, or if it is a role that has three or more years of experience.
A position advertised for a new graduate or early career professional would have a stronger focus on the education and qualifications you have in your chosen area of accounting.
Include the level of education you have completed, any extra achievements/qualifications and certification bodies that you have achieved or are in the process of completing.
Rather than listing all your education and achievements, make sure to check the job description and include only those that are relevant.
Many firms may expect the applicant to have completed, or to be working towards a professional qualification such as:
- Chartered Accountant (CA)
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
- Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
- Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
- Enrolled Agent (EA)
- Certified Financial Services Auditor (CFSA)
- Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
- Chartered Global Management Accountant
These accounting certifications are highly valued by organizations and can lead to better pay negotiations. Once employed, it can also lead to increased career opportunities.
You will need to choose the certification that best matches the accounting career path you choose.
You should tailor your experience to suit each job application. If you meet the criteria of a job advertisement, you want to make sure that the hiring manager or HR person sees that clearly in your resume.
For example, a job advertisement may ask for the following:
- Five years of experience in purchase and sales ledger, payroll, tax, etc.
- Proficient use of accounting software such as Quickbooks, Sage, Xero, etc.
- Good mathematical skills
- Experience in leading a small team
If you meet the criteria, you want to be sure to highlight these experiences from your resume so that it is clear that you can deliver the role.
Don’t repeat your resume but instead expand and give specific examples that highlight your previous experience.
In my role as an accounts administrator, I gained over five years of experience using Quickbooks as part of my work in purchase and sales ledger. I also managed a small team that was responsible for monthly payroll and tax at [Company A].
My educational background and years of experience in the accounting field have allowed me to have strong mathematical skills and also exposed me to a range of other accounting software including but not limited to, Sage, Xero, etc.
Sometimes a job description will ask for a specific prior experience for a project such as changing systems, being a project lead for an audit process, or automating the accounts process, among others.
If you have previous experience in the capacity the role requires, you need to mention how you handled the project and what you achieved.
If a job advertisement asks for an experienced accounting professional, there is also an expectation that the applicant will have accreditation or a professional qualification, or be well on their way to being a part of one.
The professional qualification you choose will vary based on who you work for, the sector you work for and the area of accounting you choose. In the USA, the recognized accounting bodies are:
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Institute of Management Accountant’s Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
- Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
- Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
- Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
- Association of Chartered Accountants (ACA)
Should I Include Soft Skills in My Accounting Cover Letter?
Often, there is an assumption that accounting professionals are simply number crunchers, but job descriptions also mention a range of soft skills preferred in the position.
For example, if the position is a leadership role, then any management training or experience would be highly relevant.
Our article on Soft Skills should help you get started.
The end of your cover letter is just as important as the start. These are your closing statements and the final impression the hiring manager has of you.
Include how you can be contacted and mention again your fit as the best candidate for the position and what you can contribute to the organization. Thank the person for their time and for considering your application.
End on a note of confidence by showing your anticipation for a positive response.
Some final tips to get you started on your accounting cover letter:
Each job you apply for needs a fresh cover letter – it needs to be unique
Be specific and avoid using general statements
Don’t repeat your resume, you need to highlight and expand on your relevant skills and experience
Make sure you meet the criteria advertised, a great way to do this is to copy or print the job ad and check each of the listed criteria making a note of your skills and experience that match
Here is an example of a cover letter:
Dear Hiring Manager,
I am writing to apply for the Senior Accountant role at [Company X]. As a specialist accountant with over three years of experience, I believe my skills and qualifications align well with the position you have advertised. The values and goals at [Company X] appeal to me very much, in particular your customer care and the service you provide make me very excited to apply.
In my previous capacity as a team lead for the accounting department at [Company Y], I was responsible for streamlining the accounting processes. I am adept in budgeting and finance forecasting to predict future trends. I also made sure we always met our goals and deliverables and resolved discrepancies promptly.
I also have experience in a more customer-focused role where I was a part of the team responsible for looking after all payroll, taxes, and sales ledger for our small business clients.
[Company X] is a customer-focused company, and I believe my strong communication, interpersonal and conflict resolution skills from over five years of customer-focused roles would be an asset. I also understand that the position can be demanding and would require flexibility.
In addition to my experience, personal qualities, and passion for accounting, I also have a strong educational background and have completed a master's in accounting and finance administration and am currently working towards my professional qualification as a CPA. I am also highly proficient in Quickbooks among other accounting software, as well as the Microsoft Office suite.
Thank you for taking the time to review my application for the position at [Company X]. I am enthusiastic about the possibility of working with a diverse team as well as managing the responsibilities of a senior accountant. I believe that my experience and background are an ideal fit as part of the accounting team at [Company X] and welcome the opportunity to discuss how my qualifications would be an asset to the team. I look forward to hearing from you and can be contacted on [insert email] or [insert phone number]. My resume is enclosed for your reference.
We have lots of cover letter support, get started by checking out How to Write a Cover Letter
As your cover letter is the first item a potential employer reads from you, it should be immediately clear that you are passionate about accounting, the position and the company.
It is the first step of a hiring process and it's very important to highlight your skills and qualifications.
An engaging and unique cover letter takes you one step closer to the job interview and, ultimately, success at getting hired.
Make sure that the focus of the cover letter is what you can bring to the position and how you would fit well at the company. Use clear language and metrics, and avoid vague, generalized statements.
However, don’t get too technical as the person or system reading your letter may miss essential keywords.
Finally, make sure there are no spelling and grammar mistakes and make sure your contact information is correct so that there are no issues reaching you.