Have you ever been rejected for an interview?


Have you missed out on securing an interview unnecessarily?

Could it be because you are missing these essential skills off your CV?

The recruitment world is becoming increasingly busy; it’s great! Candidates who know how to make themselves stand out from the crowd have multiple opportunities on the go and are having their pick of roles, increasing their earnings and advancing their careers. These are some of the things they’re doing to make sure they get selected for interview.
As well as highlighting your achievements on your CV, there are 3 key skills we are finding are being requested more and more by clients in the accountancy and finance world. Most of us have these skills – but do you highlight them? A lot of candidates I speak to presume everyone in a finance role can use Excel or that every Financial Controller saves the company money and adds value as it is ‘part of the day job’ ….but take it from someone who has been meeting multiple candidates on a daily basis for the last (almost!) 5 years….not everyone has these skills!


1. Excel skills

Ensure your Excel skills are on your CV along with any courses you have done even if these are in house. It is best to include specifics here – “Good Excel skills” is not enough. Good to one person can mean something very different to another (when I joined BTG I thought I had ‘good’ Excel skills; after having met accountancy candidates I now realise my skills are average at best!). The easiest way to do this is to talk specifics – can you use auto sums? V-look ups and Pivot tables? Macros? Then talk about how you use Excel, for example, on a daily basis or for month end. Do you have any achievements relating to Excel?

‘Good Excel Skills’


‘I am confident using Excel; I do so in my current role on a daily basis including the use of V-look up and Pivot tables. I created a spreadsheet to improve ….?
Don’t worry if your Excel skills are no more than an auto sum, a different level of skill is required for different roles. Don’t feel bad if you cannot carry out V -look ups and Pivot Tables if it’s not in the job specification. Certainly do not think every finance person has strong Excel skills – highlight your skills if you have some! I recently met a Finance Director who earned over £100,000 who had never used Excel, the owner of a (successful) accountancy practice who said the same and even an accountant who used a calculator to add spreadsheets up! So if it’s a skill you have – highlight it. If you can’t use Excel at all – then perhaps consider a course and there are lots of free resources on-line , videos to watch on YouTube etc. Feel free to call me for a list of a few that have been recommended to me.


2. Interpersonal Skills

Whether you are a Credit Controller chasing customers, a Purchase Ledger Clerk in need of a purchase order number, or a Financial Controller securing funding with the bank, we all have to talk to internal and external customers and build effective relationships. The ability to convey complex financial information to others is a key skill that most have, but few highlight. Don’t assume that everyone builds great relationships – they don’t; it’s important to highlight your communication skills and the benefits that this has brought your organisation. How do you demonstrate it on your CV?

It would be a good idea to think about a couple of examples and add them to your CV, e.g. if you are a College Accountant, have you liaised with lecturers, department heads and students? Talk about any interactions you have and where you influence people, e.g. as a Cost Accountant, do you have a weekly meeting with the Production Manager in the factory to discuss last week’s productivity, and how improvements can be made and the benefits as a result.


3. Organisational skills

Finance is a fast-paced world (as you know!), you may go to work with a plan for the week and after 10 minutes in the office the plan is out of the window! Deadlines are key with month end, audits and year end. Missing a deadline can be career-limiting in the finance world, and sometimes career-ending for you and your boss. So a prospective employer is going to be interested in your ability to organise and hit deadlines.


Highlight your organisational skills; give specific examples here, again you may think working to very tight month end deadlines of 3 days is something everyone does, but trust me they don’t! I’ve heard of month end procedures being done over 3 weeks, or even the attitude of “things get done when they get done!”. Give specific examples of your deadlines, e.g. daily, weekly and monthly deadlines such as month end close, sending reports to group, statutory returns etc.

You might wonder how you are going to fit this additional information onto your CV whilst keeping it concise. Perhaps have a full review of your CV! Removing generic statements like “ I work well as part of a team and also alone”; generic hobbies like “ going to the cinema, socialising and reading”; full addresses, date of birth , martial status and reference details can all come off to make room for these critical key skills.

For any additional CV help please feel free to call the expert team at BTG recruitment anytime on 01159607000.

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