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How to Prepare an Accounting Portfolio

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For accountants seeking jobs in a competitive market, finding innovative ways to demonstrate their ability can be the key to receiving an offer. A familiar tool from many creative fields, accountants also reap benefits from using a portfolio. The portfolio should be maintained in a professional binder with dividers keeping each section separate and organized. A portfolio demonstrates several characteristics to the interviewer, such as professional ability and organizational skills.

Understand Job Requirements

Before a job seeker can develop an accounting portfolio, she needs to review the job description and understand the job requirements. Each accounting position requires different skills, such as recording journal entries into the financial system, preparing financial statements, or analyzing financial ratios. She should review the copy of the job posting and highlight those skills that match her background and experience. If the job description includes skills that correlate to activities she performed in school, she should highlight those items also.

Professional Qualifications

In his accounting portfolio, the job seeker should include standard items, such as his resume, transcripts, reference letters and copies of any licenses or certifications, such as his license to practice public accounting or a copy of his certified management accountant document. These items should be kept in the binder and labeled as "Professional Qualifications."

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Examples of Your Work

The job seeker should include work examples that demonstrate her abilities. These might include financial statements, variance reports or financial analysis. The work examples should tie directly to the highlighted items from the job description. These examples can come from previous employment or from school projects. When examples from previous employment are used, he must change the numbers used to prevent sharing of confidential information. In some situations, the job seeker may not be able to use direct examples from her workplace. Instead, she can create examples of reports or documents. For example, she may create fictional working papers that demonstrate her approach for preparing reports. If the position requires public speaking, she should develop a slide show to demonstrate her presentation skills. She should label a section of her portfolio as "Practical Examples" and include these items. Depending on the number of examples she includes, she may separate these into additional categories.

Real Life Financial Analysis

The job seeker should include information specific to the company with which he is interviewing. If the company is publicly traded, its financial statements are available online. The job seeker should obtain the financial statements and analyze the statements using various financial ratios and analysis techniques. If the company is not publicly traded, the job seeker can obtain financial statements of a competitor and use those instead. In addition, he can identify the strengths of the company he is interviewing with. This information should be included as "Company Financial Analysis."

Make Recommendations

After analyzing the company’s position, the job seeker should prepare a page of recommendations for the company. This list may include paying down debt, reducing inventory or increasing collection efforts. These recommendations demonstrate an investment in the company by the job seeker. These can be included as a separate section, labeled "Company Recommendations."

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