In Part 1 we discussed Simplicity.

I explained how important it is to have a cover summary page with all your pertinent information. The objective was to make the CV more readable.

The next part of the CV is all about the detail on the two important issues raised in the summary:

> Academic qualifications

> Employment history

2. Focus:

Before we get into the detail it is important to note that the more you can present yourself around the position you are applying for, the better your chances of getting the interview. Accordingly, you are in the better position if your CV is designed to address the particular nuances of the job. Remember the CV is the ‘weapon’ that you are using to get that interview.

So here are some points to bear in mind:


In the previous article I suggested a summary of all pertinent qualifications. I propose that you only extend this into more detail if you have something relevant to say. Here are some issues that constitute relevant information:

> Passing the two qualifying exams first time

> Obtaining special marks or distinctions (both at school and university)

> Winning any academic awards

> Any meaningful leadership roles or sporting achievements.

I would definitely avoid mentioning that you repeated any of the qualifying papers. It’s irrelevant unless you make it relevant. A CA(SA) is a CA(SA) bottom line. Never draw attention to any failures. You have the qualification and that says it all!

If you do not have anything important to say stick with the summary on the first page and say no more.


The detail in this section is critical. But it needs to be focused. The best way of doing this is to get a job spec from the recruiter/HR. This is usually possible if you are applying for a particular post. Bear in mind that being a professional allows you a bit of cheekiness.

The job spec has quite a lot of detail. For instance here is an example of job spec that I received for a financial manager position for a newly qualified CA:



CA(SA) needed to manage teams who are responsible for the on time and accurate completion of stock reconciliations.

They will be required to:

 > Assign responsibility for activities to analyse, define, implement, monitor and support stock and recon operational control and processes;

> Implement using and developing IT processes to improve efficiency, including specification of functionality required in conjunction with finance, management overall effective running of the Stock and Reconciliation processes and controls. 

Key Responsibility Areas

Core Functions:(I think the language used here is unnecessarily confusing) 
> Manage escalations to relevant stakeholders on time to ensure minimal financial and /or reputation loss through daily review of reconciliation and trend analysis exceptions ie timely reporting 
> Customers Focus Manage internal and external customer satisfaction relating to Stock and recon processes and exception management ie interdepartmental communication
> Functional Delivery Review reconciliation of data to ensure integrity (daily, weekly, monthly and annually), including, but not limited to IT Stock reports, General Ledger Accounts versus Inventory Valuation report  ie attention to detail and accuracy
> Functional Delivery – Finance reporting  * Identify through analytical review incomplete/inaccurate capturing relating to AR, AP, Stock etc with ad hoc queries arise, manage and review reconciliations, calculations and reports where necessary * Review and management of stock processes and this is being applied consistently monthly with minimal fluctuations * Effective management of stock invoice capturing and reporting with set deadlines. *Manage any corrections on time prior to reporting final numbers being reported * Review of controls around systems capturing to ensure accurate capturing of invoices ie systems functionality and delegation
> Functional Delivery – Stock and Recon * Daily review of recons relating to 3rd party integration setups and related exceptions * Drive resolution of exception management with relevant stakeholders both internal and external *Weekly review of stock trending analysis * Management of stock ordering and approval process being followed * Clearly define controls required for any new recon processes and maintain a robust control environment with minimal exceptions or escalations * Manage internal controls around audit time to ensure strong control environment is maintained and reported ie ditto on systems, detail and accuracy 
> Human Capital Ensure roles and responsibilities set for each staff member Establish and evaluate Key Performance Indicators * Ensure adherence to performance review processes * Ensure effective and timely feedback on tasks performance * Initiate HR poor performance review processes when required *Ensure effective utilization of staff members * Implement progression and contingency planning * Implement and encourage staff development activities, identify training needs Provide a mentor-ship and counselling function for team members * Facilitate a process for each staff member to develop career development plans ie ensuring staff comply with company policy and ethos

Competencies  – (more like character traits)

The candidate must display the following competencies:
*Ability to Organize * Achievement Driven * Flexibility * Initiative * Integrity *Learning Ability * Responsibility * Self-Confidence * Self-Management * Stress Tolerance * Tenacity Communication * Conflict Management * Delegation * Developing people * Influence * Leadership * Management Supervision *Teamwork * Analysis * Attention to detail * Business knowledge * Industry Awareness * Judgment * Managing complexity * Planning and organizing *Problem solving Acting with confidence * Self-motivated * Mentoring *Motivating the team * Using financial information * Working with computer technology * Working with data/number * Management of financial resources *Management of personnel resources * Time management * Mathematical reasoning *Number facility * Leadership orientation * Adaptability * Self-Control * Stress Tolerance * Attention to detail * Dependability * Independence 

Extensive knowledge Microsoft Word/Excel/Outlook * Knowledge of Pastel Evolution * Knowledge of Syspro* 


This sounds like quite a lot especially for a newly qualified.

But I have to giggle. This is largely describing the type of work and character traits that most ‘big 4’ audit supervisors do/have (and probably more) as they are about to leave the profession!

So if you design your job description around these requirements you have a super chance of getting called in for an interview.

So here is an example based on the above assuming you are currently working at Deloitte:


Employer: Deloitte:

Period: Jan 2012 – current

Position held: Audit Supervisor

Current earnings: R400k p.a. cost to company

Job function:

Managed teams of up to 20 people.

Responsible for:

> Budgeting and variance analysis

> Meeting deadlines

> Handling staff queries

> Disciplining staff where necessary

> Completing and discussing staff performance reviews

> Mentoring, coaching and training staff

– Extensive experience in delegating and reviewing complex work including:

> Detailed stock, debtors, bank and creditor reconciliations

> Report writing and review

> Top down bigger picture reviews and investigating usual trends

Liaising with stakeholders at executive level (CFO’s, CEO’s, CIO’s, and senior client managers on audits or speaking to bankers or attorneys)

Working closely with the up-line (your manager. director and partner at your firm).  This reflects your ability to get on with ‘the boss’ – this is very important.

– Ensuring that sufficient attention to detail is undertaken to confirm the accurate and correct resolution of queries.

– Completing detailed systems reviews and reported on weaknesses

– liaised with IT to find workable solutions

– Understanding and identifying relevant IFRS implications

– Analytically reviewing business risks and relating same to appropriate legislation including:                                        > Companies Act

> Income Tax Act

– Reviewing complicated legal documents including:

> sale agreements

> lease agreements

> bankers term sheets

– Working with a number of different IT systems – expert at finding my way around a new system using conventional drop-down menus.

– Advanced Excel skills specifically around financial modelling


– Jim Steele – manager – 083-555-5555

– Anton Berger – partner – 082-333-3333

(It is advisable to  inform your reference to expect a call and possibly  even ask  them to vet your CV).

Do you get the picture? The CV is talking subtly to the job spec and none of this is a fabrication. It’s just selling your skill and character appropriately by putting your best foot forward.

It is also important to note that even if you do not have a job spec, the above description will serve you well.

I have also included here a checklist of interesting aspects and skills that I often have to drag out of candidates by asking question after question. In other words they often do not realize the importance of of these issues and so leave them out of the CV:

> Character traits (considered much more important than skill)

– reliable

– honest

– dependable

– meet deadlines

– attention to detail

> Management experience

– size of teams

– handling difficult staff

– performance reviews

– CCMA issues

– deadlines

– number of projects being handled simultaneously

– coaching and mentoring

– recruiting

> Legal and tax experience

– reviewing of complex service agreements, leases or sale agreements

> Dealing with clients and customers

> Level of negotiating skill

> System design and implementation

> Credit control and management including CGIC limits and claims

> Dealing with the up-line (bosses, executive directors, non-executive directors)

> IT experience

> Report preparation:

– Board

– Exco

– Investor and stakeholder meetings

> Minute taking at meetings

> Interaction with external auditors

> Membership of various committees


– Risk

– Audit

– Ethics

> Health and Safety Committee

> Technical:

– IFRS both current and proposed (advisable to review the company’s website and identify which Statements apply)

– consolidations

– cash flow analysis and forecasting

– budgeting

– variance analysis

– lease/buy decisions

– due diligence

– statutory reporting

> Internal audit and follow-up

> Specific investigations:

–  purchase of property

–  purchase of another business

> Insurance review

> Complex insurance claims:

– major fire claim

– loss of profits claim

– employee fidelity claim (employee fraud)

> Project management especially IT implementation. Highlight bigger  installations like SAP

> Integrated thinking

> IRR/NPV calculations with terminal value determinations

> Feasibility studies on:

– medical aid/pension-provident fund

– outsourcing warehousing and logistics

– outsourcing fleet management

> handling queries with SARS

> Sorting out historical mess-ups eg:

– un-reconciled  cash books/ledger balances/debtor-stock control accounts – all about project management.           –

– inter-company loan account matrix’s

> Work flow analysis

> System/process efficiency reviews

> Manufacturing of any sort:

–  costing

– bill of materials

– variance analysis

> Level of Excel modelling complexity especially around macro’s

> Forensic investigations

> Property management/ tenant lease agreements and rental collections

> Retrenchment processes

> HR – general issues

– PAYE/IRP5 recons

– SARS queries

– Frauds

> Any special investigations around particular complex sections in the Statues:

– Competitions Act

– National Credit Act

– Income Tax Act

– Companies Act

– Stock Exchange Regulations

Some suggest that one should include a section on strengths and weaknesses. I think this should be reserved for the interview.

Some also suggest a brief summary of who you are right at the beginning of the CV. This usually one looks like:

“I’m a highly motivated and energetic CA with good business                                      sense etc etc……………………”

I buy none of this and usually don’t read it.

For the sake of easy reading it is advisable to put your CV in point form. The essay format is laborious and difficult to read.

DOUBLE CHECK AND RECHECK YOUR CV FOR SPELLING MISTAKES! There is nothing more off-putting than this kind of lack of attention to detail!

And finally, make a statement that this is a true reflection of the truth and sign the document. This indicates that you stand behind what you are presenting. This could look like:

           “I confirm that this is a true and fair reflection of myself and                    my work history, character and skill”,                                                                Signed at ………………… on the …………./…………/,,,,,,,,,,,,,,                      

             ………………………….                                                                                                    CR KAPLAN CA(SA)”


Submit your CV via email (in nearly all cases). Preview the document before sending to ensure that it comes up on the computer screen in a chronological format which is page under page. It is terribly frustrating to receive a CV with four pages on the screen and you unable to determine the sequence of the pages because they are not numbered.

If you require clarity on any of the above or you would like more assistance please contact me direct on +27-72-280-6878.

Happy hunting. 



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