Accounting Clerks: Complete Job Description & What to Expect

Accounting Clerks: Complete Job Description & What to Expect | Accounting Smarts
Charles Hall

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Charles Hall

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June 10, 2022

An accounting clerk position hails from the accounting department in any organization. In general, the job description of an accounting clerk involves basic office tasks of research, reporting, bookkeeping, and resolution of any discrepancies in tasks that fall within their work domain.

An accounting clerk position hails from the accounting department in any organization. In general, the job description of an accounting clerk involves basic office tasks of research, reporting, bookkeeping, and resolution of any discrepancies in tasks that fall within their work domain.

The responsibilities of an accounting clerk range from performing clerical as well as administrative tasks. Accountant clerks are also responsible for providing management with valuable financial information. This requires them to analyze and conduct research on the company's accounts and prepare insight reports.

The requirements to become an accountant clerk include having a minimum of a high school diploma or more, depending on the employer's criteria. However, having post-secondary educational background can prove to be helpful to secure a job as an accounting clerk. Some accounting clerks even choose to pursue a career as certified bookkeepers or other advanced positions.

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Defining Accounting Clerks

An accounting clerk is in charge of maintaining the company's financial records, recording a wide array of business transactions, and running reports for management to make crucial decisions. In short, accounting clerks are an integral cog in the business support system.

An accounting clerk is one of the entry-level positions in the accounting department. However, working in this position will expose you to a wide range of accounting procedures and responsibilities. You can later use your experience to become a professional accountant specializing in one of the areas.

The job description of an accounting clerk includes a wide range of financial activities. While most of them are financial affairs, some may include typical administrative work as well. That said, here are what you may expect to be doing as an accounting clerk.

  • keeping business's financial records up to date
  • preparing financial reports
  • Reconciliation of company's bank statements.
  • Running company's accounting software program to record and process financial transactions
  • Maintaining records of accounts receivable and payable, expenses, disbursements, receipts, and vouchers
  • Using bookkeeping databases and spreadsheets
  • Posting company's financial transactions in relevant databases
  • Checking accuracy in figures, postings, and reports
  • Reporting any discrepancies in transactions or the company's financial records
  • Interacting with vendors, employees, management, and in some cases, with the customers.

Skills and Traits of Accounting Clerks

In order to become a competitive accounting clerk, you must obtain work experience in bookkeeping, record keeping, and customer services. The experience in customer services may seem out of place, but it is vital because you will be dealing with a lot of business partners, vendors, customers.

If you wish to become a great accounting clerk, you must be an expert in Microsoft Office, especially in MS Excel.  You must also be familiar with standard and commonly used accounting software such as QuickBooks. Moreover, knowing how to use software such as SAP can give you a competitive edge over other job applicants.

Accounting clerks must be detail-oriented. Since the job requires dealing with the company's sensitive and confidential financial data, you must perform your job duties with due diligence and discretion. Critical thinking and problem-solving are also the most vital traits that you must have in order to pursue a career as an accounting clerk.

In case you are looking for an entry-level position in accounting, becoming an accounting clerk is an excellent place to start your career. The best part is that companies from most industries and all sizes offer accounting clerk jobs to applicants with soft skills, experience, and attention to detail.

What is the Salary of an Accounting Clerk

According to Indeed, an accounting clerk's average salary is stands at $16.46 per hour. Typically, the tenure of an accounting clerk's position ranges between 1 to 3 years, depending on the employer's requirements and policies.

What Are the Requirements to Become an Accounting Clerk

The educational background and skills required for the job of accounting clerk may differ by each employer. Each company is unique, which may determine what skills and educational background they are looking for in a candidate.

However, certain general requirements are a must to meet the demands or expectations of most companies. These include the following.

  • You must at least have a high school diploma. However, most employers prefer hiring accounting clerks with further education and prior work experience in accounting or related fields.
  • You must have a comprehensive or complete understanding and knowledge of accounting procedures and practices.
  • You must be a responsible individual with ethics to handle sensitive and confidential information. Whether it is the company's financial information or about any specific individual.
  • You must display impeccable communication skills and must be proficient in speaking as well as writing.
  • Computer literacy is a must. As an accounting clerk, you will be responsible for entering information into several computer accounting software and programs.
  • You must be a people person with a professional and polite demeanor. This is vital because you will be working with employees, vendors, partners, management, and customers.
  • You must show willingness and eagerness to comply with the financial laws set in place by federal, state, and local regulatory authorities.

Remember that accounting clerks fill a critical and important position in any business. Therefore, attention to detail is a must-have trait, along with courteousness and professional ethics.

Tip for Becoming Accounting Clerk without Experience

In case you are a fresh graduate or something with no prior accounting experience, you can still pursue a career as an accounting clerk.

However, the task is daunting due to fierce job marketing conditions. You have to remember that not only are you competing against thousands of new graduates but also with those with extensive accounting experience.

That said, if you wish to pursue a career as a novice accounting clerk without any prior experience, here are some tips to help.

Earn the Right Qualification

If you have no experience in the field of accounting, it is imperative that you gain theoretical knowledge. This will give you a solid foundation to build upon as you enter into your new role as an accounting clerk.

In case you have a bachelor's degree or a degree with an accounting major, why not gain some professional certification or qualification? You can study to get numerous qualifications to give yourself a competitive edge over other job applicants.

Financial employers respect certain professional qualifications, so these can work as a springboard to launch you into an accounting clerk's job role. Professional certifications such as ACCA and CIMA are known and respected worldwide.

Volunteering

You can bag experience as an accounting clerk by working as a volunteer or unpaid trainee at a company. This will help you build up some experience and gain hands-on knowledge about the job role of an accounting clerk.

You can contact small businesses, charities, and non-profit organizations and ask if they need someone to do their accounts and volunteer to work for them as an accounting clerk. This will give you an opportunity to gain valuable job experience.

The best part is, you do not even have to graduate to take advantage of this opportunity.  You can volunteer to work for an organization while you are at school. However, if you are a graduate or a professional with a stream of funds to support your daily expenses, you can still take this route to become an accounting clerk.

Learning Accounting Principles and Tools

You must learn about basic and advance accounting principles and the software solutions used in the industries. If you wish to apply in a specific industry or company, look at their job postings to determine what principles and software they use to handle their accounts.

Learn Selling Yourself

Remember, people hire people, so you must network in the right circle long before you start searching for a job. You must invest your time and energy into building offline and online connections. Do not be shy to show off your social and personal skills and the knowledge you have.

Apply Anyway

Even when a job posting for an accounting clerk is asking for 1 to 3 years of prior experience, you must apply anyway. However, this tactic is only suitable for an entry-level position as an accounting clerk. You will rarely find an accounting clerk's job positing hiring fresh graduates from a college or university.

The only way to get in is to apply for an accounting clerk job with the minimum requirements. Some employers offer low entry requirements and do not mind training accounting clerks while on the job. This gives the companies a chance to train their accounting clerks as per their business operations.

Do not underestimate yourself or screen yourself out. Apply anyway as you have nothing to lose.

Yes, the competition is fierce, but you can still make it as an accounting clerk. You must create an impressive covering letter and resume showcasing your abilities, skills, and experience. This will improve your chances to bag a job as an accounting clerk.

Remember, securing a job as an accounting clerk is just the beginning. This job role gives you a platform to explore and work in various accounting domains. So, you can use this knowledge and experience to excel further in the accounting industry. For example, if you wish to become a specialized accounting professional late, you can pursue a career as an auditor.

Do not be afraid or reluctant to take on a temp job. Whatever the opportunity, you must take it on till you find something substantial.

Charles Hall

Charles Hall

Charles has spent 25 plus years in the world of accounting and business. His experience includes working as a CPA/Auditor international accounting firms. He has worked as a controller and as a COO for small to medium sized companies.

Learn more about Charles Hall