Accounting assistants work in the accounting department of a company.
Basically, they provide general accounting and financial services to the accounting department of a company.
Accounting assistants provide support with both administrative tasks and accounting.
They are the right hand of an accounting department specialist, so they should be able to do higher-level tasks and run the office.
Article Table of Contents
- 1 What Does an Accounting Assistant Do
- 2 Responsibilities
- 3 Skills and Qualifications
- 4 Core Skills and Knowledge
- 5 Communication and Soft Skills
- 6 Salary Information
- 7 Conclusion
What Does an Accounting Assistant Do
Accounting assistants work under the supervision of the accounting manager.
They perform various administrative tasks including handling accounts receivable requests and processing invoices.
Accounting assistants typically work with little to zero supervision.
They need a specific set of skills and personal traits to succeed in the position.
There is a range of common duties for various positions, however, some can differ from one position to another.
Accounting assistants are trained to perform various tasks related to accounts receivable, accounts payable, grants accounting support, and bookkeeping tasks.
Assistants provide support to the accounting department by filing documents, running software programs, and reconciling statements.
There are multiple responsibilities to the job of accounting assistant some of which can be specific to a particular company or job.
However, accounting assistants share some general job duties.
The first and foremost task of an accounting assistant is to provide support and assistance to the accounting department while working under the supervision of a manager.
Preparing Financial Reports
Accounting assistants are tasked with the preparation of monthly financial reports for the management to assess.
Accounting assistants should be extremely apt with numbers and knowledgeable in bookkeeping and accounts payable and receivable.
They should assist the accounting department and participate in the company’s bookkeeping procedures.
Assistants should maintain accounting records by organizing files and documents in the right places.
They also reconcile bank statements and make a monthly, weekly, and daily comparisons of statements to the general ledger.
Accounting Database Maintenance and Protection
Maintenance of accounting databases is a vast part of the accounting assistant job.
It also includes data entry, logging numbers, and processing backups.
They are also tasked with verification of financial reports by running analysis software and ensuring all data is accurate and updated.
Assistants play a key role in determining the value of depreciable assets by using depreciation software.
Accounting assistants get approval to satisfy vendor statements, request and process W-9 forms for new vendors, prepare and distribute checks, approve and process wire transfer requests, and prepare and obtain approval for purchase order requests and line items.
Accounting assistants should protect the value of the organization by keeping all accounting information private and confidential.
They should also take continuing education to update their job knowledge.
Accounting assistants perform many administrative tasks for the accounting department.
They are responsible for processing daily invoices and handling accounts receivable and payable requests received by the department.
Accounting assistants’ support is crucial for the smooth and effective operation of the department.
They also deal with achieving and performing the mission of the company.
Filing Tax Returns and Budget Planning
The duties of accounting assistants may also include filing monthly and quarterly tax returns for the company.
This should be maintained with the highest accuracy possible.
They process all transactions coming through the accounting department and record the deposits of the company.
Assistants also deal with bank reconciliations and the preparation of financial reports and forecasts.
Assistants also provide support with budget planning and the maintenance of the company ledgers and accounting books and software.
The responsibilities in this position may vary greatly depending on the size and type of organization.
Some accounting assistants perform more administrative tasks rather than accounting.
It means they also greet clients, answer phones, file paperwork, schedule appointments, scan documents, complete data entry, receive and sort correspondence, and do other tasks to make the setting more efficient.
In larger companies, accounting assistants deal strictly with accounting department tasks.
In smaller businesses, they may also provide some support for other departments.
Skills and Qualifications
Accounting assistants need a range of specific skills and personal traits.
They usually need a four-year degree in accounting or a similar field.
Additionally, they need the knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP).
GAAP includes a set of rules that cover complexities, details, and legalities of business and corporate accounting.
There is also the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) that bases its accounting approaches and practices on GAAP.
Core Skills and Knowledge
The core skills of accounting assistants include various software such as QuickBooks, as well as experience with different office equipment.
They also need to be skilled in troubleshooting various office issues and problems.
Most employers require accounting assistants to have at least two years of experience in bookkeeping or accounting with the focus on accounts payable.
They also need a minimum of a high school diploma or GED but a four-year college degree in accounting or related fields is preferred.
Assistants are preferred to have some experience with QuickBooks, Microsoft Office, and Google Docs.
Accounting assistants with excellent typing and 10-key skills are valued by the employers the most.
Communication and Soft Skills
Verbal and written communication skills are definitely a requirement for accounting assistants.
They have to communicate efficiently with clients, upper-management, as well as members of other departments to do their job properly.
Accounting assistants should also be dependable, have a hard work ethic, and be able to work in a team.
Employers like to see assistants who are great at communication and collaboration with others.
When it comes to accounting analysis, assistants should provide punctual results, express attention to detail, math skills, compliance, and numerical competence.
Other essential skills of accounting assistants include motivation, commitment, problem-solving, multitasking, teamwork, writing, training, and verbal and written communication skills.
Accounting assistants need business skills that include:
- Asset management.
- Business awareness.
- Credit management.
- Corporate reports.
- Compliance management.
- Special projects.
The average hourly rate of accounting assistants in the US is $15.53, according to Indeed.
The rate can range from $7.25 to $31.90.
These numbers were reported to Indeed by accounting assistants employees and users, as well as collected from the past and present job listings on the site for the last three years.
The highest-paying jobs are available at the University of California, State of Michigan and Robert Half Finance and Accounting.
Other companies that offer well-paid positions include YMCA, Cargill, ALDO, Jefferson County, H&R Block.
Glassdoor reports that the average starting pay of accounting assistants is $39,509 per year.
The average salary ranges from $31,000 to $49,000.
Additionally, you can get extra compensation ranging from $329 to $6,727.
The rates can be compared with other jobs such as accounts payable, accountant, entry-level accountant, bookkeeper, and accountant manager.
Their salary ranges between $37,000 (bookkeeper) and $62,000 (accountant manager).
Accounting is a crucial department for every business or organization.
An accountant is an old profession that has been around since 1896.
This is when the state of New York first issued the Certified Public Accountant exam (CPA).
If you are interested in this profession, try to evaluate your knowledge and skills to see if you are a good fit for the position of an accounting assistant.