If you are great with math and enjoy figuring out budgets, you may find the position of an accounting clerk appealing.
This position is not for everyone, but if you are great with numbers, you can do well.
Besides, this position is a wonderful way to enter the field of accounting.
You can gain experience and figure out if the accounting industry is right for you.
Further below, you will find information about the accounting clerk position.
We will cover such details as responsibilities, requirements, work environment, salary, and others.
Article Table of Contents
What Is an Accounting Clerk
An accounting clerk is a professional who provides the support for an accountant or accounting department.
Accounting clerks aren’t in charge of the process, but they help those who do the accounting work.
You will be responsible for preparing records and reports for the accountants.
Your tasks will include gathering documentation and ensuring the completeness of records as well as updating them when needed.
Accounting clerks may have to do small accounting tasks or reconciling accounts.
The vast majority of your duties will be related to creating files for the use of the accountants and data entry.
Basically, you will be responsible for ensuring that accountants have all the required information to do accounting for their clients.
Accounting clerks may be assigned some specific tasks.
For instance, you may work as an accounts payable clerk or accounts receivable clerk.
This is a normal practice because typically accounting clerks work for large companies with multiple clerks in staff.
Accounting clerks aren’t usually hired by small businesses as the accountants there can handle everything themselves.
Mostly, the work of an accounting clerk is full-time.
Part-time work is possible but not as common.
Some clerks are hired as temporary employees during the busiest time of the year to help the staffed accountants.
The typical schedule of an accounting clerk is a 40-hour workweek with standard business hours.
However, in busy periods, such as tax time, they may have to work overtime.
The work environment for this position is professional, where you will have to wear a formal suit and work in an office.
The positions of accounting clerks are typically entry-level, so you need little to zero experience to get the job.
However, training and education will be necessary.
Employers usually require the clerks to have a degree in accounting, but a degree in math or related area can also help you get the job.
For some employers, only a high school diploma with some accounting background may be enough.
You can take some accounting classes as a part of your course in high school.
Normally, after you are hired, you will receive some on-the-job training.
It’s not about teaching you how to perform your duties, but more about the procedures and policies of the employer, how things are running in their office, etc.
Employers usually expect their clerks to start working from the first day.
They will not train you on how to perform the accounting tasks.
Some employers may require work experience.
Usually, it’s necessary for senior positions or if you are being hired in the busy period when they may not have the time and ability to train you.
Salary is one of the most essential factors of any career.
Everybody wants to get a job where they can make good money.
As an accounting clerk, you may not make big money, but remember that this is an entry-level job that can open the path to the accounting area for you.
Later, you can take on the career of an auditor or accountant where the big money is.
According to PayScale, the average hourly rate the accounting clerks make is $15.40.
It can range between $11.71 and $20.17.
Annually, the salary can range from $25,000 to $46,000.
Accounting clerks can also receive bonuses, commissions, and profit-sharing paid by some employers.
Overtime is also paid, but benefits are offered rarely.
This is especially true for part-time or seasonal employees.
Salary can be greatly influenced by experience.
The hourly rate of entry-level workers is usually $14.84 on average.
With more experience you can make from $15.84 to $16.45 per hour, depending on the amount of experience.
The average salary can also depend on the geographical location.
For instance, in New York, you can make around $47,500, $40,700 in Chicago.
In Midwest and Cincinnati, clerks can earn about $34,632, while in Dallas, $40,959.
Waged can be based on the living costs of the area, so more expensive regions, such as New York, pay more to their employees.
Accounting clerks have multiple advancement opportunities.
If you wish to move up the career ladder, you can earn the Certified Bookkeeper certification provided by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers.
For this certification, you need a minimum of two years of experience and successfully pass the examination.
You should also comply with a code of ethics.
The exam consists of four parts.
You will be tested on adjusting and reconciliation, inventory management, payroll and depreciation, internal control and preventing frauds.
Two parts are an open book exam, and you will need 70% to pass them.
With the other two, 75% is needed to pass the examination.
The National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers also offers certifications you can earn, which include:
- Accounting analysis.
To obtain one of these certifications, you need to pass the Uniform Accounting Certification exam.
Accounting clerks usually advance to the position of an accountant or auditor.
Depending on your previous education, you may need to take more courses.
To work in an accounting or a related field, you need a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Also, you may need a Public Accountant Certification.
With the Certified Public Accountant certification, you can obtain a better position and earn a higher salary.
With it, you can file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Accountants and auditors can be employed in various industries and companies.
They can even launch their own businesses.
You may focus on some specific areas of accounting or provide general services.
There are accountants that specialize in taxation as it is a vast business area.
You could also do bookkeeping for small businesses or work for a large company in an accounting department.
Accountants and auditors can even work for the government at different levels.
The income of accountants is a lot higher than of accounting clerks, which is also an attractive factor.
Job prospects vary greatly for different professions, and every area has its ups and downs.
Sometimes, there may be a freeze, and the industry won’t hire anyone new.
The accounting area will be around for as long as people have to manage money and pay taxes.
However, there are dips in the hiring phases as well.
The industry can’t run solely on technology, but it certainly affects the industry.
However, the human factor is still essential for accounting.
This being said, the US BLS projects the employment rate to decrease by 1% between 2016 and 2026.
The reason for this is technological advancement.
Many tasks typically performed by clerks can be computerized now, fewer people will be hired to do this job.
However, there’s an early retirement factor present, so a great deal of jobs is opening.
An accounting clerk is an entry-level position with plenty of opportunities for advancement.
So, don’t only consider the low payment that comes with it.
Over the years, you can become an accountant or auditor and make a higher salary, which may require additional education.
Despite the decline in the employment rate, there should be a lot of job openings in the area.
You need to have a degree in accounting or a related field and consider getting certifications.
They can help you win better jobs over the competition.