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How To Become An Accounting Clerk: Degree & Career Guide
Have you ever wondered what keeps a business afloat? Small or large, businesses require acute attention to every facet to ensure that all operations run smoothly. Once a business is up and running and it's headed toward success, the owner doesn't always have the capacity to keep track of the components that are out of their area of expertise.
Running the businesses or overseeing and executing the business operations is the business owner's area of expertise. They, therefore, need someone dedicated to handling an extremely important aspect of their business – the financials.
Yes, accountants play an important role in managing and compiling the financial data of a company, but on an even more foundational level, an accountant's role would be useless without the raw financial data to analyze and compile. This data is managed and recorded by accounting clerks.
Accounting clerks play an important role in closely monitoring every penny that comes into a business and that leaves a business. They are responsible for monitoring every single transaction that takes place, and they play an important role in essentially ensuring that a business always remains profitable.
To become an accounting clerk, you don't need any specific qualifications, but you may need some form of postsecondary certification. This does, however, differ between each company and the requirements they have for an accounting clerk.
For the most part, to become an accounting clerk, you would need to have your high school diploma, and a post-secondary certificate (while not always necessary, it does help in furthering your career growth and in upward mobility), and you would need direct industry experience.
Read along to find out everything you need to know about the career path of an accounting clerk and the steps you would need to follow to pursue this career.
What Is An Accounting Clerk?
Numbers play an integral role in any business or organization. And with this importance of numbers, it is equally important to have someone who is good with numbers to yield the greatest success in a business.
Accounting clerks play this role. They monitor and record all the financial numbers that pertain to a business, which ultimately will determine the success and profitability of the business. While they do closely assess the numbers all day, they do far more than just tally up the income and expenses.
It is up to the accounting clerk to make sure that all records pertaining to an organization's finances are up to date, recorded, and reported to their superiors such as senior accountants or the chief financial officer, depending on the size of the organization.
This means that no matter how small or how large a transaction is, an accounting clerk will be responsible for recording it. No amount of financial value will enter a business or leave a business without the knowledge of the accounting clerk.
While they may not have the power to authorize certain transactions, they do need to record the transaction for the overall financial results of the organization.
Considering the magnitude of the role that accounting clerks perform, it is expected that they garner some training and experience of what is expected of them in the role of an accounting clerk. They are expected to work closely with accounting software and accounting programs and they, therefore, need to have a basic understanding of the user interfaces and operating systems.
Accounting clerks are often seen to be more consistently busy than tax accountants who have busy periods around tax season. Accounting clerks are busy on a daily basis, and they are involved in executing tax processes and budgeting processes as well.
What Does An Accounting Clerk Do?
An accounting clerk meticulously monitors and records all money that comes into a business, and they do the same for all money that leaves the business. Whether it is day-to-day transactions, monthly transactions, quarterly transactions, or yearly transactions, accounting clerks monitor and record each one.
They execute bookkeeping duties and in recording and maintain all ledgers within an organization, they also play a large role in compiling the financial records that accountants use.
Over and above recording all transactions, when performing bookkeeping duties, accounting clerks may also be responsible for drafting and adhering to certain budgetary requirements, they may be responsible for doing payroll within an organization ensuring that internal employees are paid on time and accurately, and they are responsible for monitoring all accounts payable and receivable.
Steps To Become An Accounting Clerk
Step One: Obtain Your High School Diploma
The first step toward any career is completing your high school diploma. During your school career, it is important to focus on aspects of mathematics and computer literacy as these will be the minimum requirements you would need to become an accounting clerk.
Step Two: Obtain A Postsecondary Qualification
Many people regard the roles of accounting clerks as a steppingstone toward greater career prospects within the field of accounting, or because they are inclined to fulfilling the roles of an accounting clerk only.
Whatever the reason for holding a role as an accounting clerk, they are no necessary qualifications required for you to fulfill this role. However, If you are hoping to grow in the role and hope to further your career prospects and study further, obtaining a post-secondary certificate may be necessary.
You can also obtain a certification as a certified bookkeeper from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers.
Step Three: Gain Skills And Training
Working in an entry-level role, under the supervision and guidance of experienced accounting clerks and senior accountants will equip you with the skills and hands-on experience that you would need to successfully fulfill the role and execute the duties of an accounting clerk.
Step Four: Find A Long-Term Role
Once you have the experience and the required certification, you can then begin seeking a long-term job in which you can grow your career in the field of accounting.
How Much Does An Accounting Clerk Earn?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks earn a median annual salary of $46,560, and they earn a median hourly salary of $21.90. There is also a projected decline in the job outlook for these roles with an expected 5% decrease over the next decade.
Despite this projected decline, there will still be 197,600 job openings in the field to fill the roles of those leaving the workforce.
What Skills Do You Need To Be An Accounting Clerk?
You need a strong sense of integrity and honesty as you will be working closely with the finances of others. You would also need to be numerically inclined and meticulous in the duties you execute.
Is There Upward Mobility In The Role Of An Accounting Clerk?
For some, the role of an accounting clerk is the entry point and the first step in growing in the field of accounting. Provided you are studying further and obtaining higher qualifications, there is a high potential for growth in the field.
What Is The Career Path For An Accounting Clerk?
The career path would entail obtaining an entry-level role and receiving on-the-job training. Once you have garnered some form of experience, you will have the potential to move on to higher roles with greater responsibilities.
Is An Accounting Clerk The Same Thing As A Bookkeeper?
While both roles may essentially fulfill very similar duties, their title may differ depending on the organization and on the duties that are expected to be fulfilled in the organization.
As a means of getting your foot in the door, or as a way of fulfilling a permanent and full-time role, becoming an accounting clerk is a great prospect for those who are hoping to pursue accounting or who are happy with working with numbers and the financial intricacies of a business.
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