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Accounting Clerk: Job Description & Career Requirements

Research the educational and skill requirements needed to become an accounting clerk, as well as the job description and employment and salary outlook. Read on to decide if this career is right for you.

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Job Description

Accounting clerks are responsible for reviewing and maintaining accounting records. They enter balances and calculate interest on loans, bank accounts and credit accounts using accounting spreadsheets and databases. They must also review invoices and reconcile account statements, investigate any discrepancies and generate financial reports. Accounting clerks work for all different types of businesses, and their tasks tend to be more specialized with larger companies that employ large accounting departments. Their duties often include providing assistance to a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

Educational Requirements

Many accounting clerks earn associate's degrees in business or accounting, though some enter the field with only a high school diploma. Associate's degree programs focus on basic accounting procedures and skills in computerized accounting techniques. For those who have a high school diploma, accounting coursework from a postsecondary educational institution is often helpful, even without a degree. A bachelor's degree is not necessary for a career as an accounting clerk, though some clerks have bachelor's degrees and can move more quickly to senior accounting positions. Regardless of formal education, the majority of accounting clerks must complete a period of on-the-job training.

Certification Requirements

Certifications are available for accounting clerks. One may choose to become certified by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers as a certified bookkeeper. Additionally, the uniform bookkeeper certification exam is an online test administered by the National Bookkeepers Association.

Required Skills

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that accounting clerks had the following traits:

  • Math and detail-oriented skills
  • High ethical standards and professionalism, since they are often responsible for the banking and bookkeeping of a business
  • Familiarity with computer technology and knowledge of a variety of software programs related to the field
  • Ability to interact well with others

Employment and Salary Outlook

Accounting clerk jobs were projected to grow at an average rate compared to other professions, according to the BLS. The organization published an employment growth rate of 14% from 2010-2020 for all bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks. Many of the jobs available should be due to existing accounting clerks advancing to other positions or retiring. In May 2012, accounting, auditing and bookkeeping clerks earned a median salary of $35,170 per year, according to the BLS. The highest-paid accounting clerks (or top 10% of the field) earned $54,310 or more in the same year.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics