Accounts Receivable Specialist Jobs: Career Options and Requirements

Accounts receivable specialists require little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties and certification information to see if this is the right career for you.

An accounts receivable clerk typically does not require more than a high school diploma for entry-level work, although some employers might prefer candidates who have taken at least a few postsecondary courses in related subjects, such as bookkeeping, tax laws, and fixed assets. There are a few different areas an accounts receivable clerk might specialize in, including accounting, bookkeeping and auditing.

Essential Information

Professionals in accounts receivable generally work in financial recordkeeping, with varying requirements based on the area of specialty. Such areas of specialty may include clerk positions in bookkeeping, auditing or accounting. Accounts receivable clerks typically work at private companies, nonprofits, and governments, complying with established policies and procedures to ensure accurate and effective administrative and financial operations.

Education requirements for this position are minimal, at the equivalent of a high school diploma, although employers may prefer job candidates who have taken postsecondary coursework in areas related to accounting and finance. Voluntary certification is also available for accounts receivable specialists.

Required Education GED or high school diploma at minimum; some postsecondary coursework may be preferred
Certification Voluntary
Recommended Skills Knowledge of computer systems and spreadsheet databases; strong math skills; ability to adhere to confidentiality rules; ability to spot and fix errors quickly
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) -8% for all bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks*
Median Salary (2016) $39,877 for accounts receivable specialists**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,**PayScale.com.

Job Description

These professionals primarily report to the assistant senior administrative officer and job duties may include processing and monitoring payments, expenditures, and running the payroll system. Clerks in this area also help companies keep finances up-to-date and make sure that all payments are paid and received in a timely fashion.

Billing, cost, or rate clerks also work in accounts receivable, compiling data, computing fees and charges, and preparing invoice for billing purposes. These clerks must be able to use modern technology to compute and calculate the cost of goods, services, and shipment of goods while keeping records through spreadsheets and filing methods.

Job Requirements

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most employers require that accounts receivable specialists, including those in bookkeeping, auditing, and accounting, have a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as accounting experience or coursework. The BLS also notes that prospective specialists may consider earning a degree in a related area, such as business, accounting, or bookkeeping. Potential coursework in these programs typically includes fixed assets, tax laws, bookkeeping, liabilities, and statistics.

Prospective accounts receivable specialists may also benefit from an accounts receivable certification. These may be earned at two-year schools or through organizations, such as the International Accounts Receivable Professionals or the Accounts Receivable Network. Individuals with at least two years of bookkeeping experience may consider the Certified Bookkeeper designation, which is available through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. Continuing education for certified bookkeepers is required every three years.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the BLS, the employment of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks was projected to decline by 8% during the 2014-2024 decade. PayScale.com published in 2016 that the median annual salary earned by accounts receivable specialists was $39,877.

It is strongly recommended that accounts receivable clerks possess a few essential skills, including excellent math skills, an understanding of computers and spreadsheet programs, and a keen eye for detail in order to quickly spot and fix errors. Earning an accounts receivable certification could also be beneficial and increase an individual's employability.


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