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Difference Between Accountant & Accounting Technician

Accountants and accounting technicians both work with financial data. There are significant differences in how much training is required for these careers, and this article also explores some of the other differences in their responsibilities.

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Comparing Accountants to Accounting Technicians

Accountants and accounting technicians are involved with the financial matters of their clients or employers and work in similar environments. The scope of an accountant's responsibility is greater than those of an accounting technician. While accounting technicians input financial data and produce reports, accountants review reports and ensure they are accurate and that relevant financial laws or regulations are followed.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary* (2016) Job Outlook* (2014-2024)
Accountant Bachelor's degree $68,150 for Accountants and Auditors 11% for Accountants and Auditors
Accounting Technician Postsecondary training or on-the-job training $38,390 for Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks -8% for Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Accountants vs Accounting Technicians

Accounting technicians deal with financial transactions. Their work involves updating records with payments received and expenses and balancing those accounts. Accountants work with finances on a wider level. They may be responsible for preparing corporate taxes, assessing a company's budget or identifying problems with the financial records of an individual client or a corporation. While math skills are an asset for both accountants and accounting technicians, accountants also need to be aware of the financial or tax regulations that apply to their clients.

Accountant

Accountants work with financial records. Some may specialize as tax accountants while others may oversee a wide range of financial information for businesses, organizations or governments. A bachelor's degree in accounting or a similar subject is required to become an accountant. Although certification isn't always necessary, it may appeal to potential employers and increase job prospects. Some accountants can advance to become financial managers or executives after gaining work experience. Accountants primarily work in an office environment, and although they may typically work standard business hours, they may need to work evenings and weekends when facing budget or tax deadlines.

Job responsibilities of an accountant include the following:

  • Review financial data
  • Check data for accuracy
  • Calculate the amount of taxes that need to be paid
  • Identify cost-saving measures
  • Make sure financial records comply with applicable regulations
  • Meet with clients

Accounting Technician

Accounting technicians may work under the supervision of an accountant. They are responsible for updating financial records and may also handle some other financial transactions. There are no mandatory educational requirements to become an accounting technician. It is possible to enter this field with a high school diploma and learn through on-the-job training, although computer skills are an asset and prospective accounting technicians may also benefit from taking courses in math and accounting. Some level of postsecondary education is typically expected by employers. Accounting technicians work in office environments, and may work typical weekday hours most of the time.

Job responsibilities of an accounting technician include:

  • Update computer records with financial data
  • Keep records of money received
  • Update documents with expenses
  • Review data for accuracy
  • Get information from clients

Related Careers

Another career option for aspiring accountants is to become a bank financial analyst, since bank financial analysts also assess finances. For those thinking about becoming accounting technicians, another career option is to become a payroll clerk. These clerks also perform calculations and deductions to determine how much employees should be paid.

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