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What Is the Difference Between a Cashier & an Accountant?

Depending on your individual interests and education level, there are many jobs available for those who enjoy working with numbers. Explore the similarities and differences between two of these positions: cashiers and accountants.

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Comparing Cashiers to Accountants

If you are in search of a position that involves working with money and utilizing your mathematical skills, there are options for almost every level of education and experience. Unsure of which path is right for you? Learn more about what it takes to work as a successful cashier and accountant. Both of these positions focus on money management, but in very different ways.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)*
Cashiers No formal educational credential $21,030 -1%
Accountants Bachelor's degree $69,350 10%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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  • Accounting with Computers, General
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  • Taxation, General

Responsibilities of Cashiers vs. Accountants

Although these positions may seem completely different from one another, the roles of cashier and accountant actually require many of the same core skills. Strong communication skills, math skills, attention to detail, and organizational skills are all essential to the daily duties performed by individuals in these positions. While accountants are required to be diligent in examining financial records and documents, cashiers must be diligent in keeping their cash register balanced at all times. Cashiers work primarily with the public in a retail setting, whereas accountants work with clients in offices or remotely. Another key difference between these roles are the hours worked. Cashiers can work flexible hours (either part-time or full-time), and nearly all accountants work full-time.

Cashiers

Grocery stores, clothing stores, and related establishments rely on the work of cashiers to help customers purchase products. There are no formal education requirements to work as a cashier, and all training is handled on-the-job. In a given day, cashiers are responsible for greeting customers, answering customer questions, ringing up items, and bagging all items purchased. Oftentimes, they are expected to process exchanges, as well as returns.

Cashiers can also perform the following duties:

  • Calculate the funds in their cash drawer.
  • Assist customers in finding merchandise.
  • Process store credit card applications.
  • Enroll customers in store reward programs.

Accountants

In general, accountants work with financial documents to ensure their accuracy. Whether working for the government, a major corporation, or a small business, individuals in this role are essential to the lawful reporting and maintenance of various kinds of financial records. To work in this career, one must obtain a relevant bachelor's degree (often in accounting), and earn a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification. Those who work as public accountants are responsible for consulting with clients, preparing taxes for individuals and businesses, and assisting in the preparation of financial documents that are required to be provided to potential investors.

Added tasks performed by accountants include:

  • Handle budgeting for businesses.
  • Work with businesses to help them prepare for various expenses.
  • Accurately maintain financial records for government agencies.
  • Decide strategies for improving profits.

Related Careers

If you are seeking positions that involve the same level of customer interaction as that of a cashier, you may also want to consider working as a customer service agent. Additionally, those who want to use their advanced math skills on a daily basis will also enjoy the role of an actuary.

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