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What Is the Difference Between an Accounting Clerk and a Bookkeeper?

Oct 02, 2019

This article compares and contrasts bookkeeping and accounting clerk careers. Learn about the educational requirements, salary, job duties, and expected job growth for each.

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The Difference between a Bookkeeper and an Accounting Clerk

The difference between a bookkeeper and an accounting clerk is their assigned function in the financial department of many companies. An accounting clerk is often responsible for making sure the financial information for a business is accurate. On the other hand, a bookkeeper is commonly more focused on analyzing these numbers and determining what they might mean for the company.

Job Title Educational Requirements Annual Average Salary (2019)* Job Outlook (2018-2028)**
Bookkeeper Postsecondary education $34,861 -4% (bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks)
Accounting Clerk Postsecondary education $34,526 (account clerk) -4% (bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks)

Sources: *Glassdoor.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of a Bookkeeper vs. Accounting Clerk

Bookkeepers and accounting clerks both process invoices and payments. They can both be responsible for generating financial reports that the company may need to conduct certain business. However, the bookkeeper will handle accounts more in-depth than an accounting clerk, analyzing those number. The accounting clerk is generally seen to deal with more of the administrative duties.

Bookkeeper

Bookkeepers often oversee the main functions within a financial department. They might pay monthly bills, track the deductions, and need to understand the finances for the company. Bookkeepers often analyze the financial information so the company can use it to make business plan decisions. In order to perform these job tasks a strong knowledge in Quick Books and MS-Excel is typically necessary. A bookkeeper often manages the pay rate changes and benefit changes for all employees, while overlooking payroll. Furthermore, bookkeepers balance and record financial statements, with financial reports including total assets, total revenue, expenses, and losses being run during different periods in the year.

  • Organize accounts
  • Record debits and credits
  • Make purchases for a business
  • Prepare invoices
  • Communicate with managers
  • Maintain positive relationships with employees

Accounting Clerk

Accounting clerks are often found employed with large companies, working with a team of other accounting employees, in areas such as accounts payable or accounts receivable, which determines their accounting tasks. They need to understand Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). This knowledge will help them perform accounting job duties, such as posting payments and journaling debits and credits. They often keep ledgers up-to-date, process payments, settle bank statements and keep well documented records. Maintaining financial records and gathering information to produce financial statements will be another job task accounting clerks often fulfill for a company.

  • Post updates to transactions
  • Calculate interest charges
  • Code documents
  • Post payments to accounts
  • Communicate with customers and vendors
  • Use computers and various types of software

Related Careers

If you are interested in a career in bookkeeping or as an accounting clerk, you may also be interested in careers such as bank teller or administrative assistant. If you want to know about these professions, there are links provided below.

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