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How to Become an Accounting Clerk

If you’re searching for a rewarding job in financial services, becoming an accounting clerk would be the perfect way to get your foot in the door. An accounting clerk works in the financial department of a company to manage financial records and data. This position requires strong data management and problem-solving skills.

An accounting clerk is responsible for running and reviewing financial reports to present to management for different ways to improve internal and external expenses. It is important that workers in this position understand basic accounting laws and regulations to avoid legal issues with a company’s funds or financial statements.

If you perform well as an accounting clerk, there are endless opportunities for growth and promotion. This entails maintaining a high level of integrity as you deal with sensitive information about the company and paying close attention to detail when you perform annual audits.

Sample job description

As our new accounting clerk, you will be working in the financial department of our company to assist in overseeing our financial documents and financial data. We will rely on you to find patterns or inconsistencies that can be made more efficient and cost effective within our expenditures. Some of your most commons tasks will include reviewing and organizing financial documents, working with our accounting software to find improvements in overhead spending and improve our bottom line, ensuring accounting laws and regulations are being followed as a company, submitting invoices, verifying receipts are accurate, conversing with clients regarding financial documents, and maintaining great financial records to protect from illegal use of funds. This is why having a high level of integrity is a must. If you possess these qualities and are looking for a fast-paced work environment where you will truly make a difference and hold a high level of responsibility, you could be the perfect fit for our open position at [Your Company Name]. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Review the company’s financial records and make the adjustments needed 
  • Keep the financial records organized
  • Run quarterly financial reports for management and present them 
  • Document financial transactions
  • Submit invoices 
  • Verify receipts 
  • Stay in contact with the clients
  • Deliver documents containing sensitive information
  • Integrate annual audits

Education and experience

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting or business preferred

Required skills and qualifications

  • Must be technically competent and have familiarity with accounting software as most of the work is done on the computer
  • Know the laws applicable to accounting and make sure your clients follow them 
  • Knowledge of Intuit QuickBooks
  • Strong mathematical skills
  • Technically competent
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Office 
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Detail-oriented 
  • Data management 
  • Integrity 
  • Ability to direct and implement policies 
  • Work well under pressure

Preferred qualifications

  • Account or bookkeeping certifications
  • Associate’s or bachelor’s degree in finance

Typical work environment

Accounting clerks typically work in an office setting as they do most of their work on a computer. When accounting clerks are not at their desks, they are meeting with clients, either in their own offices or at their clients’ offices.

Typical hours

Working hours of an accounting clerk are typically full-time, Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM. During their peak times, like tax season, end of the fiscal year, or during accounting audit periods, they may work longer hours and even through the weekend.

Steps to become an Accounting Clerk

Though an accounting clerk may be considered an entry-level position, getting certifications or taking online classes can be a good way to show you’re serious about your career and also provide you with better knowledge. Platforms like Udemy or Coursera have many financial classes to get you started quickly. Additionally, here are the most popular certifications for accounting clerks:

  • Certified Tax Preparer – To become a certified tax preparer, you will need at least 18 credits from an accredited university. Then, you will need to take an exam and pass it. Each year, you’ll need to complete continuing education credits.
  • Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB) – The CPB certification shows that you have the knowledge, skills, and ethics needed to be an accountant. To get this certification, you’ll need to pass the four-part exam, have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in accounting, have at least 2,000 hours of bookkeeping experience, and agree to abide by a code of professional conduct.
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA) – This certification demonstrates competency and can also raise hourly wages as it appeals to employers. To obtain this certification, you have to possess a bachelor’s degree, pass a licensing exam, and keep up to date with continuing education credits.

Career path

In order to become an accounting clerk, you need a high school diploma or equivalent. While you can still qualify with just a high school diploma, many places will prefer you to have either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in accounting, business, or finance. Any relevant job experience with accounting is applicable. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 43-3031

2020 Employment1,620,000
Projected Employment in 20301,571,900
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 3% decrease
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift48,100 decrease

Technology has advanced so much that they have now developed software that can complete tasks that your average bookkeeper used to do. Therefore, the industry needs fewer of those bookkeepers resulting in a decline of jobs in the next 10 years. 

Despite the decline, there will still be hundreds of thousands of job openings related to accounting available each year. Those job openings are a result of people leaving their job, changing careers, and those who are retiring. Obtaining certifications will help you retain your job and stand out from the rest of the crowd.