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How to Become an Accounts Receivable Clerk

If you’re looking for a career in accounting, a position as an accounts receivable clerk would be the perfect opportunity to begin your profession. To be successful in this position, you must be detail-oriented, have good problem-solving skills, and a strong understanding of accounting practices and regulations.

As an accounts receivable clerk, you will be responsible for processing incoming payments and generating financial statements that specifically deal with the accounts receivable status. This job is an entry-level position that allows workers to demonstrate their ability to manage and solve problems pertaining to the billing cycle.

This career opportunity requires good communication skills as you work with clients about past-due accounts and billing discrepancies. It is important for individuals in this position to keep an accurate accounts receivable ledger to make sure all payments are accounted for and posted correctly. 

Sample job description

The accounts receivable clerk is responsible for maintaining the accuracy of the company’s accounts receivable records. They will ensure that all payments are entered and documented correctly, and will work with customers and management to resolve any billing issues. The accounts receivable clerk is also responsible for various tasks related to the billing cycle. These include resolving discrepancies between invoices and payment receipts, preparing invoices and other billing documents, and maintaining accurate customer records. They must also be able to effectively communicate with customers and management in order to resolve any billing issues. The ideal candidate for this position has excellent customer service skills, is proficient in computer usage, and has at least one year of experience in an accounts receivable role.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Process incoming payments in compliance with financial policies and procedures
  • Reconcile the accounts receivable ledger to ensure that all payments are accounted for and correctly posted
  • Generate financial statements and reports detailing the accounts receivable status
  • Audit ledgers to ensure they contain the correct information, such as billing addresses and invoice numbers
  • Initiate collections on past-due accounts
  • Communicate with clients about billing discrepancies and questions

Education and experience

  • This position requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related discipline

Required skills and qualifications

  • Solid understanding of accounting, fair credit practices, and collection regulation
  • Proven ability to calculate, post and manage accounting figures and financial records
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office and accounting software
  • Data entry skills along with a knack for numbers
  • A high degree of accuracy and attention to detail
  • Excellent communication and problem-solving skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting
  • Minimum one year of experience in accounts receivable
  • Exceptional customer service skills
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Proficient computer skills, including Microsoft Office Suite
  • Knowledge of accounts receivable software

Typical work environment

The accounts receivable clerk typically works in an office environment and may be required to work overtime depending on the company’s needs.

The job of an accounts receivable clerk is to ensure that all payments are entered and documented correctly. They also work with customers and management to resolve any billing issues.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for an accounts receivable clerk will be from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, in an office setting. However, longer or different hours may be necessary, depending on the needs and hours of an individual company.

Available certifications

Though it’s not required to have a certain certification for this position, some may choose to receive one in order to stand out from the rest of the applicants. A popular certification is:

  • The Certified Public Accountant (CPA) – The CPA designation identifies accounting professionals who meet eligibility requirements, including passing a rigorous examination. CPAs are licensed to provide assurance services, such as audits and reviews, as well as other services.

Career path

The first step to becoming an accounts receivable clerk is to earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or related field. Beyond that, candidates can gain skills and accreditation by earning accounting certifications like the IOFM Accounts Receivable Certification.

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

The accounts receivable field is continually evolving. Rather than being regarded as a back-office function, accounts receivable departments are starting to be viewed in a more strategically important way than in the past. Along with depending on this department for its traditional function, companies will be looking to accounts receivable departments to supply essential data.