Becoming an Accounting Clerk

Do you have an aptitude for math and a keen eye for detail? Would you like a career that allows you to work with computers in an office setting? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, you might just be suited for a career as an accounting clerk.

Accounting Clerk Job Description
An accounting clerk is a clerical assistant who performs a wide range of functions to support the financial record keeping of bookkeepers and accountants. The clerk is charged with keeping detailed financial records for businesses and other organizations within an accounting department in a variety of settings, including:

  • accounting firms
  • banks
  • insurance companies
  • nonprofit organizations
  • government entities

Typical Daily Job Responsibilities
As a supporting role to an accountant, accounting clerks are often required to perform a number of tasks including handling records of incoming receipts, business expenditures, tax liabilities and payroll expenses. Besides record keeping, an accounting clerk’s other duties might include:

  • creating databases
  • reviewing financial documents for accuracy
  • producing income statements
  • receiving payments
  • handling payroll
  • purchasing and billing

As a working member of a busy accounting office, an accounting clerk may also be required to perform daily tasks indirectly associated with accounting. They may be asked to field general customer service questions, sort mail, answer incoming calls, and filing.

Qualifications to Become an Accounting Clerk
Anyone considering becoming an accounting clerk must have an aptitude for math and a general familiarity with accounting procedures. Other skills and characteristics that employers often look for include:

  • computer literacy
  • excellent oral and written communication
  • attention to detail
  • time management
  • planning and organization
  • interpersonal effectiveness
  • nonprofit organizations

Most people on this career path start with a high school diploma, although a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or a related field is preferred. Experience also will give accounting clerks an upper hand but typically one will learn the daily responsibilities on the job under the guidance of an accountant or full-charge bookkeeper.

Career Outlook for Accounting Clerks?
Like most fields, by taking specialized certification courses, an accounting clerk can advance his or her career. Certification by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers is proof of a higher level of proficiency with accounting procedures than would be expected of an entry-level clerk. This type of certification can require the applicant to have a certain number of years as an accounting clerk, to pass an exam and to adhere to a strict code of professional ethics. Accounting clerks can also, with enough experience, become accountants and auditors.

Openings for accounting clerks can be found in most businesses. The working environment is usually an office setting with the necessary access to computers, fax machines, phone lines and the Internet. Work hours for the typical accounting clerk are regular business hours. At times, however, some overtime might be expected during particular busy financial seasons.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median salary of $42,410, or $20.39 per hour for accounting clerks as of May 2020. These wages would increase as the clerk became more proficient and could handle more complex tasks.

If you’ve always been fascinated by numbers and you love computers, becoming an accounting clerk might be the ideal career choice. Of all the careers in accounting available, the accounting clerk may just have the most potential for advancement with the lowest starting requirements. With decent pay, advancement opportunities and a clean, professional work environment, this job has many benefits.

May 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics salary and job market trends for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks represent national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data Accessed May 2021.