Accounting Clerk
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Occupation Overview

The first bookkeeping records date back to 3000 B.C. Since that time, computerization has drastically changed the appearance of bookkeeping records, but the objective is the same: to represent the financial status of a company or organization. The Accounting Clerk occupation can be considered to be an Information Technology (IT) career because these workers rely very heavily on computer programs such as QuickBooks or PeachTree to perform their job.

Accounting Clerks keep systematic records of financial transactions, which are a vital part of any business, whether it's a retail business, wholesale business, hospital, school, or charitable organization. It is in this documentation that one finds a statement of the assets and liabilities, as well as the profits and losses for the organization. These records also contain detailed information on goods and services bought and sold, payments received, and payments outstanding. These records are used to prepare income tax returns and financial reports.

Many Accounting Clerks spend most of their time managing the daily accounting tasks for a company, such as data entry and invoice processing. Today computer skills are just as important as accounting knowledge in entry-level jobs, making this a good choice for people who already posses computer skills.

Turnover in this field is higher than average, creating new opportunities for individuals seeking a new job or advancement in the field. And there are typically opportunities for contract or temporary work as an Accounting Clerk. This occupation has not been affected as much as many other occupations in the Bay Area by the recent economic downturn, but there has still been a decline in the number of jobs available, and salaries may have dropped a little.


Future Growth Opportunities

Opportunities for Advancement:
Accounting Clerk II, Junior Accountant, Supervisor (in Billing, Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable or Payroll), Office Manager and Department Head.

Advancement to other positions, such as Accountant, requires further education.

Skills Transferable to:
Shipping and Receiving Clerk, Typist, Cashier, Tax Preparer, Office Assistant, Collection Worker, Insurance Policy Processor, and Bank Teller.


Job Descriptions

Accounting Clerks often perform both accounting and bookkeeping tasks. They use computer databases to record business transactions and periodically prepare summary statements or send out bills. These summaries contain facts such as who has been billed, for what, and what payments have been received. In addition to entering data in the computer, Accounting Clerks verify the data.

Tools used for this work include computer spreadsheets (like Lotus 1-2-3 and Excel) and databases (like QuickBooks, PeachTree, Great Plains and Oracle). It almost goes without saying that excellent computer skills are a necessity for this occupation.

Most Accounting Clerks work in pleasant office environments. The work can be repetitive in large companies where an individual is given one or two tasks to master. Clerks often work under close supervision.
Fiscal deadlines, such as the end of a quarter and the end of a year, drive the accounting function. At these times, pressure to complete work will increase and might require working extra hours. At other times, the pace of work is steady.

There are different types of Accounting Clerks, with slightly different job focuses. For instance, Accounts/Payable Clerks focus on paying bills for expenses their organization incurs. Accounts/Receivable Clerks focus on sending out bills to their customers and recording payments when they are received. In smaller companies, a Bookkeeper can be responsible for handling all of the books for the organization.

It's possible to show one's commitment to their work, and increase their chances of promotion, by continuing to take training classes in this field.

Entry Level: $6 - 16 / hour ($10 / hour average)

Experienced, New to Job: $7 - 20 / hour ($12 / hour average)

Experienced in Job: $8 - 30 / hour ($15 / hour average)

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