Accounting Clerks: Balancing the Books
No matter what industry or what size the company, every single organization requires someone to manage their accounts and finances. If you have a knack for numbers and computers, a career as an Accounting Clerk could be in order.
Many people assume you have to have a degree from a university to work in accounting. This is true if you want to be a certified accountant, but an accounting clerk does not necessarily need a degree from a university. There are many certifications, such as those discussed below, that will help you to obtain a position as an accounting clerk.
There are over 1.5 million Bookkeeper, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks in the U.S. and Dallas has a high concentration of people working in these positions compared to the rest of Texas. Accounting Clerks assist in the management of a business’s finances including payroll, invoicing, accounts receivable, banking, data entry, and filing.
The responsibilities of an Accounting Clerk is dependent on the workplace. In larger companies, you may work with an accounting team and specialize in a specific area such as payroll or accounts payable. If you work in a small business, you are more likely to work alone and have a wider range of responsibilities.
You will need to have superior customer service and communication skills if you wish to take on an Accounting Clerk position, as you will need to liaise with clients and vendors often about sensitive account and debt information. Attention to detail and mathematical skills are also a must, as you will need to ensure the accuracy of your organization’s financial records.
What is the job outlook for accounting clerks?
According to the May 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, there are 1,566,960 bookkeeper, accounting, and auditing clerks in the U.S. The Dallas-Plano-Irving area is the fifth-highest metropolitan employer of these positions, with 12.28 accounting clerk positions for every 1000 jobs. This shows a higher concentration of these positions in DFW, as the Texas average is 10.65 per 1000 jobs and Houston’s employment rates even lower with 10.2 per 1000 jobs. All up there are 125,140 in Texas, 29,830 of which are based in Dallas.
Breaking into a new field is an intimidating thought. Especially if you do not have much experience. However, given the amount of accounting clerk positions and those like it in the Texas area, it would be wise to give this career some thought if you think you’d like to work with numbers.
While it is expected that the number of positions available will decline over the next seven years, there are high numbers of these positions and the job outlook remains bright. According to CareerOneStop, there will still be 17,260 job openings for these positions in the US every year. It is very likely that there will continue to be new job opportunities arising as workers move into higher positions as they expand their skill set or leave the occupation through retirement, providing plenty of entry-level career opportunities.
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as the economic position of small businesses improves, demand for these roles will increase as these workplaces tend to employ in-house or contract bookkeepers and accounting clerks due to the lower cost associated with these positions in comparison to accountants.
So as you can see, job security for accounting clerks is high and so is the opportunity for promotion once you are in the field. These kinds of jobs also have a steady, 9-to-5 schedule. If your standard of living is a concern for you, but you also want to have better hours and more time with your family and children, that is another bonus a career in accounting could give you.
What technical skills do accounting clerks need?
According to CareerOneStop, 80% of people in these positions have a high school or tertiary education, but no degree, meaning this occupation provides perfect entry-level positions where you can build up your certifications over time to further your career options.
These positions involve extensive on-the-job training, and any practical experience such as externships or business simulations is highly desirable. These jobs can often involve a sink or swim mentality where you’ll be expected to hit the ground running. Therefore any previous experience you can get to make this easier will be highly desirable. The less time an employer feels they will need to spend training you, the more likely they are to hire you.
According to BLS, formal training is incredibly useful, especially in terms of the specialized computer software you will be required to use on a daily basis. With further education you have the option to take your skills further and become a certified bookkeeper or, alternatively, you can follow the management path and become an accounting manager.
According to a survey of accounting clerks by Payscale, people in these positions need to use a wide range of technical skills to undertake their key job responsibilities. Accounting Clerks who possessed General Ledger Accounting, Account Management, Banking, and Data Processing skills were more likely to have a higher wage.
At the top of the list for these positions are skills that relate to information technology. As an accounting clerk, you will need to spend the vast majority of your time on a computer, so you will need to be confident that you can easily learn the specific software required in your workplace and troubleshoot any problems that arise.
Not only will the certifications you obtain before you go out into the job market help you look more desirable on paper, but they will give you a huge confidence boost when interviewing for positions. You will be able to confidently tell a prospective employer you are the best candidate for the position because you have trained for certifications and proven you know what you’re doing.
Microsoft Office Suite:
For any administrative roles, you should be a Microsoft Office Suite (MOS) whizz. You need to solve any issues that come up for both yourself and other staff, and you should be able to create professional documents, spreadsheets, and powerpoints. A thorough understanding of Excel becomes increasingly important as you take on more responsibility for a business’s finances.
As well as excelling at Excel, you should be proficient in QuickBooks. Like MOS, QuickBooks is almost the industry standard when it comes to accounting software but it also helps to have an understanding of the new breed of online accounting apps too.
You need to have a thorough understanding of the various accounting methods that may be used in the workplace. You need to understand basic and business accounting, payroll administration, and how to read financial documents.
Business Methods & Procedures:
It will be expected that you understand what goes into running a business and it’s not enough to understand an organization’s procedures: you need to be able to understand why businesses implement those types of procedures are in place to begin with. You will need to have a basic understanding of regulations, taxation, ethics, communication tools, and marketing techniques so that you are able to apply your knowledge as necessary.
What positions are currently available for accounting clerks?
In the past month, Career Builder has listed 119 Accounting Clerk positions for Dallas Fort Worth, while Glassdoor had 66. Indeed was advertising 345 Accounting Clerk jobs for DFW on their site. To search for these types of positions, have a look for job titles that include some or all of the terms below.
- Account Clerks
- Auditing Clerk
- Accounting Assistant
- Accounting Associate
- Accounting Clerk
- Accounting Specialist
- Accounting Technician
- Accounts Payable Clerk
- Accounts Payable Specialist
- Accounts Payables Clerk
- Accounts Receivable Clerk
- Virtual Assistant
CCI Training Center is a great place for adults who are looking to make a life-changing decision. CCI knows that university is not for everyone, but that does not mean that those same people are not in search of a career they can have the same kind of upward mobility as someone with a degree.
CCI Training Center should be your first stop on the path to your new accounting position. Our class schedules are flexible and can fit into your work schedule. We offer classes year-round, so as soon as you are ready to start on your journey to a new career, a new class will be starting shortly.
Our highly trained and experienced instructors will work with you, helping you, to understand all the different processes and procedures you will need to pass the certification exams. Our instructors are currently working in, or have worked in, the fields they are teaching about. You know you are getting real-world information from your excellent teachers.
To find out more about how business and accounts skills can help you further your career and the type of jobs available to people with those skills, fill in the information request form or download our ebook here. CCI Training Center has an excellent administrative department that is ready to answer all of your questions so you are fully prepared to start getting the certifications that will lead to a new career in accounting.