Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks Career Information
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Nature of the WorkBookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
are an organization's financial recordkeepers. They update and maintain one
or more accounting records, including those that tabulate expenditures, receipts,
accounts payable and receivable, and profit and loss.
They have a wide range of skills and knowledge, from full-charge bookkeepers,
who can maintain an entire company's books, to accounting clerks who handle
specific accounts. All of these clerks make numerous computations each day and
increasingly must be comfortable using computers to calculate and record data.
In small establishments, bookkeeping clerks handle all financial transactions and recordkeeping. They record all transactions, post debits and credits, produce financial statements, and prepare reports and summaries for supervisors and managers. Bookkeepers also prepare bank deposits by compiling data from cashiers, verifying and balancing receipts, and sending cash, checks, or other forms of payment to the bank. They also may handle the payroll, make purchases, prepare invoices, and keep track of overdue accounts.
In large offices and accounting departments, accounting clerks have more specialized tasks. Their titles often reflect the type of accounting they do, such as accounts payable clerk or accounts receivable clerk. In addition, responsibilities vary by level of experience. Entry-level accounting clerks post details of transactions, total accounts, and compute interest charges. They also may monitor loans and accounts, to ensure that payments are up to date.
More advanced accounting clerks may total, balance, and reconcile billing vouchers; ensure completeness and accuracy of data on accounts; and code documents, according to company procedures. They post transactions in journals and on computer files and update these files when needed. Senior clerks also review computer printouts against manually maintained journals and make necessary corrections. They also may review invoices and statements to ensure that all information is accurate and complete, and reconcile computer reports with operating reports.
Auditing clerks verify records of transactions posted by other workers. They check figures, postings, and documents for correct entry, mathematical accuracy, and proper codes. They also correct or note errors for accountants or other workers to adjust.
As organizations continue to computerize their financial records, many bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks use specialized accounting software on personal computers. They increasingly post charges to accounts on computer spreadsheets and databases, as manual posting to general ledgers is becoming obsolete. These workers now enter information from receipts or bills into computers, which is then stored either electronically, as computer printouts, or both. Widespread use of computers also has enabled bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks to take on additional responsibilities, such as payroll, procurement, and billing. Many of these functions require these clerks to write letters, make phone calls to customers or clients, and interact with colleagues. Therefore, good communication skills are becoming increasingly important.
EmploymentBookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks held about 2 million jobs in 2009. Although they can be found in all industries and levels of government, a growing number work for personnel supply firms, the result of an increase in outsourcing of this occupation. Approximately 1 out of 4 bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks worked part time in 2009.
Job Outlookis expected in the employment of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks through 2012. Virtually all job openings will stem from replacement needs. Each year, numerous jobs will become available as these clerks transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. The large size of this occupation ensures plentiful job openings, including many opportunities for temporary and part-time work, even though turnover is lower than for other clerical jobs.
Although a growing economy will result in more financial transactions and other activities that require these clerical workers, the continuing spread of office automation will lift worker productivity and contribute to the lack of growth in employment. In addition, organizations of all sizes will continue to consolidate various recordkeeping functions, thus reducing the demand for these clerks. Specialized clerks will be in much less demand than those who can do a wider range of accounting activities. Demand for full-charge bookkeepers is expected to increase as they are called upon to do much of the work of accountants. Those with several years of accounting or bookkeeper certification will have the best job prospects.
In May 2009, the median wage and salary annual earnings of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks were $28,570. The middle half of the occupation earned between $22,960 and $35,450. The top 10 percent of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks more than $43,570, and the bottom 10 percent earned less than $18,580.
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work with financial records. Other workers who perform similar duties include accountants and auditors; bill and account collectors; billing and posting clerks and machine operators; brokerage clerks; credit authorizers, checkers, and clerks; payroll and timekeeping clerks; procurement clerks; and tellers.
For information on the Certified Bookkeeper designation, contact:
- American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, 6001 Montrose Rd., Suite 500, Rockville, MD 20852. Internet: http://www.aipb.org