If you asked someone “what is an Accounts Clerk?” the answer you might get will probably be a something like “a junior accountant”, “bookkeeper” or “ledger clerk”. On the face of it the job title is fairly descriptive. However the role can be very varied dependent on the sector in which you seek to be employed in.
So if you are wondering how to choose a career in accounts finance; perhaps this page can show you how to become an accounting clerk and help identify a suitable accounting career path.
What Is An Accounts Clerk And What Do They Do?
What skills and qualities will you require as an accounts trainee?
Generally the accounts clerk role at an entry level is a post for those who wish to pursue an accountant career. The most important requirement for any role in finance accounts jobs is self-confidence with Maths and good computer skills. Accuracy is a very important aspect of the role, so you must be a stickler for detail.
Most accounts jobs will require using a computer. A good knowledge of spreadsheet and database packages such as SAGE, Microsoft Excel and Access is very useful.
Junior clerks usually perform tasks such as data entry, processing invoices and paperwork, maintaining information files and general office duties; so having previous office experience is of great advantage.
The most important qualities that you will be required to demonstrate in an accounts role are:
Attention to Detail — as an error can have severe repercussions, you must be careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Analytical Thinking — you will need to be able to analyse information.
Reliability — you will need to be honest, trustworthy and display integrity.
What qualifications and experience will you require to be an accounts clerk?
In this troubled economic period, many people are choosing to ‘earn as they learn’ rather than go to university. This could mean either taking up an apprenticeship or simply knocking on doors to find an employer willing to take you on and allow you to study whilst working.
As we have stated above, an accounts assistant post is an excellent method of gaining entry into an accountancy career if you don’t have the necessary qualifications to go to university.
In the UK many employers will encourage junior clerks to undertake part-time studies at a college or support them in gaining an ‘on the job’ work-based vocational qualification such as an NVQ (National Vocational Qualification).
Recommended qualifications for an Accounts Clerk
Some recommended qualifications you may consider when deciding on finance accounts jobs are:
- AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) Level 2 Award in Book-keeping
- IAB (International Association of Bookkeepers) Certificates in Book-keeping or Computerised Book-keeping at levels 1 and 2
- ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) Level 1 Certificate in Basic Bookkeeping or Level 2 in Manual or Computerised Bookkeeping
- City & Guilds Certificates in Bookkeeping and Accounts.
- NVQ Level 2 in Accounting
- OCR (Oxford Cambridge & RSA Examinations) Certificate in Bookkeeping and Levels 2 and 3 Certificates in Accounting
As you gain more skills and experience, you can further your career by gaining more advanced qualifications such as:
- AAT Accounting Qualification at Foundation, Intermediate and Technician levels
- IAB Level 3 Diplomas in Accounting and Advanced Bookkeeping or Computerised Accounting
- ICB Level 3 Diploma in Bookkeeping (Manual or Computerised)
- NVQ levels 3 and 4 in Accounting
What is the next stage in my accounts career?
The natural progression from a junior or assistant is to become an accounts clerk or bookkeeper. This role involves keeping financial records and helping to prepare accounts for an organisation or business.
You might be required to balance the company’s books, record how much money the company is bringing in, how much the company spends and complete the company’s taxes.
An accounts clerk’s duties can include:
- balancing accounts or what is commonly known as double entry book-keeping
- checking that accounts are accurate
- completing tax returns
- helping to prepare final accounts, such as profit and loss accounts, balance sheets, processing sales invoices, receipts and payments
- preparing statements that show the company or department’s income and outgoings
- preparing wages and processing expenses claims
- giving administrative support to accountants
- using computerised accounting systems
Career progression from your accounts clerk role
In larger organisations or companies, you might work as part of an accounting team and specialise in one area such as sales, purchase ledger, payroll or credit control. However if you are employed in a small business you might be expected to do all of these tasks and also handle cash.
As a senior accounts clerk, once you have reached AAT Technician level or NVQ Level 4, you will be a qualified accounting technician able to produce financial reports and assist an accountant with audits. The choice of qualification you require to become a fully qualified accountant in the UK are
- ACA Associated Chartered Accountant
- ACCA Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
- CIMA Chartered Institute of Management Accountants
Why Choose Accountancy as a Career?
The fact is that the image of the boring, dull people sitting behind a desk in a mundane environment is far from the truth. The benefits of an accountancy qualification are proven.
Most CEOs of large companies hold accountancy qualifications. AAT members work in all levels of business – from law firms, the music industry or professional football clubs. The opportunities are vast.
Useful websites you might wish to view are:
AAT Recruitment Service Website
How much can I earn as an accountant?
When you consider how many CEOs of major corporations hold accountancy qualifications; the earning capacity of someone is very wide and varied. Use the salary checker we have provided to find out how much an accounts assistant, finance clerk and accountant can earn in your area or country.
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