Accounting assistants work under certified junior or senior accountants and help them maintain, record, process, update or reconcile various financial documents, such as profit and loss margins, billings, invoices, reimbursements, deposits and other documents. Also known as accounting clerks, these assistants are also responsible for ensuring accuracy on all financial documents and performing clerical accounting or bookkeeping duties.
Tasks of accounting assistants include verifying accuracy of amounts listed on documents, maintaining various financial records, organizing documents to proper accounts, reconciling bank statements and other records of the accounting/finance department, encoding information into accounting systems or computer programs, compiling routine numerical information, performing research, preparing purchase orders and contract payments, printing and checking details of checks regularly, and recommending changes to finance-related department/company policies and practices.
Most accounting assistants also perform clerical duties, such as operating office equipments, filing, typing or sorting mail. Some are assigned to help human resources in training entry-level staff, while others are only responsible for accounting duties. The duties of accounting assistants usually vary depending on the size of company.
Education and Training Requirements
This is an entry-level position, so most employers require candidates to obtain a bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or a business-related field. Accounting assistants usually get this job to have office experience needed to become a certified accountant. Larger companies may require candidates to have at least a 1-year accounting experience.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements
To have an edge in this field, one must have extensive knowledge of bookkeeping principles and practices, effective written and verbal communication skills, business mathematics and accounting skills, interpersonal skills, advanced computer knowledge, and an understanding of fiscal record keeping. He/she must also be detail-oriented, organized, and work well independently and as part of a team.
Accounting assistants work in an office setting with a standard 40-hour week. Sometimes, they may be assigned to complete some of their work at home. If they work in government agencies or public accounting firms, these assistants may be asked to travel frequently to assist accountants in auditing businesses or branches of a company. If they work with a freelance accountant, these assistants may have to work longer hours. If they are employed by a tax specialist, work hours during tax season are longer.
The average salary of accounting assistants is $46,000. Factors such as location, company size, industry, experience, benefits and education could affect the salaries of accounting assistants.