What does an Accounting Clerk do?

An accounting clerk is a financial record keeper who records and processes expenditures, receipts, payroll, and all other financial transactions for a company or organization using specialized ledgers and software. Math aptitude, attention to detail, familiarity with basic accounting procedures, and computer and ten-key proficiency are all required for this position. From entry-level accounting data entry clerks to full-charge bookkeepers, this field has a wide range of opportunities.

The primary responsibility of an entry-level accounting clerk is to provide clerical and accounting support to the accounting department. He is responsible for maintaining accurate records and files, as well as processing and mailing invoices and payments, typing reports, and entering data into a general ledger computer system. Success in this position requires flexibility and a willingness to perform a variety of support tasks.

In a large corporation, an accounting clerk may specialize in one or more areas, such as accounts payable (A/P), accounts receivable (A/R), or payroll. All expenditures, including company credit cards and employee reimbursement reports, will be updated and maintained an A/P clerk. He’ll handle vendor invoices, review and monitor early payment discounts in accordance with company policies, and make sure payments are sent on time. He’ll also be in charge of reconciling vendor statements and resolving any discrepancies with good communication skills.

In the accounts receivable department, an accounting clerk will prepare and submit customer invoices, as well as post and deposit receipts as they are paid. If the company has cash receipts, he will keep track of cash funds and deposits properly. It’s critical to enter receipt data accurately so that the A/R clerk can track a client’s payment history and prepare reports that show delinquent receipts. If the company offers a discount for early payments, he is responsible for keeping track of payment activity and ensuring that discounts are properly credited.

Accounting clerks are also used payroll departments to collect and process timecards, calculate taxes and other withholdings, and prepare payroll checks on time. He must ensure that timecards are accurate and that all applicable labor laws, such as breaks, hour limits for underage workers, and overtime, are followed. A payroll clerk should be familiar with the relevant tax laws because they may be asked to prepare reports and submit withholdings to the appropriate tax authorities and other designated recipients.

Most employers expect an accounting clerk to have a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as relevant experience or coursework in accounting. A candidate with an associate degree or related certification may be sought larger companies or those seeking more specialized assistance. An associate’s or bachelor’s degree, as well as several years of experience, are required for a senior accounting clerk. To evaluate data, analyze problems, and implement solutions, this position requires critical thinking skills. A senior clerk is usually in charge of cost accounting and inventory management, as well as monthly reports like profit and loss statements and balance sheets.

Smaller businesses may combine two or more of the specialized accounting clerk functions, or they may hire a bookkeeper to handle all of the financial transactions and record keeping. A full-charge bookkeeper is knowledgeable and skilled in all aspects of the business’s financial operations. It is necessary to be familiar with bookkeeping procedures, payroll requirements, and accounting reports. Because a bookkeeper interacts with vendors, customers, and employees on a regular basis, good communication and interpersonal skills are also important.