bookkeeping clerks
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What is the Difference between Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks?

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks all have the same general purpose: To produce financial records for organizations. But there are key differences.

Bookkeeping clerks are responsible for the general ledger, while accounting clerks work within specific roles such as accounts receivable or payroll clerk. Auditing clerks check financial records for errors.

This career appeals to someone who wants a traditional job that allows them to make decisions based on systems and practices. Bookkeeping is a good career match for an ISFJ personality type.

Possible Job Titles

  • Account Clerk
  • Accounting Assistant
  • Accounting Associate
  • Accounting Clerk
  • Accounting Specialist
  • Accounting Technician
  • Accounts Payable Clerk
  • Accounts Payable Specialist
  • Accounts Payables Clerk
  • Accounts Receivable Clerk

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerk Job Description

They typically do the following tasks:

  • Use bookkeeping software, spreadsheets, and databases
  • Enter (post) financial transactions into the appropriate computer software
  • Receive and record cash, checks, and vouchers
  • Put costs (debits) and income (credits) into the software, assigning each to an appropriate account
  • Produce reports, such as balance sheets (costs compared with income), income statements, and totals by account
  • Check for accuracy in figures, postings, and reports
  • Reconcile or note and report any differences they find in the records

The records that bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work with include:

  • expenditures (money spent)
  • receipts (money that comes in)
  • accounts payable (bills to be paid)
  • accounts receivable (invoices, or what other people owe the organization)
  • profit and loss (a report that shows the organization’s financial health)

Workers in this occupation engage in a wide range of tasks. Some are full-charge bookkeeping clerks who maintain an entire organization’s books. Others are accounting clerks who handle specific tasks.

These clerks use basic mathematics (adding, subtracting) throughout the day.

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks use specialized computer accounting software, spreadsheets, and databases to enter information from receipts or bills.

They must be comfortable using computers to record and calculate data.

Employees in this field usually have additional responsibilities, such as payroll, billing, purchasing (buying), and keeping track of overdue bills. Many of these functions require clerks to communicate with clients.

Bookkeeping vs Accounting vs Auditing Clerks

What Do Bookkeeping Clerks Do?

bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks help companies with financial records.

Also called bookkeepers, often are responsible for some or all of an organization’s accounts, known as the general ledger. They record all transactions and post debits (costs) and credits (income).

They also produce financial statements and other reports for supervisors and managers.

Bookkeepers prepare bank deposits by compiling data from cashiers, verifying receipts, and sending cash, checks, or other forms of payment to the bank.

In addition, they may handle payroll, make purchases, prepare invoices, and keep track of overdue accounts.

Top Bookkeeping Jobs

See Accounting Resume Samples

Find a Job See Bookkeeping Job Boards

What Do Accounting Clerks Do?

Accounting clerks typically work for larger companies and have more specialized tasks.

Their titles, such as accounts payable clerk or accounts receivable clerk, often reflect the type of accounting they do.

The responsibilities of accounting clerks frequently vary by level of experience.

Entry-level accounting clerks may post details of transactions (including date, type, and amount), add up accounts, and determine interest charges.

They may also monitor loans and accounts to ensure that payments are up to date.

More advanced accounting clerks may add and balance billing vouchers, ensure that account data are complete and accurate, and code documents according to an organization’s procedures.

Top Accounting Clerk Jobs

Is Being a Bookkeeping, Accounting, or Auditing Clerk a Good Career?

O-NET Profiler Results

If your O-NET Interest Profiler results listed conventional and enterprising as your top job wants, a bookkeeping job might appeal to you. You can learn more about this free career test here. 

According to O-NET Interest Profiler categories, conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually, there is a clear line of authority to follow. 

Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects.

These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks have to make decisions based on established policies and procedures.

16 Personalities Career Test Match 

ISFJ

If your Meyers-Briggs personality type is ISFJ, a bookkeeper is a must-see on your list of possible occupations. As an ISFJ you love helping people and organizing information to increase understanding. You can take a free personality test at 16Personalities.

Being a bookkeeper gives you a chance to serve people one on one within a system that has strong protocols and procedures.

Top 5 Work Styles You Need to Have

  • Dependability —You need to be reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail — Know how to be careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Integrity — Must be honest and ethical.
  • Cooperation — Work well with others on the job and have a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Must be able to adapt to change.

Work Values Fulfilled by Being a Bookkeeping, Accounting, or Auditing Clerk

  • Support — Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks have supportive management that stands behind employees.
  • Relationships — Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.
  • Achievement — Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are results-oriented and employees can use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

What Do Auditing Clerks Do?

Auditing Clerks check figures, postings, and documents to ensure that they are mathematically accurate and properly coded.

For smaller errors, such as transcription errors, they may make corrections themselves. In the case of major discrepancies, they typically notify senior staff, including accountants and auditors.

Knowledge Needed

Customer and Personal Service

Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes:

  • assessing customer needs
  • meeting quality standards
  • evaluating customer satisfaction

Clerical 

Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.

Mathematics

Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Economics and Accounting 

Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.

English Language

Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

Where do Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerks Work?

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work in offices. Bookkeepers who work for multiple firms may visit their clients’ places of business.

They often work alone, but sometimes they collaborate with accountants, managers, and auditing clerks from other departments.

These professionals held about 1.7 million jobs in 2018.

Here’s the largest employers of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks.

Professional, scientific, and technical services13%
Retail trade9%
Wholesale trade7%
Healthcare and social assistance7%
Finance and insurance6%

Work Schedules

Most bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work full time.

They may work longer hours to meet deadlines at the end of the fiscal year, during tax time, or when monthly or yearly accounting audits are performed.

Most bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks need some postsecondary education and also learn some of their skills on the job.

They must have basic math and computer skills, including knowledge of spreadsheets and bookkeeping software.

How to Become a Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerk

Education

Employers generally require you to have some postsecondary education, particularly coursework in accounting.

However, some candidates can be hired with just a high school diploma.

Training

You can expect to get on-the-job training. Under the guidance of a supervisor or another experienced employee, new clerks learn how to do their tasks, such as double-entry bookkeeping.

In double-entry bookkeeping, each transaction is entered twice, once as a debit (cost) and once as a credit (income), to ensure that all accounts are balanced.

Some formal classroom training also may be necessary, such as training in specialized computer software. This on-the-job training typically takes around 6 months.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

You can become a Certified Bookkeeper (CB), through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. This shows that you have the skills and knowledge needed to carry out all bookkeeping tasks, including overseeing payroll and balancing accounts, according to accepted accounting procedures.

For certification, candidates must have at least 2 years of full-time bookkeeping experience or equivalent part-time work, pass a four-part exam, and adhere to a code of ethics.

The National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers offers the Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB) certification. To obtain the certification, candidates must pass the four-part Uniform Bookkeeper Certification Examination.

Bookkkeeping, Accounting and Auditing Clerk Salary

Half of all bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks was made more than $40,240 in May 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s about $19 an hour.

The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,260, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $61,650.

Professional, scientific, and technical services$42,560
Finance and insurance$41,720
Wholesale trade$41,170
Healthcare and social assistance$39,310
Retail trade$35,170

The average Bookkeeper salary in the United States is $43,352 as of February 26, 2020, but the range $38,043-$48,625.

Job Prospects: Declining Numbers but Bright Outlook

Employment of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks is projected to decline 4 percent from 2018 to 2028.

Technological change is expected to reduce demand for these workers. Software innovations, such as cloud computing, have automated many of the tasks performed by bookkeepers.

As a result, the same amount of bookkeeping work can be done with fewer employees, which is expected to lead to job losses for bookkeepers over the next 10 years.

Because bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks constitute a large occupation, there will be a large number of job openings from workers leaving the occupation. Thus, opportunities to enter the occupation should be plentiful, despite the slight projected decline in employment.

More Reading

For more information about bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, visit

American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers

National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers

Tax Preparers
Billing, Cost, and Rate Clerks    Bright Outlook  
Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks
Brokerage Clerks
Legal Secretaries

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook

O*NET in-it

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