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Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

What Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks Do

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks produce financial records for organizations and check financial records for accuracy.

Work Environment

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work in offices and may do site visits. Some work part time.

How to Become a Bookkeeping, Accounting, or Auditing Clerk

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.

Pay

The median annual wage for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks was $41,230 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks is projected to decline 6 percent from 2019 to 2029. Technological change and automation are expected to reduce demand for these workers.

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks produce financial records for organizations. They record financial transactions, update statements, and check financial records for accuracy.

Duties

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks typically do the following:

  • 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), and 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.

The widespread use of computers also has enabled bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks to take on 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 clerks, also known as 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.

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.

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 case of major discrepancies, they typically notify senior staff, including accountants and auditors.

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks held about 1.7 million jobs in 2019. The largest employers of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services13%
Retail trade8
Wholesale trade8
Healthcare and social assistance7
Finance and insurance6

The professional, scientific, and technical services industry includes the accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services subindustry.

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.

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.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks.

 OccupationJob DutiesEntry-Level EducationMedian Annual Pay, May 2019

 

 

Accountants and Auditors

Accountants and auditors prepare and examine financial records.

Bachelor’s degree$71,550

 

 

Budget Analysts

Budget analysts help public and private organizations plan their finances.

Bachelor’s degree$76,540

 

 

Cost Estimators

Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to make a product or provide a service.

Bachelor’s degree$65,250

 

 

Financial Clerks

Financial clerks do administrative work, keep records, help customers, and carry out financial transactions.

High school diploma or equivalent$40,540

 

 

Loan Officers

Loan officers evaluate, authorize, or recommend approval of loan applications for people and businesses.

Bachelor’s degree$63,270

 

 

Tax Examiners and Collectors, and Revenue Agents

Tax examiners and collectors, and revenue agents determine how much is owed in taxes and collect tax from individuals and businesses on behalf of the government.

Bachelor’s degree$54,890

 

Bill and account collectors

 

Bill and Account Collectors

Bill and account collectors try to recover payment on overdue bills.

High school diploma or equivalent$37,000

 

 

Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents

Buyers and purchasing agents buy products and services for organizations. Purchasing managers oversee the work of buyers and purchasing agents.

Bachelor’s degree$69,600

 

Secretaries and administrative assistants

 

Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

Secretaries and administrative assistants perform routine clerical and administrative duties.

High school diploma or equivalent$39,850

 

Tellers

 

Tellers

Tellers are responsible for accurately processing routine transactions at a bank.

High school diploma or equivalent$31,230

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

American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers

National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers

O*NET

Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/bookkeeping-accounting-and-auditing-clerks.htm (visited ).