Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks produce financial records for organizations and check financial records for accuracy.
What they do
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks produce financial records for organizations. They record financial transactions, update statements, and check financial records for accuracy.
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 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.
How to become a Bookkeeping, Accounting, and 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.
Employers generally require bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks to have some postsecondary education, particularly coursework in accounting. However, some candidates can be hired with just a high school diploma.
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks usually 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.
Some bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks become certified. For those who do not have postsecondary education, certification is a particularly useful way to gain expertise in the field. The Certified Bookkeeper (CB) designation, awarded by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, shows that those who have earned it have the skills and knowledge needed to carry out all bookkeeping tasks, including overseeing payroll and balancing accounts, according to accepted accounting procedures.
The median annual wage for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks was $41,230 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,870, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $62,410.
Employment of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks is projected to decline 6 percent from 2019 to 2029.
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.
With more automation of routine tasks, bookkeepers are expected to take on a more analytical and advisory role over the decade. For example, rather than entering data by hand, bookkeepers will focus on analyzing their clients’ books and pointing out potential areas for efficiency gains.
Similar 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
Tax Preparer; Billing, Cost and Rate Clerk, Payroll and Timekeeping Clerk, Brokerage Clerk, Legal Secretary
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
· American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers - This organization seeks to recognize bookkeeping as a profession, keep professional bookkeepers current on rules, regs and procedures and offer professional education to expand skills, knowledge and marketability.
- American Institute of CPAs - AICPA represents the CPA profession nationally regarding rule-making and standard-setting, and serves as an advocate before legislative bodies, public interest groups and other professional organizations.
- National Bookkeepers Association - Members of this organization are generally bookkeeping employees of small business and nonprofit organizations.
- National Society of Accountants – This organization’s objective is to create and maintain a professional, membership-oriented, societal environment in which membership is imperative to support the growth and continued evolution of a responsible and successful professional.
Magazines and Publications
- com - Bookkeeping
- Journal of Accountancy
- Accounting Today Magazine
- Accountancy Daily Magazine
- The Accountant Online
It takes detail orientation, math skills, and personal integrity to run the numbers for an entire organization… or even a small part of one. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks bring those qualities to work producing financial records… so that organizations know exactly how much money they’ve spent, what is owed to them, and their total profits and losses. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks use specialized computer accounting software to enter information from receipts or bills. They may handle payroll, billing, purchasing, and monitor overdue bills. Effective bookkeeping requires regular communication with clients as well. Some clerks are full-charge bookkeepers who oversee an entire organization’s books. Others, especially at larger companies, are accounting clerks who handle specific tasks. They all use basic math throughout the day. Most bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work full time, in offices, although part-time schedules are not uncommon. Additional hours may be required for audits, during tax season, or to meet end-of-fiscal-year deadlines. Although a high school diploma or equivalent is required, most employers prefer candidates with some college coursework in accounting. On-the-job training can last up to one year. Clerks must have basic math and computer skills, including knowledge of spreadsheets and bookkeeping software.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org