Accounting Clerks: Balancing the Books

ba-spot-account-featuredNo matter what industry or what size the company, every single organization requires someone to manage their accounts and finances. If you have a knack for numbers and computers, a career as an Accounting Clerk could be in order.

There are over 1.5 million Bookkeeper, Accounting and Auditing Clerks in the U.S. and Dallas has a high concentration of people working in these positions compared to the rest of Texas. Accounting Clerks assist in the management of business’s finances including payroll, invoicing, accounts receivable, banking, data entry, and filing.

The responsibilities of an Accounting Clerk is dependent on the workplace. In larger companies, you may work with an accounting team and specialize in a specific area such as payroll or accounts payable. If you work in small business, you are more likely to work alone and have a wider range of responsibilities.  

You will need to have superior customer service and communication skills if you wish to take on an Accounting Clerk position, as you will need to liaise with clients and vendors often about sensitive account and debt information. Attention to detail and mathematical skills are also a must, as you will need to ensure the accuracy of your organization’s financial records.

What is the job outlook for accounting clerks?

According to the May 2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, there are 1,566,960 bookkeeper, accounting, and auditing clerks in the U.S. The Dallas-Plano-Irving area is the fifth highest metropolitan employer of these positions, with 12.28 accounting clerk positions for every 1000 jobs. This shows a higher concentration of these positions in DFW, as the Texas average is 10.65 per 1000 jobs and Houston’s employment rates even lower with 10.2 per 1000 jobs. All up there are 125,140 in Texas, 29,830 of which are based in Dallas.

While it is expected that the number of positions available will decline over the next seven years, there are high numbers of these positions and the job outlook remains bright. According to CareerOneStop, there will still be 17,260 job openings for these positions in the US every year. It is very likely that there will continue to be new job opportunities arising as workers move into higher positions as they expand their skillset or leave the occupation through retirement, providing plenty of entry-level career opportunities. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as the economic position of small businesses improves, demand for these roles will increase as these workplaces tend to employ in-house or contract bookkeepers and accounting clerks due to the lower cost associated with these positions in comparison to accountants.

What technical skills do accounting clerks need?

According to CareerOneStop, 80% of people in these positions have high school or tertiary education, but no degree, meaning this occupation provides perfect entry-level positions where you can build up your certifications over time to further your career options.  

These positions involve extensive on-the-job training, and any practical experience such as externships or business simulations is highly desirable. These jobs can often involve a sink or swim mentality where you’ll be expected to hit the ground running. Therefore any previous experience you can get to make this easier will be highly desirable.

According to BLS, formal training is incredibly useful, especially in terms of the specialized computer software you will be required to use on a daily basis. With further education you have the option to take your skills further and become a certified bookkeeper or, alternatively, you can follow the management path and become an accounting manager.

According to a survey of accounting clerks by Payscale, people in these positions need to use a wide range of technical skills to undertake their key responsibilities. Accounting Clerks who possessed General Ledger Accounting, Account Management, Banking, and Data Processing skills were more likely to have a higher wage.

At the top of the list for these positions are skills that relate to information technology. As an accounting clerk, you will need to spend the vast majority of your time on a computer, so you will need to be confident that you can easily learn the specific software required in your workplace and troubleshoot any problems that arise.

Microsoft Office Suite: For any administrative roles you should be a Microsoft Office Suite (MOS) whizz. You need to solve any issues that come up for both yourself and other staff, and you should be able to create professional documents, spreadsheets and powerpoints. A thorough understanding of Excel becomes increasingly important as you take on more responsibility over a business’s finances.

ba-spotlight-accountclerkAccounting Software: As well as excelling at Excel, you should be proficient in QuickBooks. Like MOS, QuickBooks is almost the industry standard when it comes to accounting software but it also helps to have an understanding of the new breed of online accounting apps too.

Accounting Methods: You need to have a thorough understanding of the various accounting methods that may be used in a workplace. You need to understand basic and business accounting, payroll administration and how to read financial documents.

Business Methods & Procedures: It will be expected that you understand what goes into running a business and it’s not enough to understand an organization’s procedures: you need to be able to understand why businesses implement those types of procedures are in place to begin with. You will need to have a basic understanding of regulations, taxation, ethics, communication tools, and marketing techniques so that you are able to apply your knowledge as necessary.

What positions are currently available for accounting clerks?

In the past month, Career Builder has listed 119 Accounting Clerk positions for Dallas Fort Worth, while Glassdoor had 66. Indeed was advertising 345 Accounting Clerk jobs for DFW on their site. To search for these types of positions, have a look for job titles that include some or all of the terms below.

  • Account Clerks
  • Auditing Clerk
  • Accounting Assistant
  • Accounting Associate
  • Accounting Clerk
  • Accounting Specialist,
  • Accounting Technician
  • Accounts Payable Clerk
  • Accounts Payable Specialist
  • Accounts Payables Clerk
  • Accounts Receivable Clerk
  • Virtual Assistant

To find out more about how business and accounts skills can help you further your career and the type of jobs available to people with those skills, fill in the information request form or download our ebook here.