Accounting clerks never go out of style, whether they are temporary positions or full time. But are their salary ranges moving up the way they are in the rest of the finance and accounting world?
Large businesses, small firms, government agencies and nonprofits all need accounting clerks with experience, soft skills and an eye for detail. And because the demand for entry-level accounting jobs has strengthened, newly minted accounting professionals can be optimistic about finding the perfect fit for a higher salary than last year.
Here’s what you need to know about accounting clerk salaries, duties, expectations and skills.
Duties and expectations
Accounting clerks are the financial record keepers in an organization, using ledgers and software to record expenses, payroll and other financial transactions. They also provide clerical and accounting support while maintaining accurate records and files, processing invoices and managing data.
In a larger company, an accounting clerk may specialize in a specific area like accounts payable, accounts receivable or payroll.
An accounts payable (A/P) clerk updates and maintains records concerning all expenses, from credit card payments to employee reimbursement reports. An A/P clerk also processes, reviews and assures that payments are sent, both internally and externally.
An accounts receiving (A/R) clerk monitors payment activity, prepares and submits invoices, and deposit receipts. An A/R clerk also ensures that invoices are paid and accurately monitors payment and history of clients.
A payroll accounting clerk collects and processes time cards, calculates taxes and prepares payroll checks. A payroll clerk should know applicable income tax laws and regulations in accordance with making sure that time cards are accurate.
What'a new in the ever-expanding world of payroll professionals?
Professional experience and skills
An accounting clerk needs a keen eye for detail, the ability to perform advanced mathematics and a thorough understanding of accounting software. An accounting clerk should also be familiar with standard concepts, practices and procedures within the industry or a specific field. Much of this knowledge is gained on the job.
The experience and skills needed to be an accounting clerk vary depending on the industry and specific position. Some organizations will accept a skilled applicant with a high school diploma, plus some related experience or coursework. Others may seek candidates with an associate’s degree or related certification. A senior accounting clerk requires several years of experience in addition to a degree or certification.
Accounting clerks should be proficient with Microsoft Excel and QuickBooks. Oracle experience is often a plus at many organizations. Aside from technical skills, many organizations look for candidates who bring a variety of soft skills to the table, like critical thinking skills, communication abilities and the willingness to embrace new methodologies.
Salary benchmarks for accounting clerks
According to Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance, accounting clerk salaries are on the rise in 2017. Accounting clerk salary ranges are estimated to be from $34,750 to $44,500 in the coming year. That’s a 3.3 percent increase from 2016.
Salaries for accounts receivable or accounts payable clerks range from $38,000 to $50,500 in a large company, showing an increase of 3.5 percent over 2016; $38,000 to $47,000 in a midsize company, a 3.3 percent increase; and $34,250 to $44,250 in a small company, which is a 3.3 percent increase over the last year.
Are you ready to enter the world as an accounting clerk?
Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2015 and was updated recently to reflect current salary information.