Accounting clerk positions are usually entry level, but these professionals play a key role in the overall operation of an organization. They keep records in order and accounts reconciled so upper management can focus their attention on more complex financial undertakings. It's a role comparable to the foundation of a house: Without it, everything else has trouble staying in place.

So what variables create the formula for success as an accounting clerk? Here are the big six:

1. Get your diploma

While working as an accounting clerk doesn't require a college or university degree, you do need a high school diploma or the equivalent.

2. Draw on past work experiences

If you've held other jobs in the past that helped you develop a range of useful skills, say so in your resume and other application materials. Examples of general experience that make you stand out as an accounting clerk include bookkeeping, record keeping, customer service, working with confidential documents and familiarity with financial software.

3. Brush up on your software skills

At minimum, an accounting clerk should be proficient in Microsoft Office Suite, with an emphasis on Excel. You might want to become familiar with QuickBooks as well — it's often used in office accounting jobs. Having experience with payroll, performance analysis and depreciation software gives you a leg up on the competition.

4. Strengthen your soft skills

Excellent soft skills are another expectation of an accounting clerk. You need to be a pro in the art of communication, as you'll be interacting with coworkers from other departments. It's also important that you're organized and very good at keeping track of the information for which you're responsible. Discretion is vital because much of that information will be confidential or sensitive. The ability to think critically and solve problems can help you figure out why ledgers and statements aren't reconciling. Finally, you'll need to be comfortable both working independently and as part of a team.

5. Be detail-oriented

An eye for detail is another soft skill, and it warrants special consideration in your role. As an accounting clerk, you'll be responsible for numerous tasks that call for this skill, including:

  • Matching invoices to purchase orders or vouchers
  • Performing data entry
  • Reconciling bank statements with the general ledger
  • Maintaining accounting records and filing documents
  • Assisting with the processing of accounts payable and accounts receivable

6. Keep learning

Whether it's your career goal to become an accounting clerk, or you hope to move on to another position one day, it's important to continue your education. Take advantage of courses, seminars or other training opportunities your organization may offer. Along with adding to your knowledge base, you'll demonstrate to employers a continuing interest in your profession.

These skills and qualifications give you an idea of what you need if you're looking for a job as an accounting clerk. Keep them in mind, and you'll better position yourself to excel in your role and propel your career forward.