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What is an accounting clerk?
Accounting clerks are entrusted with special tasks within a company’s bookkeeping (the terms ‘ bookkeeping ‘, ‘accounting’ and ‘accounting’ are now synonymous). As part of their work, they deal with business transactions that have been completed or are in the process of being completed, but not with future ones.
Accounting clerks have a specific area of responsibility, which is derived from their job description and the specific accounting tasks and thus from their ‘department’. Within these main tasks, they usually also have the competence to carry out certain actions and functions and assume responsibility for their correctness. Examples of this are posting processes, correspondence in the dunning process or when dealing with complaints, in payroll accounting, etc.
The most important things in 5 seconds
- Education: Commercial training to start with, after initial work experience, possibly business studies with a job-specific focus
- Starting salary: €38,000
- Top salary: €58,000
- Opportunities for advancement: Key clerk; with studies and further training also higher positions in accounting, in finance or in controlling in companies and in consulting firms
Accounting clerks can also look after a larger area and become the main clerk with more responsibility; if other employees report to them, they also assume personnel responsibility.
Depending on the size of the company, accounting clerks process transactions in financial accounting, accounts receivable and accounts payable, in receivables management, in asset, payroll and payroll accounting or in other fields. In smaller companies that employ accounting generalists instead of several accountants with specializations, clerks can support them and gain valuable experience in several areas at the beginning of their career. If accounting is outsourced, accounting clerks often form the interface to an external accounting office.
Accounting clerks can be specialists in a clearly defined field as well as generalists, and they can ‘conquer’ entire areas through their knowledge and commitment and in this way make themselves irreplaceable.
Accounting clerks tend to handle simple and frequently recurring business transactions – but of course these must also be carried out with full attention and without errors. Routine must not lead to negligence: Management needs correct data and relies on precision and accuracy in order to be able to assess the company’s business situation and make the right decisions.
Digitization has also changed the job description of clerical accounting. This applies to all areas, especially of course accounts receivable and accounts payable and dunning – areas of work that can be completely automated in some cases, which means that manual processing is no longer necessary.
Accounting clerks are therefore increasingly taking on control functions that require professional handling of application software. This expansion of activities requires the ability to work in a team and willingness to communicate, since queries can usually only be clarified in discussions with colleagues from other departments.
Accounting clerks do not necessarily need a degree; commercial training is usually a good starting point. Often clerk positions are also the entry into a career as an accountant or a career in accounting. This usually requires a full degree, especially if you are aiming for an attractive future in a large, possibly international group.
What does an accounting clerk do?
Accounting clerks record and process business transactions in one or more areas and ensure that all ‘incidents’ in their assigned area are properly recorded, processed and documented. Their areas of focus are highly dependent on the size and structure of the company they work for and, of course, its level of automation.
- Independent checking, account assignment and posting of invoices
- Recording, control and statistical evaluation of incoming and outgoing payments and deliveries, account reconciliation
- Monitoring of the dunning process
- Maintenance of customer and supplier files
- Handling of inquiries and complaints
- Collection of Information
- Monitoring of deadlines and terms
- Preparation of financial statements and (standard) contracts
- Processing of inquiries and offers
- Correspondence with authorities, suppliers and customers
- Participation in monthly and annual financial statements as well as tax returns
- Preparation of presentations for specialist departments and/or company management
- Coordination with the tax advisor
How do you become an accounting clerk?
A prerequisite for the profession of clerk in accounting is commercial training. The necessary special knowledge is conveyed on-the-job, is defined by the job description and depends on the size and structure of the company.
If you are aiming for a career in finance or in accounting/controlling, you can use the position as an accounting clerk to gain your first professional experience, but you should have an economics degree in which you can also use modern application software (MS Office, SAP FI ) and, depending on the desired professional orientation, also familiarized with accounting, controlling and taxes, possibly also with international tax law.
Anyone who sees their future in an international corporation or a consulting firm should be fluent in English and, if possible, in another foreign language.
What does an accounting clerk earn?
up to €58,000
What do you expect from the accounting clerk?
- Numerical affinity and attention to detail
- Routine, controlled work, even under pressure
- Analytical skills / understanding of complex relationships
- communication and team skills
Opportunities for advancement as an accounting clerk
Anyone who wants to grow beyond being an accounting clerk, takes advantage of regular further training opportunities to stay up-to-date and has a degree has good chances in accounting, finance and controlling up to higher management or even corporate management to ascend.
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