Accounting Technician Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a career as an accounting technician? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary information to decide if becoming an accounting technician is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Career as an Accounting Technician

As an accounting technician, also known as an accounting assistant or clerk, you will help businesses and other organizations record and maintain their financial data. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of a career as an accounting technician.

PROS of a Career as an Accounting Technician
Potential to earn a mean annual wage of about $38,000 without a degree*
May find employment in a variety of industries*
You can choose to work part-time, as about 25% of accounting clerks did in 2012*
Demand will increase as financial regulations become stricter*

CONS of a Career as an Accounting Technician
May have to work long hours to meet deadlines*
Work is very detail-oriented**
Errors could result in misappropriating a company's funds*
Training might take up to six months and include required formal classroom training in accounting computer software*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **O*NET OnLine.

Career Information

Job Duties

As an accounting technician, you could work for companies of various sizes. If you're employed by a larger company, you might have more specialized tasks and a title that refers to the type of accounting work that you complete, such as accounts receivable clerk or accounts payable clerk. Your duties also might vary according to experience. For example, as an entry-level technician, you could post transaction details, calculate interest charges and add accounts. You also might monitor loans to make sure that payments are being made on a timely basis. As a more experienced accounting technician, you could work with billing vouchers and code documents or ensure that account data is accurate and complete. Your work would often be completed by using accounting software and online databases or spreadsheets.

Salary

As of May 2014, the BLS reported a mean annual wage of about $38,000 for bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks. The industry with the highest level and concentration of employment was accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services. Top-paying areas included the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Alaska, Maryland and Massachusetts.

What Are the Requirements?

Education and Training

If you're interested in an accounting technician career, you need to be detail-oriented and possess strong computer and math skills. As an accounting technician, you'll need at least a high school diploma or the equivalent. Opportunities are available to gain most of your skills on-the-job or in conjunction with some specialized training, maybe in accounting software. As of 2010, 32% of accounting clerks had some college credits, and 18% had earned bachelor's degrees, according to O*Net OnLine.

What Are Employers Seeking?

Although a high school diploma may often meet the minimum educational requirement, some employers look for applicants with degrees or college credits. Experience with computer software specific to accounting could also be beneficial. Read the following job postings from April 2012 to find out what some employers required to work in the field.

  • An insurance company in Michigan advertised for a full-time accounting technician. Responsibilities involved accounts payable (A/P) tasks, banking and end-of-month reporting. This employer required five years of A/P accounting experience, familiarity with the Peachtree Accounting System, proven understanding of general accounting principles, ability to work on a team or independently, experience with Microsoft Office and excellent communication skills. A high school diploma was required, and a bachelor's degree in accounting would be highly considered.
  • A manufacturing company in Georgia was looking for a full-time accounting clerk with at least one year of experience in a finance or accounting environment. In this position, you'd use accounting computer software for various functions, compile reports and tables, code documents and reconcile discrepancies. Applicants needed to be detail-oriented, possess strong problem-solving skills and be computer proficient.
  • A busy office in Vermont was seeking a full-time accounting clerk. Your skills needed to include accounts payable, accounts receivable, intermediate Excel knowledge and inventory experience. This employer preferred applicants with accounting or finance degrees, but would consider interns with some accounting experience.
  • A city in California advertised for a part-time accounting technician to work as the city cashier. Applicants needed knowledge of fiscal record keeping, accounts receivable, billing, standard office procedures and Microsoft computer programs. In addition to clerical duties, you'd be required to interact with the public in an appropriate manner. A high school diploma or equivalent was required, but related college coursework was desired.

How Can I Stand Out in the Field?

According to the BLS, from 2012-2022, accounting technician careers were expected to grow 11%. Although many jobs may only require a high school diploma, your resume may end up at the top of the pile if you've earned college credits or a degree in accounting. You could also broaden your training and experience by learning additional computer software related to accounting.

Certifications

The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers awards the Certified Bookkeeper (CB) designation. This certification can demonstrate your knowledge and skills in the field. To earn this designation, you'll need to have two years of experience, adhere to a code of ethics and pass an exam. You'll need to fulfill continuing education requirements to maintain certification. Certification is also available through the National Bookkeepers Association. In order to obtain this certification, you'll need to earn at least 80% on an online exam.

Other Careers to Consider

Accountant

If you want to work in the accounting field and earn a higher salary, you might want to continue your education and become an accountant. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement, and certifications might help you secure employment. The three main types of accountants are public, management and government accountants. Public accountants' work may involve taxes, auditing and consulting. Management accountants, or cost accountants, record and analyze financial data for businesses. Government accountants keep records for government agencies and audit businesses and people who are subject to government taxation and regulations. As of May 2011, the mean annual wage of accountants and auditors was about $70,000, according to the BLS. From 2010-2020, employment growth was expected to be 16%, per the BLS.

Billing and Posting Clerk

Many of duties of a billing clerk are similar to those of an accounting technician. You might calculate charges, send bills to customers, review purchase orders and compute fees. A high school education will probably be sufficient to enter this career, along with good math and communication skills. The BLS listed a mean annual wage of approximately $34,000 for these clerks as of May 2011. Employment was expected to grow 20% from 2010-2020, which was faster than average, according to the BLS.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. George Mason University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Georgetown University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Finance
      • Master of Science in Finance
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master - Accounting
      • MS in Accounting- Tax Specialization
      • MS in Accounting - Audit Specialization
      • MS in Accounting - Government Specialization
      • MS in Accounting - Finance Specialization
      • MBA: Finance
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Accounting
      • Bachelor: Managerial Accountancy
      • Bachelor: Tax Accountancy
      • Bachelor: Auditing-Forensic Accountancy
      • BSBA - Investment
      • Bachelor: Public-General Accountancy
    Associate's
      • Associate: Accounting
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • Associate: Business Admin. - Office Mgmt
    Certificate
      • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Saint John's University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Accounting
      • Master of Business Administration: Taxation
      • Master of Science in Taxation
      • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Regent University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
      • Master of Arts in Law - Business
      • Master of Arts in Law - Wealth Management/Financial Planning
      • Master of Business Administration - Finance and Investing
      • Master of Business Administration
      • Master of Business Administration - Kindom Business
    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Accounting
      • Bachelor of Science in Business - Accounting
      • Bachelor of Science in Business
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Business
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Business
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Advanced Accounting
      • PhD in Business Admin - Advanced Accounting
      • PhD in Business Admin - Financial Management
      • Doctor of Business Admin - General Business
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Management
    Master's
      • MBA - Financial Management
      • MS - Accounting
      • MBA - Management Information Systems
      • Master of Business Admin - General Business
      • Master of Business Admin - Accelerated General MBA
      • MBA - Management
  • Campus Locations:
    7. Virginia College

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate's - Business Admin
    Certificate
      • Diploma Program - Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Penn Foster

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Career Diploma - Bookkeeping
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Professional Accounting
      • Master of Finance
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Accounting
    Certificate
      • Graduate Specialization - Accounting
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Post University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. in Business Administration / Accounting
      • B.S. in Accounting
      • B.S. in Finance

Featured Schools

George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration

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Georgetown University

  • Master of Science in Finance

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Kaplan University

  • Master - Accounting
  • Bachelor: Accounting
  • Associate: Accounting
  • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate

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Saint John's University

  • Master of Science in Accounting
  • Master of Business Administration: Taxation
  • Master of Science in Taxation

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Regent University

  • Master of Business Administration - Accounting
  • Master of Arts in Law - Business
  • Bachelor of Science in Accounting
  • Bachelor of Science in Business - Accounting

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Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Advanced Accounting
  • PhD in Business Admin - Advanced Accounting
  • MBA - Financial Management
  • MS - Accounting

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Virginia College

  • Associate's - Business Admin
  • Diploma Program - Business Administration

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Penn Foster

  • Career Diploma - Bookkeeping

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