Accounts Receivable Clerk Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a career as an accounts receivable clerk? Research the education and training requirements, salary and job duties to see if this career is right for you.
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Accounts Receivables Career: Pros and Cons

Working as an accounts receivable clerk involves both customer service and financial work. You'll be responsible for processing payments, as well as following up on delinquent accounts and seeking payments for your employer. Find out more about the common pros and cons of this career below.

Pros of Being an Accounts Receivable Clerk
Provide customer service solutions to clients*
No lengthy education required*
Work regular business hours*
Frequent interaction with customers can lead to good business relationships**
Can find part-time or temporary work if needed*

Cons of Being an Accounts Receivable Clerk
Extensive time may be spent tracking people down**
Clients may avoid you for long periods of time if unable to pay**
Streamlining processes in businesses may eliminate the need for clerks in some cases*
Job may be very high stress**
Have to follow potentially strict policies and processes in order to do your job**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **ONET OnLine.

Essential Career Information

Job Duties

An accounts receivable clerk is responsible for the maintenance and collection of money for customer accounts within a business. Tasks may include posting details of transactions, keeping totals of accounts, monitoring accounts to ensure that payments are up-to-date, reconciling billing vouchers and collections activities, such as placing telephone calls and sending reminders to overdue accounts. You may also need to be assertive and learn how to accept criticism since you must often be the bearer of bad news. This job requires that you have a strong attention to detail and follow through on current and pending actions to ensure that all accounts are up-to-date. Many of your duties will be learned through on-the-job training and experience. Duties may be difficult, and you'll need to be persistent in order to follow through and see results.

Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), accounts receivable clerks averaged around $38,000 annually in May 2014. This number does not factor in potential overtime or part-time workers. Salaries can increase if advancement occurs after obtaining more education or experience in the field. The job market for this career was expected to grow about as fast as the national average, at around 11% over the 2012-2022 decade.

Education and Training Requirements

In order to obtain employment as an accounts receivable clerk, you'll need at least a high school diploma. Earning your associate's or bachelor's degree in a related field, such as finance or accounting, may also help you gain employment or advance your career. While a degree may not be required by all potential employers, it is possible that some businesses prefer to hire employees with some postsecondary education. Many of the skills that the career requires can be learned through on-the-job training, previous office work or a past job with a strong customer service focus.

What Employers Are Looking For

Employers generally seem to seek job candidates who have good communication skills and some related experience. Job postings from April 2012 seeking accounts receivable clerks stated the following requirements for potential hirees:

  • A New Jersey consulting firm is seeking an accounts receivable professional that feels comfortable with direct customer contact and collection support. This position also requires communication skills, problem-solving skills and experience in accounts receivable collection.
  • In Tennessee, a company is seeking a medical accounts receivable clerk. This position requires at least 1-2 years of experience and pays $40,000-$60,000 per year. The posting also mentions that there may be a potential for bonus programs.
  • A California company is looking for an accounts receivable specialist that has experience in the construction industry. This position requires that the applicant is friendly and detail oriented, with customer service, teamwork and multi-tasking skills. Proficiency in 10-key and Microsoft Office is also required.

How to Maximize Your Skills

In order to make your skills stand out in the accounting industry, you may want to sharpen your customer service skills and learn basic business practices. Earning your associate's or bachelor's degree in accounting or a related field, such as business, can help set you apart from your peers when you are looking to begin your career. Work experience in customer service can also help you learn the basics of both business and client relations. Developing your writing and speaking skills is also a plus. You may consider accepting part-time or temporary work in an accounting department, not only to see if the career is right for you, but also to gain real world experience.

Other Careers to Consider

If you do not feel that you are interested in a career that involves potentially disagreeable customers and finances, there are related careers that you can consider. For example, you may want to consider becoming a customer service representative or a credit checker. The educational and training requirements for theses positions are similar to those required of accounts receivable clerks.

Customer Service Representative

A career as a customer service representative involves strong client relations, but does not require collections or invoicing. The BLS indicated that the average salary for customer service representatives was around $33,000 in 2011, and job growth was projected to be average at around 15% over the 2010-2020 decade. These statistics are slightly lower than those for accounts receivable clerks. The educational requirements for this career are similar to those that are required for an accounts receivable clerk; in most cases only a high school diploma is needed to begin your career.

Credit Checker

If you like the financial aspects of an accounts receivable clerk's work but don't like the idea of having to collect dues, another position you can consider is credit checker. Credit checkers are responsible for evaluating customers' credit. They review credit histories and decide whether to approve new credit. This career requires computer work, strong phone skills and the ability to multitask effectively. The job growth for this career was projected by the BLS to be slower than that for both customer service representatives and accounts receivable clerks at around 5% between 2010 and 2020. However, the pay was comparable to that of accounts receivable clerks, with an average salary of around $36,000 as of May 2011.

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Kaplan University

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George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration

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Georgetown University

  • Master of Science in Finance

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Northcentral University

  • PhD in Business Admin - Financial Management
  • Doctor of Business Admin - Financial Management
  • MBA - Financial Management
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business

What is your highest level of education?

Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management
  • MBA: Finance
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

What is your highest level of education?

Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Finance
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

What is your highest level of education?

Saint John's University

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

What is your highest level of education?

Utica College

  • MS in Data Science: Financial Crime
  • MBA - Finance and Accounting
  • Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation
  • Online Bachelor of Science in Fraud and Financial Crime Investigation - Financial Investigation

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