Career Development

What Does an Accounting Assistant Do?

Find out what an accounting assistant does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an accounting assistant.

The role of an accounting assistant is one that requires a broad range of skills. They must be able to perform a variety of tasks accurately and in a timely manner, all while maintaining strict confidentiality.

Accounting assistants are often the first point of contact for clients and vendors who are seeking information or assistance from their company’s accounting department. They may be tasked with answering phone calls, emails, and other inquiries from outside parties.

Accounting Assistant Job Duties

Accounting assistants have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Reconciling entries in ledgers, journals, or general ledger accounts to ensure accuracy of financial records
  • Preparing and filing taxes by inputting data into accounting software or performing manual calculations of taxes owed or refunds due
  • Preparing financial statements by summarizing and analyzing company data for executives and other users
  • Updating financial records by recording transactions in accounting software such as Quickbooks or Peachtree
  • Preparing reports such as profit and loss statements and budget projections
  • Reviewing financial statements prepared by other departments within the company to ensure accuracy
  • Compiling and analyzing data to prepare financial reports such as budgets, cash flow statements, and market analyses
  • Processing payroll by entering employee information into an automated system, communicating with employees about deductions or changes in their paychecks, and handling any questions or concerns that arise from employees with regards to their paychecks
  • Communicating with vendors, clients, and other parties regarding payment procedures and status of invoices

Accounting Assistant Salary & Outlook

Accounting assistants’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of overtime.

  • Median Annual Salary: $44,500 ($21.39/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $63,500 ($30.53/hour)

The employment of accounting assistants is expected to decline over the next decade.

Employment growth for accounting assistants has slowed because many firms have centralized their bookkeeping and accounting functions. As a result, fewer accounting assistants will be needed in the future to do the same amount of work.

Related: In-Depth Accounting Assistant Salary Guide

Accounting Assistant Job Requirements

The following are some of the requirements that are often needed to become an accounting assistant:

Education: Entry-level accounting assistants need at least a high school diploma or GED. Many employers prefer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Relevant coursework includes accounting, business, finance, economics and mathematics.

Training & Experience: Accounting assistants typically receive on-the-job training from their new employers. This training may include learning the company’s accounting software and procedures. Training may also include shadowing an experienced accounting professional to learn how to complete tasks.

Certifications & Licenses: While certifications are not usually a requirement for an accounting assistant position, they can help you stand out from other candidates and impress potential employers.

Accounting Assistant Skills

Accounting assistants need the following skills in order to be successful:

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is a necessary skill for accounting assistants. You should be able to notice errors in data and documents and be able to correct them. Attention to detail can also help you to be more efficient in your work and help you to notice any errors in the company’s financial records.

Solid organizational skills: Organization skills are a crucial skill for accounting assistants. You’ll be responsible for maintaining the organization of files, documents and records, so it’s important to have strong organizational skills. You’ll also be responsible for maintaining the organization of the accounting department’s desk and files, so it’s important to have organizational skills that can keep the desk and files organized.

Mathematics: Mathematics is a necessary skill for accounting assistants. You may be required to perform basic mathematical calculations, such as adding and subtracting numbers, calculating percentages and applying formulas. You may also be required to use basic math to complete tasks such as calculating sales tax, applying discounts and completing financial transactions.

Computer proficiency: Computer proficiency is a necessary skill for accounting assistants. You should be able to use a variety of computer programs, including word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software. You should also be able to navigate the internet and send emails.

Communication skills: Communication skills are essential in an accounting assistant position. You will be communicating with clients, other employees and other departments on a daily basis. You will need to be able to communicate clearly and concisely in order to be an effective assistant.

Accounting Assistant Work Environment

Accounting assistants work in a variety of settings, including corporate accounting departments, public accounting firms, and government agencies. They typically work regular business hours, although they may occasionally work overtime to meet deadlines. Accounting assistants who work in corporate accounting departments may have to travel to other offices of the company, or to meet with clients. Those who work in public accounting firms may have to travel to meet with clients at their businesses. Accounting assistants who work for government agencies may have to travel to attend conferences or training seminars.

Accounting Assistant Trends

Here are three trends influencing how accounting assistants work. Accounting assistants will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Changes in Tax Law and Processes

The accounting profession is constantly evolving, and the latest trend is the increasing demand for accountants with expertise in tax law and processes.

As tax laws and processes become more complex, businesses are looking for accountants who can help them navigate these waters and ensure that they are in compliance with all applicable regulations. Accountants who are able to provide this level of service will be in high demand in the years to come.

Changes in How Audits Are Performed

The way that audits are performed is changing, and accounting assistants need to be aware of this trend.

Audits are becoming more focused on data analysis and technology, which means that accounting assistants need to be able to use software to extract data and perform analysis. They also need to be able to use technology to help auditors find potential issues and track progress over time.

Automation of Accounting Tasks

The accounting industry is rapidly changing as businesses move towards automation of accounting tasks. This shift is causing a need for professionals who are skilled in using software to automate tasks such as bookkeeping and invoicing.

As accounting assistants, you can be at the forefront of this change by learning how to use software to automate tasks. This will make you more valuable to employers and help you to be more successful in your career.

Data-Driven Financial Reporting

The accounting profession is evolving to become more data-driven. This means that accounting assistants will need to be able to work with data in order to create financial reports.

As businesses become more reliant on data, they will need accounting assistants who can help them make sense of all the numbers. This will require assistants who are comfortable working with data and who have strong analytical skills.

The Need for More Roles With Financial and Business Analysis Skills

The need for more roles with financial and business analysis skills is an emerging trend in the accounting industry. As businesses become more complex, they are requiring professionals who can help them understand and manage their finances.

Accounting assistants can capitalize on this trend by developing their skills in financial and business analysis. This will make them more valuable to their employers and help them stand out in a competitive job market.

More Collaboration Between Finance and Accounting

The trend of more collaboration between finance and accounting is being driven by the need for better financial decision-making. In order to make sound financial decisions, businesses need to have a clear understanding of their financial position. This can be difficult to achieve when there is a lack of communication between the finance and accounting departments.

By collaborating more closely, the finance and accounting departments can develop a better understanding of the company’s financial position and make better decisions as a result. This trend can be beneficial for accounting assistants, as they can learn from the experience of the finance department and contribute their own knowledge of accounting to the process.

How to Become an Accounting Assistant

There are many different paths you can take as an accounting assistant. You could specialize in bookkeeping, taxation, auditing, or another area of accounting. You could also decide to move into a management role, or work in a related field such as finance or banking.

No matter which path you choose, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest accounting trends and developments. You can do this by reading industry journals and attending professional development courses. It’s also important to build strong relationships with other accountants and professionals in related fields. This will help you stay informed about the latest news and developments, and may also lead to new opportunities for collaboration and career growth.

Related: How to Write an Accounting Assistant Resume

Advancement Prospects

The most common way to advance in this career is to get more education and training. Many accounting assistants start out with an associate’s degree, but those who want to move up to higher-level positions will need to get a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Many accounting assistants also get certified as public accountants (CPAs). Once they have the necessary education and training, they can move into positions such as accountants, auditors, or budget analysts.

Accounting assistants who have a lot of experience and who demonstrate leadership qualities may be promoted to supervisory or managerial positions. In large organizations, they may eventually become chief financial officers (CFOs) or controllers.

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