Career Development

What Does an Accounting Associate Do?

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

The role of an accounting associate is one that requires a great deal of attention to detail. They are often tasked with reviewing and analyzing financial records, ensuring that they are accurate and complete.

Accounting associates may also be responsible for performing basic bookkeeping tasks such as creating invoices or recording payments from customers.

Accounting Associate Job Duties

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

  • Reconciling accounts payable ledgers with bank statements and other records of cash inflows and outflows
  • Preparing reports for management about financial performance, trends, or risks
  • Preparing financial statements and tax returns for individuals and businesses
  • Providing customer service by answering questions about products or services offered
  • Preparing and maintaining records of financial transactions in an organization’s accounting system
  • Preparing and submitting paperwork to comply with federal and state tax laws and regulations
  • Preparing budgets and forecasts for future expenses
  • Reviewing financial statements and recommending adjustments to management
  • Preparing financial reports such as budgets and forecasts for future expenses

Accounting Associate Salary & Outlook

Accounting associate salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $47,000 ($22.6/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $70,500 ($33.89/hour)

The employment of accounting associates is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Employment growth will be driven by the need for accountants and auditors, particularly in healthcare and government. Accountants and auditors will be needed to ensure that medical practices and health insurance companies are billing and collecting money properly. In addition, demand for these workers will continue to come from state and local governments, which employ a large share of accountants and auditors.

Related: Accounting Associate Interview Questions and Answers

Accounting Associate Job Requirements

The following are some of the requirements that an accounting associate may be expected to meet:

Education: Most employers require an associate or a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have a master’s degree in accounting or business administration with a concentration in accounting. Relevant coursework includes financial accounting, auditing, taxation, business law and business communication.

Training & Experience: Accounting associates typically receive on-the-job training from their new employer. This training may include learning the company’s specific software and processes. Training may also include shadowing an experienced employee to learn the daily tasks and procedures.

Certifications & Licenses: While certifications are not usually a requirement for an accounting associate, they can help you become a more competitive candidate when applying for jobs.

Accounting Associate Skills

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

Accounting skills: Accounting skills are the foundation of your career as an accounting associate. You can learn accounting skills through professional development courses, on-the-job training and continuing education. Accounting skills include basic math, record-keeping and bookkeeping. You can use accounting skills to prepare financial statements, balance ledgers and maintain financial records.

Communication skills: Communication skills are essential in accounting because you often work with other people, including supervisors, coworkers and clients. You may need to communicate complex financial information to clients, so it’s important to be able to explain complex information in a way that others can understand. You may also need to communicate with coworkers and supervisors to get information or answer questions.

Computer skills: Computer skills are essential for accounting associates. You should be comfortable using a computer and have basic knowledge of computer programs like Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You should also be comfortable navigating the internet to research information and complete online assignments.

Organizational skills: Organization skills can help you be more efficient in your work and complete tasks on time. You can use organization skills to keep track of your company’s financial records, including invoices, receipts and payments. Organization skills can also help you keep track of your own records, such as bank statements and credit card statements.

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is a necessary skill for accounting associates. You may be responsible for entering data into a company’s financial system, and if you make a mistake, it could cause the company to make an incorrect decision. You may also be responsible for reconciling bank statements, and if you make a mistake, it could cause the company to make an incorrect deposit or withdrawal.

Accounting Associate Work Environment

Accounting associates work in a variety of settings, including public accounting firms, corporate accounting departments, and government agencies. They typically work a standard 40-hour week, although they may have to work longer hours during busy periods, such as at the end of the fiscal year or during tax season. Many accounting associates also travel to client sites or to other offices of their employer. The work environment is usually fast-paced and deadline-oriented, and accounting associates must be able to work well under pressure. They must also be able to pay close attention to detail and have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills.

Accounting Associate Trends

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

The Growth of Cloud-Based Accounting Software

The growth of cloud-based accounting software is a trend that is quickly changing the accounting industry. This technology allows accountants to work remotely and access their clients’ data from anywhere in the world.

As more businesses move towards this model, accounting associates will need to be familiar with cloud-based software and how to use it effectively. They will also need to be able to communicate with clients about the benefits of using this type of software.

More Focus on Financial Reporting

As businesses become more complex, they are placing a greater emphasis on financial reporting. This means that accounting professionals will need to focus on developing skills in areas such as auditing, tax planning, and financial analysis.

By specializing in these areas, accounting associates can become more valuable to their employers and set themselves up for long-term success. Additionally, businesses are increasingly looking for professionals who have experience working with international clients, which can be an advantage for those who speak multiple languages.

Greater Use of Technology

The use of technology in accounting is becoming more widespread as businesses look for ways to streamline operations and improve efficiency.

Accounting associates who are able to utilize technology in their work will be better equipped to handle the demands of today’s business world. They will be able to manage accounts more efficiently, track down missing information, and communicate with clients more effectively.

How to Become an Accounting Associate

There are many different paths you can take to become an accounting associate. You could start by getting your degree in accounting, or you could choose a related field such as business administration or finance. You could also get started without a degree by taking some online courses or completing an apprenticeship program.

No matter which path you choose, it’s important to build up your skills and experience in accounting software programs such as QuickBooks and Excel. This will help you be more prepared for the job search and give you an edge over other candidates.

Advancement Prospects

The most common way to advance in this career is to get promoted to a higher position within the accounting department of the company you work for. As you gain experience and prove your abilities, you will be given more responsibility and may eventually be promoted to senior accountant, controller, or even chief financial officer.

Another way to advance your career is to become a certified public accountant (CPA). To do this, you will need to pass a rigorous exam and meet other requirements set by your state. CPAs are in high demand and are often able to command higher salaries.

You can also advance your career by starting your own accounting firm. This is a risky proposition, but if you are successful, you will be your own boss and will have the potential to earn a very high income.

Accounting Associate Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we’re looking for an accounting associate who will be responsible for a variety of accounting and finance tasks. The ideal candidate will have experience with bookkeeping, preparing financial statements, and tax returns. He or she will be detail-oriented and able to work independently with little supervision. The accounting associate will report to the controller and will work closely with the accounting team.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Prepare and maintain accurate financial records in compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles
  • Reconcile bank statements and general ledger accounts monthly
  • Process Accounts Payable invoices and employee expense reports in a timely manner
  • Process Accounts Receivable invoices and customer payments
  • Assist with month-end close, including journal entries, accruals, and amortizations
  • Generate monthly financial reports for management review
  • Perform ad hoc analysis as requested by management
  • Maintain fixed asset register and calculate monthly depreciation expense
  • Prepare sales tax returns and other government filings as required
  • Manage petty cash fund and reconcile on a monthly basis
  • Research and resolve accounting discrepancies
  • Assist with special projects as needed

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or related field
  • 1-3 years experience in an accounting role
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office, especially Excel
  • Excellent analytical, problem-solving, and research skills
  • Attention to detail and accuracy
  • Strong time management and organizational skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Experience with QuickBooks or other accounting software
  • CPA or CPA candidate
  • MBA or master’s degree in accounting or finance
  • Experience in auditing, taxation, or financial analysis


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