SOC: 43-3031 OOH: U247
|Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks
|Total Jobs in 2016||1,730,500|
|Expected Growth||-1% (Little or no change)|
|New Jobs To Be Added
from 2016 to 2026
|Median Pay||$35,000 to $54,999|
Employment of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks is projected to show little or no change from 2016 to 2026.
Technological change is expected to reduce demand for these workers. Software innovations, such as cloud computing, have automated many of the tasks performed by bookkeepers. As a result, the same amount of bookkeeping work can be done with fewer employees, which is expected to lead to job losses for bookkeepers over the next 10 years.
With more routinized tasks automated, bookkeepers are expected to take on a more analytical and advisory role over the next 10 years. For example, rather than performing manual data entry, bookkeepers will focus more on analyzing their clients’ books and pointing out potential areas for efficiency gains.
Because bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks constitute a large occupation, there will be a large number of job openings from workers leaving the occupation. Thus, opportunities to enter the occupation should be plentiful, despite the slight projected decline in employment.
The median annual wage for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks was $38,390 in May 2016. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $23,880, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $59,630.
In May 2016, the median annual wages for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||$40,140|
|Finance and insurance||39,980|
|Healthcare and social assistance||37,760|
Most bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work full time. About 1 in 4 worked part time in 2016. They may work longer hours to meet deadlines at the end of the fiscal year, during tax time, or when monthly or yearly accounting audits are performed.
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks produce financial records for organizations. They record financial transactions, update statements, and check financial records for accuracy.
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks typically do the following:
The records that bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work with include expenditures (money spent), receipts (money that comes in), accounts payable (bills to be paid), accounts receivable (invoices, or what other people owe the organization), and profit and loss (a report that shows the organization’s financial health).
Workers in this occupation engage in a wide range of tasks. Some are full-charge bookkeeping clerks who maintain an entire organization’s books. Others are accounting clerks who handle specific tasks.
These clerks use basic mathematics (adding, subtracting) throughout the day.
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks use specialized computer accounting software, spreadsheets, and databases to enter information from receipts or bills. They must be comfortable using computers to record and calculate data.
The widespread use of computers also has enabled bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks to take on additional responsibilities, such as payroll, billing, purchasing (buying), and keeping track of overdue bills. Many of these functions require clerks to communicate with clients.
Bookkeeping clerks, also known as bookkeepers, often are responsible for some or all of an organization’s accounts, known as the general ledger. They record all transactions and post debits (costs) and credits (income).
They also produce financial statements and other reports for supervisors and managers. Bookkeepers prepare bank deposits by compiling data from cashiers, verifying receipts, and sending cash, checks, or other forms of payment to the bank.
In addition, they may handle payroll, make purchases, prepare invoices, and keep track of overdue accounts.
Accounting clerks typically work for larger companies and have more specialized tasks. Their titles, such as accounts payable clerk or accounts receivable clerk, often reflect the type of accounting they do.
The responsibilities of accounting clerks frequently vary by level of experience. Entry-level accounting clerks may post details of transactions (including date, type, and amount), add up accounts, and determine interest charges. They may also monitor loans and accounts to ensure that payments are up to date.
More advanced accounting clerks may add and balance billing vouchers, ensure that account data are complete and accurate, and code documents according to an organization’s procedures.
Auditing clerks check figures, postings, and documents to ensure that they are mathematically accurate and properly coded. For smaller errors, such as transcription errors, they may make corrections themselves. In case of major discrepancies, they typically notify senior staff, including accountants and auditors.
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks held about 1.7 million jobs in 2016. The largest employers of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks were as follows:
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||12%|
|Healthcare and social assistance||7|
|Finance and insurance||7|
The professional, scientific, and technical services industry includes the accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services subindustry.
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work in offices. Bookkeepers who work for multiple firms may visit their clients’ places of business. They often work alone, but sometimes they collaborate with accountants, managers, and auditing clerks from other departments.
Most bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work full time. About 1 in 4 worked part time in 2016. They may work additional hours to meet deadlines at the end of the fiscal year, during tax time, or when monthly or yearly accounting audits are done.
Most bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks need some postsecondary education and also learn some of their skills on the job. They must have basic math and computer skills, including knowledge of spreadsheets and bookkeeping software.
Employers generally require bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks to have some postsecondary education, particularly coursework in accounting. However, some candidates can be hired with just a high school diploma.
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks usually get on-the-job training. Under the guidance of a supervisor or another experienced employee, new clerks learn how to do their tasks, such as double-entry bookkeeping. In double-entry bookkeeping, each transaction is entered twice, once as a debit (cost) and once as a credit (income), to ensure that all accounts are balanced.
Some formal classroom training also may be necessary, such as training in specialized computer software. This on-the-job training typically takes around 6 months.
Some bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks become certified. For those who do not have postsecondary education, certification is a particularly useful way to gain expertise in the field. The Certified Bookkeeper (CB) designation, awarded by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, shows that those who have earned it have the skills and knowledge needed to carry out all bookkeeping tasks, including overseeing payroll and balancing accounts, according to accepted accounting procedures.
For certification, candidates must have at least 2 years of full-time bookkeeping experience or equivalent part-time work, pass a four-part exam, and adhere to a code of ethics.
The National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers offers the Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB) certification. To obtain the certification, candidates must pass the four-part Uniform Bookkeeper Certification Examination.
With appropriate experience and additional education, some bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks may become accountants or auditors.
Computer skills. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks need to be comfortable using computer spreadsheets and bookkeeping software.
Detail oriented. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are responsible for producing accurate financial records. They must pay attention to detail in order to avoid making errors and recognize errors that others have made.
Integrity. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks have control of an organization’s financial documentation, which they must use properly and keep confidential. It is vital that they keep records transparent and guard against misusing an organization’s funds.
Math skills. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks deal with numbers daily and should be comfortable with basic arithmetic.
"Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks" SOC: 43-3031 OOH Code: U247