Accounting Support Positions

Keeping track of the cash flow of individuals, governmental organizations, charities, and businesses is key to determining their future financial success. As these entities grow and change, the responsible management of their finances pays off in the form of empirical data and wisdom to guide future decisions. Accounting support is a stable, lucrative, and interesting career that offers plenty of room for growth and mobility for financially minded individuals.

The job description of accounting support, or accounting for short, varies by entity, industry, and financial goals. There are many different career paths for aspiring accountants, each with its own opportunities for growth and exploration. Here, we will explore the world of accounting support and develop a greater understanding of the broad opportunities afforded by the career field and the skills needed to pursue several accounting position titles.

What are 3 types of accounting career paths?

Accounting career paths may take several different forms depending on the interests of the accountant, as well as the availability of positions in their area of interest. In the modern world, cash flow is everything for businesses, government organizations, nonprofits, and some individuals. Understanding the way money moves to provide insight to these entities is a very valuable skill. Three out of the many career paths aspiring accountants can follow include Financial Analysis, Forensic Accounting, and Tax Accounting. Each of these career paths may result in a number of different accounting position titles.

Financial analysis is a very important career path in the field of finance as it is the study of how money within an organization flows and the future actions that can be taken based on past insights. Financial analysts must be able to interpret financial data and create reports that clearly communicate the strengths and weaknesses of the current financial plan going forward, proposing improvements and changes where necessary. Analysts are also tasked with predicting the future. While clairvoyance is not a requirement for those pursuing a career as an analyst, pattern recognition, statistical skills, and mathematical prowess are abilities that analysts need to take data from the past and create predictions for the financial future of an organization.

balance sheet
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On the other hand, forensic accounting is all about reconciling the past. Forensic accounting requires going through the financial data of an organization and ensuring that all the accounts are in order. Often, forensic accountants use their observational skills to investigate whether a firm has engaged in misconduct. The New York Times estimates that nearly 40% of businesses committed account violations in 2021. This staggering statistic exemplifies the necessity of forensic accounting, which protects consumers and companies from fraud. Accounting assistant skills in this field include the added necessity for deductive reasoning and careful observation.

Tax accounting is another career field that concerns tax returns and payments to local, state, and federal governments. Filing taxes as an individual is already complicated, though some people may decide to go it alone, but filing taxes as an organization should be handled by professionals who understand the tax codes pertaining to the particular entity. Tax accountants are tasked with understanding these codes and providing clear reports, filing returns, and processing payments to ensure the organization is operating legally and responsibly in the financial sector.

While the end goal for these career paths is usually for the individual to approach a managerial, directorial, or CFO position, the place that nearly every new accountant starts is at the clerk or assistant level in a firm. Globally, the finance job titles list grows longer by the day, and through experience and persistence, increased opportunity for growth comes in any position.

What is the job description of accounting support?

Accounting support professionals operate in various industries to keep records of the financial data within an organization and create reports that provide insight into the health and well-being of the enterprise. Positions like accounting assistants, bookkeepers, and accounting specialists often entail more clerical and administrative duties, while senior accountants and higher positions in accounting, such as controller and CFO, usually require managing larger groups of people and creating reports and instructions for departments within the organization. Accounting support is necessary for enterprises to function, as appropriate record-keeping and analysis of financial data promote the health and economic function of any enterprise.

When applying for an accounting position, people often need to describe their previous involvement in the field. As such, the accountant job description for resumes should include preparing reports, overseeing financial records, communicating with coworkers and supervisors, balancing sheets, and creating profit and loss statements. Additionally, the resume should be tailored to the position and organization sought. Each situation will require different language, but explaining your knowledge of the specific duties described in the application details will go far in demonstrating your enthusiasm for the position. Additionally, be sure to include relevant education and certifications such as the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) designation.


What are three job titles that could result from the field of accounting?

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The field of accounting has a broad array of career opportunities in various settings including the individual, governmental, and business sectors. Three accounting position titles that could result from the field of accounting include Account Support Specialists, Senior Accountant, and Director of Finance. Each job title has different functions within an accounting firm and has different education and experience requirements.

Account Support Specialists may focus on a variety of different operations including collections, billing and invoicing, or any other function necessary in an operating unit. Collections Specialists focus on resolving debts owed to the organization. Their duties consist of collecting payments and ensuring that overdue bills are paid in full. This is a job title that requires a strong resolve and great communication skills to ensure the organization and its clients and other organizations are interacting responsibly and keeping their transactions up to date. Billing and invoicing specialists focus on creating and distributing invoices from the organization.

Moving up the hierarchy of accounting position titles, Senior Accountants oversee a larger group of specialists and staff accountants. This position requires more experience and training than entry-level positions and often results from experience in the position of a junior and then staff accountant. At first, the junior accountant duties list might include more clerical and administrative tasks such as managing spreadsheets and entering data into accounts managing software known as an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). After gaining experience and showing promise at handling increasing responsibilities, the Junior Accountant will likely be promoted to staff and then eventually senior level as they become experts in the field.

What is an accounting clerk vs bookkeeper?

You’ve likely heard the terms accounting clerk and bookkeeper before, but what do they mean in the professional world? Many of the duties of accounting clerks and bookkeepers are similar. In smaller companies, the job description may be combined into one position. However, in the most general terms a bookkeeper is the person in charge of keeping records of the cash flow within a business, individual holding, or governmental organization as well as paying invoices completing the payroll and filing taxes. The education requirements for entry-level bookkeeping are the same as other accounting positions: a 4-year degree, and relevant experience in the field.

While accounting clerks often have a similar role as a bookkeeper, they often have an added responsibility of preparing reports, filing documents, and fulfilling the administrative duties required by an operating unit. Necessary accounting clerk skills require a familiarity and working understanding of accounts payable, accounts receivable, and the ability to complete clerical duties such as running ERPs. There are many different ERPs, so technological flexibility and willingness to learn are very important when applying for both accounting clerk and a bookkeeper positions.

clerk working with documents

What does an accounting assistant do?

frustrated woman on the phone

An accounting assistant or accounting clerk (which is a similar position) generally has similar duties to their supervising accountant; however, their individual work may be specified to one area of accounting support such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, billing specialist, or invoicing specialist or some combination of these. Generally, an accounting assistant is tasked with keeping track of cash flow of one operating unit or department and analyzing it. Accounting assistants may also be tasked with bookkeeping or clerical duties as well.

Accounting assistants report to a supervising accountant with greater experience. This accountability is a great way for fostering growth in the career field as it provides a sense of mentorship and guidance from more senior members of the accounting support team. Accounting assistance is an entry-level job that most accountants work in a few years for experience, and further education. After some years of work experience and appropriate certification accrue, an accounting assistant may be promoted or pursue a higher-level position.

What are the duties and responsibilities of an accounting assistant?

The duties and responsibilities of accounting assistants vary by organization and experience at a firm; however, many tasks are similar throughout the profession. An accounting assistant will often perform duties like recording clerical data, reconciling invoices, preparing deposits, processing forms, creating reports, checking spreadsheets, and entering financial data into databases. It is crucial that accounting assistants operate in a timely manner to create the most accurate reports and precise entries into the database at hand.

It is the responsibility of the accounting assistant to ensure the financial data of the organization is entirely accounted for and prepared a clear and exacting manner. Additionally, more senior accounting assistants will be placed in charge of helping more accountants within a firm or be promoted to a more senior accounting position which are large responsibilities awarded from the demonstration of skill in the position.


Is the accounting assistant job hard?


Like most occupations, the difficulty of accounting assistant jobs is mostly subject to the level of education and experience a person possesses as well as the traits an individual possesses. Accounting assistance requires a lot of patience and addition to detail. It is a job where individuals are often sitting at a desk for long hours and inputting data into a computer, so it appeals to people who are very meticulous with a strong drive to ensure accuracy. The minimum education required for almost all modern accounting position titles is a bachelor’s or 4-year degree in accounting. As such account assistant qualifications generally include a 4-year degree, relevant career experience, and sometimes a CPA certification.

If you’re still reading this section about accounting assistants, you likely think this is a very interesting career field, but this begs the questioned outlined above. How hard are accounting assistant jobs? Well, almost all jobs are hard for those without the proper training, so yes, the accountant assistant job is hard– for those without proper training. However, as an accounting assistant gains skills and experience in the position, the job becomes easier while still retaining a necessary level of interest, posing a consistent and rewarding career. Accounting assistant skills are not always easily acquired, but with proper training and education, the accounting assistant job can prove to be a pleasant challenge.

Is an accounting assistant an entry level job?

Accounting assisting is an entry level job in the field of finance that can be a great fit for people who have been newly awarded with an accounting degree. Accounting assistants are responsible for recording and reporting much of the data for many organizations; this is crucial for the financial success of any industry. While many accounting assistants are generally fresh out of college, graduate programs, and internships, the assistant position is usually one that people use to pursue further development in the field. Performing all the tasks of a higher-level accounting assistant (and eventually accountant) while being supervised is the best way to gain experience.

The experience gained on the job ensures one’s accounting skills are up to par. Assistants often find themselves able to explore future employment opportunities with larger responsibilities after a few years of being employed in an accounting assistant job although they may choose to stay if they enjoy the position.


How much do accounting assistants make?


Depending on the industry, the accounting assistant salary ranges between $45,000 to $65,000 a year which is nothing to scoff at as most entry level positions in any United States Industry start at the $25,000 to $30,000 range. The starting accounting assistant salary will likely be closer to $45,000 and as the assistant gains more experience, they can usually expect to see their salary grow especially if they are enterprising and look for increased responsibilities within the organization.

What are the qualities of an accounting assistant?

An accounting assistant will have several qualities that make them stand out. Many conversations with agencies looking to hire accounting assistants have shown that the two most important qualities of an accounting assistant are attention to detail and communication skills. In addition to these two qualities, honesty, efficiency, organization, and time management play a strong role in determining the success of an accounting assistant.


Final Thoughts

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Accounting support makes the world of enterprises go around. Creating financial reports, analyzing data to provide wisdom, and responsibly managing the money of enterprises large and small ensures the safety and stability of the organization and its interactions with the public and supervising authorities. There are a huge number of accounting position titles and great flexibility with plenty of room for growth and promotion in this famously secure field. We encourage you to explore accounting support further if it seems like a good fit for you!