CAREER DEVELOPMENT / MAY. 21, 2014
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How To Become An Accounts Clerk

Most organisations in business require the services of an Accounts Clerk to keep their financial records up to date and to help in preparing accounts.  If you’re well organised, have good computer skills and a head for figures, this could be a role that you find extremely fulfilling.

Skills and qualities

The qualities you need to become an Accounts Clerk include:

  • being able to work as part of a team
  • a good head for figures
  • good communication and problem solving skills
  • an interest in finance and commerce
  • an organised and methodical work ethic
  • being able to work with high levels of accuracy and attention to detail
  • discretion and honesty

The work

As an Accounts Clerk (bookkeeper is another term commonly used for this role), your duties may include:

  • balancing accounts
  • processing sales invoices, income, receipts and payments
  • preparing purchase orders and statements
  • completing VAT returns
  • checking the accuracy of accounts
  • preparing wages and handling expense claims
  • assisting in compiling and preparing annual accounts
  • using computerised accounts systems to maintain accurate records
  • providing administrative support to accountants

Depending upon the size of the organisation you work for, you might work as part of a team in a specialist area such as purchase ledger, credit control or payroll.  In smaller businesses, you could be expected to carry out all of these tasks as well as cash handling and checking banking activities.

Hours

If you work full-time, you would work standard office hours; Monday to Friday, 35 to 40 hours per week.  Part-time work is often available or you could work in a self-employed capacity in which case you could manage your hours to suit.

Income

Starting salary

£15,000 to £16,000 per annum

With more experience

Up to £22,000 per annum

Senior accounts clerk

Up to £25,000 per annum

Entry requirements

Recruiters would generally expect you to have at least five GCSEs graded ‘A’ to ‘C’, to include maths and English language.  It would be advantageous to have an ‘A’ level in maths, economics or business studies. 

If you had previous experience of office work, preferably in a finance or accounts department, that would be helpful.  Temporary work is a good way of gaining experience and often leads to an offer of a permanent position.  You would be working a lot with spreadsheets so familiarity with using and interpreting them would also be an advantage.

Other useful recognised bookkeeping qualifications include:

  • Level 1 Award in Bookkeeping
  • Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping
  • Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Accounts
  • Level 2 Certificate in Accounting

There may be an opportunity for you to become an Accounts Clerk through an Apprenticeship scheme.  Further information about what’s available in your area can be found on the Apprenticeships website.  http://www.apprenticeships.org.uk/

Training and development

A position as an Accounts Clerk is a good foundation for a lifelong career in accounting.  Much of your training will be as you work with more experienced staff as your mentors.  Many employers offer opportunities to work towards more advanced accounting qualifications including:

  • Level 3 Certificate in Computerised Accounting for Business
  • Level 4 Diploma in Business and Accounting
  • Level 3/4 Diploma in Accounting
  • These courses include modules on:
  • use of spreadsheets
  • preparation of accounts
  • VAT and taxation
  • professional ethics

A wide range of accounting qualifications of different levels is offered by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) all of which are recognised by the professional accountancy bodies.  More information is available on their website. http://www.aat.org.uk/

If you wished, you could also take a foundation degree or a degree in accountancy at university.

Job Opportunities

Pretty much every business sector has opportunities for Accounts Clerks and bookkeepers; including local councils, universities, government and the health service.  You could choose to be self-employed and work for a number of local small businesses.

You may find suitable vacancies advertised on company websites, in the local press, through recruitment agencies or on the Jobcentre Plus website.  https://www.gov.uk/jobsearch

Other useful references

Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB)http://www.bookkeepers.org.uk/

Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACA) http://www.accaglobal.com/uk/en.html

Financial Skills Partnership http://www.financialskillspartnership.org.uk/

 

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