Learn About Being an Account Officer
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What does an account officer do?
An account officer manages a business’s accounts payable and receivable. As the foundation of an organization’s bookkeeping operation, an account officer monitors all account transactions and tracks all incoming and outgoing funds. Other duties include the following:
Maintain the company’s cost records (labor, materials, overhead)
Verify the accuracy of invoices
Reconcile accounts with the general ledger
Resolve general account queries
Contact clients about past due amounts
Post and document payments immediately upon receipt
Initiate collections for delinquent accounts
Many account officers are full-time employees, though some may work part-time or as contracted employees. Location is the most prominent factor determining salaries for this occupation. Other factors include the level of education, years of experience, company size and location. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.
Common salary in the U.S.: $74,555 per year
Some salaries range from $14,000 to $162,000 per year.
Account officer requirements
Obtaining a position as an account officer may require certain qualifications depending on the level of jobs for which you’re applying, including:
Entry-level account officers are typically required to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent in addition to skills certifications and/or relevant work experience. Some positions prefer a college degree or vocational school certificate.
Some employers may specify the preferred area of education for an account officer to be prepared for specific industry challenges. Some of these degree fields can include accounting, business management or finance.
Those without degrees can also earn technical certificates that teach the skills needed to be an account officer, including financial analysis software, financial forecasting, communication and cost accounting.
While the technical specifications for the job, such as bookkeeping software and federal regulations, are taught in a classroom setting, many account officers learn their company’s specific needs and processes during their first few weeks on the job.
Account officers can transfer learned skills such as research, analysis and communication to work for a new employer.
Certifications provide validation of a professional’s qualifications to current and future employers. Account officers can earn certifications to gain more practical knowledge of their daily responsibilities, test their professional skills and advance their careers. Here are some of the most common certifications for this profession:
Certified Accounts Payable Associate (CAPA) certification
Administered by the Institute of Financial Operations (IFO), this certification distinguishes designees as accounting professionals with the knowledge, skill and dedication to remaining proactive in the advancement of their career. Holding this designation also facilitates increased marketability and earning potential.
Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
This prestigious credential is granted by each state’s accountancy board. Not all accountants are licensed CPAs, but this designation, the most recognized certification in the field, validates a professional’s qualifications and respectability in their field. Most states require at least a bachelor’s degree and two years of public accounting experience before taking the CPA examination.
Certified Bookkeeper (CB) designation
Granted by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB), the CB designation can elevate your chances of getting employment, receiving promotions and advancing into higher-level positions. This certification can also heighten your marketability by enhancing your skills and keeping you abreast of new methods, laws and trends in bookkeeping.
Account officers require a wide range of skills to succeed in this role. Some specific skills include:
Account officers must maintain clear, respectful communication with others. As a position that requires asking possibly elusive or irate clients for past-due funds, their communication and interaction skills are necessary to help them understand the context of what another person is trying to tell them. Account officers use their interpersonal skills to gather and provide information to solve problems professionally.
Account officers use technical skills to generate invoices, use bookkeeping software and communicate with collection agencies and clients via phone and email. General office skills, such as using copy, print and fax machines, as well as credit card processing, word processing, spreadsheet and billing software are needed to complete these tasks.
These skills are necessary for account officers to understand and apply the appropriate bookkeeping techniques, identify errors and autonomously create solutions to any account issues that may arise.
Attention to detail
Each of the company’s expenditures must be checked against the corresponding invoice to ensure accurate billing. Errors in data entry or calculations can cost the company a lot of money and could result in legal consequences.
Account officer work environment
Account officers work in an office environment with the following attributes:
Sitting at a desk for extended periods of time
Using computers, printers, fax machines and office telephones
Standard 40-hour workweek with overtime likely during tax season
Communicating with collection agencies, clients and company executives
Reviewing account documents to ensure accuracy
The education, skills and experience of account officers can be transferable in many industries. These professionals can offer their skills to the following:
How to become an account officer
Here are the most common steps to follow in becoming a qualified account officer:
1. Pursue education.
Once you graduate from high school or receive the equivalent certification, review local job listings to determine the level of education that is typically required. Earn the level of education that seems most in-demand and pursue continuing education to stay up to date on changes in your industry.
2. Gain relevant work experience.
Many new account officers begin their careers working in entry-level jobs in bookkeeping, and then use that experience to advance and get a higher-level job.
3. Earn technical certifications.
Though not required by law, you may consider earning technical certifications in business management, bookkeeping or financial data reporting as many employers grant additional consideration to those who possess the certifications.
4. Prepare your resume.
Include your highest level of education, along with relevant certifications and your work history. Highlight your industry-specific achievements or those that used your transferable skills. Keeping it clear, concise and relevant will help your resume stand out among other applicants.
5. Apply to entry-level or support roles.
Review the current job market for your area and apply to positions that you are qualified for. Creating a compelling cover letter that highlights the specific skills and traits you possess will emphasize your suitability for the role.
Account officer job description example
Worldwide Logistics, Inc. is seeking an experienced account officer to create and maintain updated account records and facilitate smooth transactions with clients. The ideal candidate will have exceptional communication skills and a strong grasp on economics and finance, along with a demonstrable ability to manage multiple accounts.
This role requires a team player who enjoys working with a variety of colleagues and clients and has above-average knowledge of basic accounting functions. The willingness to continuously learn and adapt in a fast-paced work environment is a plus. Work experience in the logistics industry is not required but preferred. This is a full-time permanent position. Additional responsibilities include:
Ensure all accounts payable and receivable records are accurate and updated
Reach out to past-due customers to attempt to collect payment
Initiate collections of delinquent accounts
Prepare invoices and record payments
Maintain and update bookkeeping software
Other accounting support duties as assigned
Requirements for this role:
Associate’s degree in accounting (bachelor’s preferred)
A minimum of two years’ experience as a bookkeeper or similar role
Excellent understanding of bookkeeping software and electronic payment records
Research, comprehension, problem-solving and organizational abilities
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