Accounting Assistant Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: June 22, 2022

An Accounting Assistant, or Staff Accounting Assistant, is responsible for assisting Accountants with basic bookkeeping and accounting tasks. Their duties include reconciling bank records, drafting financial documents and invoicing customers or collecting payments.

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Accounting Assistant duties and responsibilities

Accounting Assistants provide support to Accountants and perform a variety of tasks. Although their specific job duties will vary depending on the industry in which they work, Accounting Assistants often have the following responsibilities:

  • Assist Accountants and other financial professionals with creating and editing financial documents.
  • Organize the bookkeeping processes of the company.
  • Evaluate financial budgets and track expenses.
  • Draft and report financial presentations.
  • Reconcile financial books including incoming and outgoing funds.
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Accounting Assistant Job Description Examples

What does an Accounting Assistant do?

Accounting Assistants are typically entry-level finance professionals who assist an office with their administrative and financial work while meeting the individual bookkeeping needs of the organization. They review financial statements for errors and make adjustments accordingly. Their job is to use software to input data into several financial documents like a company’s profit and loss statement. They may also perform certain clerical duties like taking notes during meetings, making copies and scanning documents to add to a digital filing system.

Accounting Assistant skills and qualifications

Accounting Assistants will typically have certain prerequisite qualifications and skills which will help them succeed in their role, which can include:

  • Good computer skills with a  knowledge of common bookkeeping and spreadsheet programs
  • Math skills 
  • Teamwork skills
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills 
  • Attention to detail

Accounting Assistant salary expectations

The average salary for an Accounting Assistant is $16.64 per hour. Salary may vary depending on education, experience level, geographic location and the size of the organization. 

Accounting Assistant education and training requirements

A minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent is often required to work as an Accounting Assistant, but many companies prefer applicants with an associate or bachelor’s degree. There are some colleges that also offer a certificate in Accounting Assistant studies. These degrees prepare candidates to manage the expected financial responsibilities of an Accounting Assistant. Because an Accounting Assistant is considered an entry-level position, it is common for current accounting students to pursue a position as one while they are studying to become an Accountant.

Accounting Assistant experience requirements

Whether or not previous experience is required to work as an Accounting Assistant will depend on the needs of the organization. Some companies may prefer to hire an Accounting Assistant and then train them within whereas other companies prefer candidates with previous bookkeeping and financial experience. Some Accounting Assistants may come from a financial role or a previous Accounting Assistant position in another industry and then transfer their skills to a new industry or company.

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If you are recruiting for positions similar to the Accounting Assistant position, see our job descriptions for related roles: 

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Frequently asked questions about Accounting Assistants

 

Where do Accounting Assistants work?

Accounting Assistants typically work for corporations as a part of their accounting or finance department. They may also work for private institutions, government agencies and individuals who operate sole-proprietorships. They usually work in an office setting, but if they work for Traveling Accountants or Auditors, they may move from city to city with them, completing temporary assignments as needed.

 

What are the potential career paths for Accounting Assistants?

Accounting Assistants can gain the knowledge and industry experience that makes them eligible for more complex job positions. Here are a few examples of potential career paths for Accounting Assistants:

  • Accountant: The next step up from being an Accounting Assistant is becoming a professional Accountant. In this role, Accountants may calculate payroll, tax deductions and other expenses. They also create financial reports based on current financial statement data. 
  • Auditor: An Auditor either works for a company or travels to different companies, assessing their financial health, compliance with the law and other factors. They give companies advice on how to maintain financial stability or prevent bankruptcy, fraud and other negative circumstances.
  • Accounting Manager: An Accounting Manager oversees the entire accounting department within a corporation. This is a potential career path after achieving a position as an Accountant.

This is important as any Accounting Assistant you hire could potentially be a good replacement option for Accountants who decide to pursue other opportunities or receive internal promotions. This benefits your company because they already know about your values and expectations.

 

Who do Accounting Assistants report to?

Who an Accounting Assistant reports to may depend on the size of the department and the number of other assistants available. If you operate a small business with only five Accountants, you may only have one Accounting Assistant who reports to all five of them as needed. In larger corporations, an Accounting Assistant may report to one Accountant in particular, working closely with them to complete their daily job duties.

 

What is the difference between an Accounting Assistant and an Accounting Clerk?

The difference between an Accounting Assistant and an Accounting Clerk lies in their education requirements and subsequent job responsibilities. Typically, an Accounting Clerk only needs a high school diploma or associate degree to perform clerical work and basic accounting duties for the department.

In contrast, Accounting Assistants are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in an area like accounting, finance or economics. Further, their different education requirements also mean that they have differing job responsibilities. Although Accounting Clerks may partake in some accounting duties like data entry or bookkeeping, Accounting Assistants are the ones who have the qualifications that allow them to handle budgets, analyze financial statements and make advanced calculations.

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    Last updated: Apr 28, 2021