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What Does an Accounting Assistant Do?

An accounting assistant may have different office tasks, such as answering phones, maintaining a filing system, and composing mailings.
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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 06 December 2014
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An accounting assistant is an entry level position; this individual may work with an individual accountant or as part of an accounting department in a larger corporation. It involves daily bookkeeping and file maintenance, and it may also involve assisting customers or doing other office work and file maintenance. Generally, people who want to become an accounting assistant will need to have a few years of bookkeeping experience, or a certificate in this specific field. The certificate generally only takes a few months to obtain and makes an individual eminently more likely to be hired.

Some people completing lengthier accounting programs, such as the bachelor's and master's degrees, and who are generally required to become a certified public accountant, will work in the interim as accounting assistants in order to gain experience. This can look great on a resume in addition to increasing a candidates accounting skills. What an accounting assistant does on a daily basis can vary widely depending on whether the individual works for an individual accountant or for a larger company or accounting firm. Generally, it involves a combination of bookkeeping and office work.

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In larger corporations, an accounting assistant will frequently work in the payroll and accounts payable/receivable department. This person will need to keep accurate records of funds that go in and out of the company, and will often need to reconcile things like employee hours, vacation or sick time used, or other payments that need to be made. The accounting assistant might also collect invoices from vendors or other services, and either make payments, or note payments received, on these accounts. It is important for anyone wanting to work in this position to have a very high attention to detail, excellent mathematical skills, and the ability to check his or her own work for errors.

A person who works for an accountant as an accounting assistant may have different tasks as well. In addition to assisting in financial work, such as preparing financial statements, the assistant may also do tasks in the office, such as answering phones, maintaining a filing system, and composing mailings, or other types of correspondence. In addition, greeting customers when they come in to the office is also a frequent part of the job. It is important for the assistant to be knowledgeable about at least basic practices of the accounting firm in order to answer questions asked by customers or direct them to someone who can.

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John57
Post 6

I have found that when you work for smaller accounting firms, you will have a larger variety of duties than when you work for a larger company.

I have worked for both and gained a lot of experience through the years working as an accounting assistant. The variety of duties that I had when I worked for smaller firms gave me a wide range of experiences.

I currently work in accounting for a larger company and primarily focus on accounts receivable.

I started out as an account assistant many years ago, and have had many bookkeeping jobs since then. Years of experience and getting an education have made a big difference in the type of accounting jobs I have been able to get.

StarJo
Post 5

I have to fill out a sheet every time I want to schedule a few days off. After the boss approves it, he gives the sheet to the accounting assistant so that she will know that I should receive payment for those days, even though I won’t be swiping the time card.

When I get my check after I have had time off, the stub will state how many hours of vacation time I have used. This information goes on file in the accounting assistant’s computer, and she will know if I attempt to use more than my allotted vacation days.

julies
Post 4

My first completed college course was obtaining an accounting certificate. This was the beginning of a career that has included many different accounting jobs.

My first entry level position after I received my certificate was for a small accounting firm where I was also responsible for many of the general office duties.

I found that I really enjoyed the accounting duties which included some payroll and accounts payable. I went on to get a bachelors degree in this field and have spent my entire career in some type of accounting job.

Starting out as an accounting assistant is a good way to get your feet wet and decide if you want to pursue more of this type of work.

orangey03
Post 3

At our office, the accounting assistant is the person we blame if our checks are for the wrong amount. She is kind of flaky, and I think she got hired because she is related to the boss.

We get paid every two weeks. During her second week of work, I received my paycheck, and it was half the amount it normally is.

I asked her about it, and she said that she had accidentally only figured up one week of my work time on my time card. She had to write a separate check for the rest.

A few months later, I had been working overtime, but my check did not reflect that. I told her that, and she recounted the hours but got the same amount. She offered to let me recount them, and I came up with a much higher amount. I showed her how I did it, and come to find out, her whole counting process was flawed.

Oceana
Post 2

Accounting assistants have to deal with angry people sometimes. My sister works in the front office, and she is the one who sends out bills and takes the money from people who come in to pay what they owe. Sometimes, they disagree about whether they owe the money or not.

Customers sometimes try to get her to think she made an error. She is vigilant about accuracy, though, and she always has evidence to prove them wrong. They often leave frustrated, but they usually pay anyway.

Her boss says she has never made a bookkeeping error, as far as he knows. She triple checks her work. Her organization skills make her perfect for the job.

lighth0se33
Post 1

I have a friend with a persistent, firm personality who works as an accounting assistant. Her demeanor comes in handy when dealing with customers who owe the company money.

After she balances the books and sees who owes what, it is her duty to get on the phone and hunt them down. Often, people who owe money won’t answer the phone when they check the caller ID. So, then she must either email them or send them a copy of the invoice in the regular mail. On the invoice, she circles the amount due and writes “past due” out beside it.

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