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What Does an Accounting Specialist Do?

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  • Written By: Kesha Ward
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 26 October 2014
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Accounting professionals are an integral part of a company's finance and accounting departments. The individual in the role of an accounting specialist will have the responsibility of processing receivables and payables. The individual may also manage the general ledger account, input invoices into the payment system, post payments to customer accounts, and process payments to vendors.

Although the processes of an accounting or finance department may vary, one element that is usually consistent is the department's need for individuals to process, receive, and manage payments. Accounting professionals are at the heart of a company's financial management. As payments come in for products and services, the accounting specialist will apply those payments to the appropriate account. In small companies and businesses, the person in the role may also complete bank deposits as part of accounts receivable responsibilities.

Similar to account receivables, account payables must be properly processed and applied. The monies that are paid out are typically deducted from the company's operating or finance accounts. The accounting specialist may also apply and reconcile payments within a company's general ledger account. It is important that money received and paid out be accurately recorded and reported. The cash flows of a business' general ledger account are used to update and create the company's income statements and balance sheets.

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The accounting specialist should be proficient in invoice processing. Payments to and from vendors are recorded according the payment management system used and the protocol set by the business. The accounting specialist will have the task of applying payments to vendor accounts and ensuring the processing and recording of cleared checks. Vendors that are paid on a recurring basis often require the establishment of a purchase order. The accounting specialist may set-up and manage the payments of purchase orders to ongoing vendors and other service providers.

Journal entries are used to record accounting transactions. The accounting specialist will have the responsibility of performing journal entries for payable and receivable accounting activities. It is a common business practice for entries to be reconciled at the end of each month as well as the close of the fiscal year. The entries the accounting specialist makes to the general ledger must be precise so the reconciliation accurately reflects the company's payment history and account balances.

To work as an accounting specialist, an applicant should have a high school diploma or equivalent. He or she should also have experience working in an accounting department; this experience should include payment processing, account receivable, account payable, and payment reconciliation. Computer skills are also necessary as a great deal of the work completed by an accounting specialist is achieved by using computerized accounting software.

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