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Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks - What They Do

How to Advance (Advancement)
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, particularly those who handle all the recordkeeping for a company, may find it beneficial to become certified. The Certified Bookkeeper (CB) designation, awarded by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, demonstrates that individuals have the skills and knowledge needed to carry out all bookkeeping functions, including overseeing payroll and balancing accounts, according to accepted accounting procedures. For certification, candidates must have at least 2 years of bookkeeping experience, pass a four-part examination, and adhere to a code of ethics. Several colleges and universities offer a preparatory course for certification; some offer courses online. Additionally, certified bookkeepers are required to meet a continuing education requirement every 3 years to maintain certification.

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks usually advance by taking on more duties for higher pay or by transferring to a closely related occupation. Most companies fill office and administrative support supervisory and managerial positions by promoting individuals from within their organizations, so clerks who acquire additional skills, experience, and training improve their advancement opportunities. With appropriate experience and education, some bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks may become accountants or auditors.

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks held about 2.1 million jobs in 2008. They work in nearly all industries and at all levels of government. State and local government, educational services, healthcare, and the accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services industries are among the individual industries employing the largest numbers of these clerks.

Job Outlook
Job growth is projected to be about as fast as the average. The large size of this occupation ensures plentiful job opportunities, as many bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are expected to retire or transfer to other occupations.

Job Growth
Employment of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks is projected to grow by 10 percent during the 200818 decade, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. This occupation is one of the largest growth occupations in the economy, with about 212,400 new jobs expected over the projections decade.

A growing economy will result in more financial transactions and other activities that require recordkeeping by these workers. Additionally, an increased emphasis on accuracy, accountability, and transparency in the reporting of financial data for public companies will increase the demand for these workers. Also, new regulations and reporting methods, including the use of International Financial Reporting Standards, should result in additional demand for clerks involved in accounting and auditing. However, growth will be limited by improvements in accounting software and document-scanning technology that make it easier to record, track, audit, and file financial information, including transactions and reports. Moreover, companies will continue to outsource their bookkeeping, accounting, and, in some cases, auditing functions to third party contractors located both domestically and abroad.

While many job openings are expected to result from job growth, even more openings will stem from the need to replace existing workers who leave. Each year, numerous jobs will become available, as clerks transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. The large size of this occupation ensures plentiful job openings, including many opportunities for temporary and part-time work.

Clerks who can carry out a wider range of bookkeeping and accounting activities will be in greater demand than specialized clerks. For example, demand for full-charge bookkeepers is expected to increase, because they can perform a wider variety of financial transactions, including payroll and billing. Certified Bookkeepers (CBs) and those with several years of accounting or bookkeeping experience who have demonstrated that they can handle a range of tasks will have the best job prospects.

In May 2008, the median annual wages of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks were $32,510. The middle half of the occupation earned between $26,350 and $40,130. The top 10 percent of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks earned more than $49,260, and the bottom 10 percent earned less than $20,950.

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It's one of the best jobs in North America in terms of stress level (low), compensation (high) and career placement after graduation (fast). Vault Career Libraries describes accounting as "a system by which economic information is identified, recorded, summarized and reported for the use ...more