Bookkeeping, Accounting, & Auditing Clerks
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Nature of the Work |
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are an organizations financial recordkeepers. They compute, classify, record, and verify numerical data, to develop and maintain financial records.
In small establishments, bookkeeping clerks handle all aspects of financial transactions. They record debits and credits, compare current and past balance sheets, summarize details of separate ledgers, and prepare reports for supervisors and managers. They may also prepare bank deposits by compiling data from cashiers, verifying and balancing receipts, and sending cash, checks, or other forms of payment to the bank.
In large offices and accounting departments, accounting clerks have more specialized tasks. Their titles often reflect the type of accounting they do, such as accounts payable clerk or accounts receivable clerk. In addition, responsibilities vary by level of experience. Entry-level accounting clerks post details of transactions, total accounts, and compute interest charges. They may also monitor loans and accounts, to ensure that payments are up to date.
More advanced accounting clerks may total, balance, and reconcile billing vouchers; ensure completeness and accuracy of data on accounts; and code documents, according to company procedures. They post transactions in journals and on computer files and update these files when needed. Senior clerks also review computer printouts against manually maintained journals and make necessary corrections. They may also review invoices and statements, to ensure that all information is accurate and complete, and reconcile computer reports with operating reports.
Auditing clerks verify records of transactions posted by other workers. They check figures, postings, and documents for correct entry, mathematical accuracy, and proper codes. They also correct or note errors for accountants or other workers to adjust.
As organizations continue to computerize their financial records, many bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks use specialized accounting software on personal computers. They increasingly post charges to accounts on computer spreadsheets and databases, as manual posting to general ledgers is becoming obsolete. These workers now enter information from receipts or bills into computers, which is then stored either electronically, as computer printouts, or both. Widespread use of computers has also enabled bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks to take on additional responsibilities, such as payroll, timekeeping, and billing.
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks held about 2.1 million jobs in 1998. About 25 percent worked in wholesale and retail trade, and 16 percent were in organizations providing business, health, and social services. Approximately 1 out of 3 of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks worked part time in 1998.
Virtually all job openings for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks through 2008 will stem from replacement needs. Each year, numerous jobs will become available, as these clerks transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Although turnover is lower than among other record clerks, the large size of the occupation ensures plentiful job openings, including many opportunities for temporary and part-time work.
Employment of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks is expected to decline through 2008. Although a growing economy will result in more financial transactions and other activities that require these clerical workers, the continuing spread of office automation will lift worker productivity and contribute to employment decline. In addition, organizations of all sizes will continue to consolidate various recordkeeping functions, thus reducing the demand for these clerks.
(See the introductory statement on records processing occupations for information on working conditions, training requirements, and earnings.)
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