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Job Descriptions, Definitions Roles, Responsibility: Financial Clerks




Financial clerks keep track of money, recording all amounts coming into or leaving an organization. Their records are vital to an organizationís need to keep track of all revenues and expenses. While most financial clerks work in offices, maintaining and processing various accounting records, some deal directly with customers, taking in and paying out money. When bills are not paid on time, financial clerks must contact customers to find out why and attempt to resolve the problem. Other clerks keep track of a storeís inventory and order replacement stock when supplies are low. (Additional information about specific financial clerks appears in separate statements.)

Depending on their specific titles, these workers perform a wide variety of financial recordkeeping duties. Bill and account collectors notify customers with delinquent accounts in order to solicit payment. Billing and posting clerks and machine operators prepare bills and invoices. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks maintain financial data in computer and paper files. Payroll and timekeeping clerks compute wages for payroll records and review employee timecards. Procurement clerks prepare purchase orders and monitor purchase requests. Tellers receive and pay out money for financial institutions, while gaming cage workers perform many of the same services for casinos.

The duties of financial clerks vary with the size of the firm. In a small business, a bookkeeper may handle all financial records and transactions, as well as payroll and billing duties. A large firm, by contrast, may employ specialized accounting, payroll, and billing clerks. In general, however, clerical staffs in firms of all sizes are increasingly performing a broader variety of tasks than in the past.

Another change in these occupations is the growing use of financial software to enter and manipulate data. Computer programs automatically perform calculations that previously were done manually. Computers also enable clerks to access data within files more quickly and even generate statements automatically. Nevertheless, most workers still keep backup paper records for research, auditing, and reference purposes, although a paperless office is increasingly the goal for many organizations.

Despite the growing use of automation, interaction with the public and with coworkers remains a basic part of the job for many financial clerks. Payroll clerks, for example, answer questions concerning employee benefits, tellers and gaming cage workers help customers with their financial needs, and procurement clerks often have to deal with an organizationís suppliers.