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Jobs Outlook: Financial Clerks




Overall employment of financial clerks is expected to experience slower-than-average growth through 2012. Despite continued growth in the volume of business transactions, rising productivity stemming from the spread of office automation, as well as company downsizing, will adversely affect demand for financial clerks. Turnover in this large occupation, however, will provide the most job openings. As a result, opportunities for full-time and part-time employment should be plentiful as financial clerks transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.

Many basic data-entry accounting and clerical jobs already have become heavily automated. Productivity has risen significantly, as workers increasingly are using personal computers instead of manual entry and time-consuming equipment such as typewriters, adding machines, and calculators. The growing use of barcode readers, point-of-sale terminals, automated teller machines, and optical scanners that record transactions reduces much of the data entry handled by financial clerks. In addition, the use of local area networks is facilitating electronic data interchange—the sending of data from computer to computer—thereby abolishing the need for clerks to reenter the data. To further eliminate duplicate functions, many large companies are consolidating their clerical operations in a central office where accounting, billing, personnel, and payroll functions are performed for all offices—main and satellite—within the organization. In addition, as more companies merge or are acquired, accounting departments are usually merged as well, reducing the number of financial clerks. More companies also are outsourcing their financial and accounting functions to specialized companies that can do the job more efficiently.

Despite the relatively slow growth of the occupation, some financial clerks will fare better than others. The number of bill collectors is expected to increase as timely payments become a more important goal of companies and more companies offer credit to customers. The health-care services industry is projected to hire more financial clerks—particularly billing clerks—to match the explosive growth of that sector and to process the large amounts of paperwork having to do with patient claims. Tellers also will be needed as banks expand their hours.