Have you ever thought about becoming an Accounts Clerk? If yes then why don’t you go through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this great career in the UK.
What does an Account Clerk do?
Accounts clerks (also known as finance clerks or bookkeepers) keep financial records and help to prepare accounts in all types of business.
As an accounts clerk your duties would typically include:
- balancing accounts (often known as ‘double entry book-keeping’)
- processing sales invoices, receipts and payments
- preparing statements showing the company or department’s income and outgoings
- completing VAT returns
- checking that accounts are accurate
- preparing wages and processing expenses claims, if you deal with payroll
- helping to prepare final accounts, such as profit and loss accounts and balance sheets
- using computerised accounting systems
- giving administrative support to accountants.
In larger companies, you would usually work as part of an accounting team, and you might specialise in one area like sales or purchase ledger, payroll or credit control. In small businesses, you might do all of these tasks and also handle cash.
Working Hours for Accounts Clerks
In a full-time job you would typically work standard office hours, Monday to Friday. If you were a self-employed bookkeeper you could work at times to suit you.
Part-time hours and temporary work are often available.
How much does an Account Clerk earn?
Salary and pay information:
- Starting salaries can be between £17,000 and £26,000 a year.
- With experience, earnings can reach £28,000 to £32,000.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
Entry Requirements for Account Clerks
You will find it helpful to have previous experience of office work. Temporary work (‘temping’) can be a good way of getting experience that may lead to a permanent job. Computer experience is also useful, particularly in using spreadsheet and database packages like Microsoft Excel and Access.
Above all, you should feel confident with maths and using computers. Employers may prefer you to have some GCSEs (A-C) including maths (or a similar level of qualification), although entry requirements may vary.
You may have an advantage by taking a basic accounts or bookkeeping qualification before you look for work, such as:
- AS or A Level in Accounting
- Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) Level 2 Award in Book-keeping
- International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB) Certificates in Book-keeping or Computerised Book-keeping at levels 1 and 2
- Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) Level 1 Certificate in Basic Bookkeeping or Level 2 in Manual or Computerised Bookkeeping
- OCR Level 1 Certificate in Bookkeeping and Levels 2 and 3 Certificates in Accounting
- City & Guilds (8991) Levels 1 and 2 Certificates in Book-keeping and Accounts.
You can study for most of these qualifications full- or part-time in local colleges or training centres, or alternatively by distance learning.
You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers.
For more information on financial services Apprenticeships and Higher Apprenticeships, visit the Apprenticeships or the Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC) websites.
Training and Development
Once you are working as an accounts clerk, most of your training will be on the job whilst you help experienced staff. Employers may also allow you to study for qualifications such as the AAT, IAB, OCR and City & Guilds certificates mentioned above.
As your experience grows, you could work towards more advanced qualifications such as:
- AAT Accounting Qualification (at Level 2 Certificate, Level 3 Diploma and Level 4 Diploma levels)
- IAB Level 3 Diplomas in Accounting and Advanced Bookkeeping or Computerised Accounting
- ICB Level 3 Diploma in Bookkeeping (Manual or Computerised).
You can achieve these qualifications through work-based training, part-time study at a college or training centre, or by distance learning. See the AAT, IAB and ICB websites for more details.
When you have achieved the AAT Accounting Qualification to level 4, you will be a qualified accounting technician who is able to produce financial reports and assist accountants with audits. In the longer term, you could continue to study and qualify as an accountant.
Skills and Knowledge
- confidence working with numbers
- good spoken and written communication skills
- an interest in business and finance
- good organisational skills
- a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
- teamworking ability
- the ability to work to strict deadlines
- honesty and discretion.
You could work for companies in any business sector, or in the public sector for organisations such as local councils, colleges/universities or the NHS. You could also be a self-employed bookkeeper for a number of small businesses.
Jobs may be advertised in the local press, Jobcentre Plus, and by recruitment agencies.
With more experience and qualifications, you could become an accounting technician and take on more complex work. You could also choose to study further and qualify as an accountant.