If numbers are your thing, a career in accounting may be in the cards. If you are curious to explore the field or ready to start in that career, becoming an accounting assistant is an excellent first step.
Accounting assistant jobs give you first-hand experience of what life as an accountant looks like, along with a way to start gaining the skills you need. The right kind of accounting assistant jobs can help you learn the basics, make important connections and earn a decent accounting assistant salary.
Accounting assistants support Certified Professional Accountants and other financial professionals. Typical duties include creating and updating financial reports, reconciling invoices, prepping deposits, maintaining needed spreadsheets and issuing invoices. Depending on the size of the office, an accounting assistant may also perform more traditional assistant duties like answering phones and scheduling appointments. The job of an accounting assistant requires someone who is detail-oriented, proficient with computers, has a keen eye for numbers and can keep sensitive financial information confidential.
You can look for accounting assistant jobs whether you have only a high school diploma or have some college education. If you excel at math and are proficient in accounting software or doing calculations, you don’t need much formal education since you will learn a lot on the job. However, most employers do look for someone who has taken specific accounting or software classes. Of course, the more education and experience you have, the easier it will be to find an accounting assistant job and the higher average pay for an accounting assistant.
Accounting assistant jobs are found in a variety of fields since most have a dedicated accounting department. You can work in health care, finance, insurance, social services, corporations and even retail. You can also work for more dedicated accounting professions, such as tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services. Based on your preference, you can choose to be an assistant at a larger company or for a solo accountant. You may get more hands-on or specialized experience working with an individual, but the opportunity for more growth at a company. Most accounting assistants work full-time, during regular business hours. Certain times of year may require overtime, such as tax time, the end of a fiscal year or during regular accounting audits. It is a position that often requires working on your own a lot, with some collaboration with clients or other professionals.
Years of Experience and Salary
The median annual wage for all bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks, including the average pay for an accounting assistant, was $39,240 in May 2017. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,600, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $60,670. As you gain more experience and responsibilities, your accounting assistant salary or CPA assistant salary increases.
Accounting assistant jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services and the finance and insurance industries, tend to have a higher accounting assistant salary than other professions. The average pay for an accounting assistant in those professions is $41,260 and $40,910, respectively.
Job Growth Trend
Employment of accounting assistants is expected to remain flat over the coming decade as the use of technology increases. Newer software means that many of the tasks handled by accounting assistant jobs are automatically computed, and fewer employees can do more work. Despite that, accounting is a broad profession that always needs new people coming in to learn the trade. As the profession shifts, more experienced professionals are leaving to do more consultant-type work, making way for new accountants to move up the ranks.