How Do You Become an Accounting Clerk?

Anyone who wants to become an accounting clerk must know how to deals with financial issues of basic to medium complexity. Accounting clerks support business operations and financial processes through understanding accounting practices, following systems and enforcing procedures. Accounting clerks are exposed to a variety of accounting functions and perform a broad range of analysis work. The first and most important step in becoming an accounting clerk is to earn a two-year or four-year degree.

Associate’s vs Bachelor’s Degree

Earning an associate degree in accounting will take two years’ time. These students may learn about basic business concepts, such as business management and organization, as well as basic technology fields, such as computer applications and accounting systems. Students will be prepared to use Microsoft Excel and QuickBooks. The accounting part of this degree program will teach students about fundamental cost, financial and managerial accounting processes and methods. A bachelor’s degree in accounting will require at least 120 credits to complete, so most students will take four years to earn their degrees. Students in this degree program will take at least 60 credits of advanced business and accounting coursework and 60 general education credits. This degree provides more election flexibility, so students may study relevant courses that will help their careers.

Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting

Four-year accounting degree program teach students more than just analyzing, interpreting and documenting financial data. Students learn how to understand advanced systems, communicate critical information and create new real-world accounting practices. These degrees teach students about recording and processing accounting data based on industry guidelines like the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Students learn how to build, maintain and operate accounting systems in order to prepare and produce tax, payroll and financial statements. These degree programs focus on federal and state regulations that are included in national accreditation exams in accountancy. Most modern accounting degree programs conclude with a capstone project that requires students to demonstrate their abilities to apply knowledge, implement skills and reference coursework.

Common Classes

Accounting degree programs naturally teach students about finance and accountancy. Students will learn about the complete accounting cycle, the management of accounting information and operational business entities. Students will learn the fundamental principles of financial presentations and transaction record keeping, so they will understand corporate balance sheets. This means that students will be able to read the asset, liability and equity sections of balance sheets. Classes on basic financial concepts and techniques will teach students about financial planning, decisions, analysis. They will also cover global finance markets, capital budgeting processes, the time value of money and long-term financing decisions. Electives on taxes will teach students about individual and commercial federal tax laws and concepts, such as credits, exclusions, deductions, exemptions and adjusted gross income. Students may learn about passive loss rules, like-kind exchanges and cash accrual methods.

Related Resource: What is an Auditor?

Anyone who wants to become an accounting clerk will need to have the abilities to work independently, meet deadlines as assigned, deal with multiple interruptions and maintain effective working relationships. The ultimate goal of an accounting clerk should include earning the prestigious Certified Public Accountant (CPA) credential. This license requires 150 credits of college coursework, so many students will need to enter an accredited graduate school, according to the American Institute of CPAs.