First Jobs as an Accountant
- Budget Analyst
- Public Accountant
- Accounting Assistant
- Accounting Clerk
Accounting is a broad industry, and job responsibilities for entry-level accountant jobs can range from auditing and financial consulting to reporting and record-keeping. Although most accountant jobs require at least one year of experience in the field, graduates may be able to attain entry-level positions or work in a private practice as an external accountant for a company or individual.
1. Budget Analyst
A budget analyst, also known as a cost estimator or budget accountant, is an entry-level position in the field of private accounting or management. These professionals work within government agencies, organizations or companies to track payroll, manage financial records and assets and analyze finances. They may also be responsible for reporting to accounting or finance managers, planning financial strategies, monitoring trends in revenues and costs or developing budgets. These individuals must have significant knowledge regarding predictive accounting, information technology management and business analytics.
2. Public Accountant
Public accountants may work in either private practices or accounting firms. Entry-level positions in this industry are often referred to as “junior associates,” and these individuals either service in financial positions in government agencies or perform accounting functions for small business and nonprofit organizations. Their primary duties include providing financial advice, preparing taxes, maintaining financial data, creating reports, calculating income and auditing financial records for legal compliance and accuracy. Public accountants typically use special accounting management software and systems to perform these duties.
3. Accounting Assistant
Accounting assistants support an organization’s financial needs. They typically work for a senior accountant, and job duties include maintaining and filing records, billing and making and answering phone calls. They may also perform basic bookkeeping duties such as preparing the ledger for the senior accountant’s approval, entering financial details and calculating deposits and debits. Accounting assistants may also work with financial institutions to ensure that accounts are properly balanced and that funds are available for expenses. Accounting assistants must be familiar with office procedures and accounting software, and they need to have solid organizational and communication skills.
4. Accounting Clerk
Accounting clerks have a number of office and accounting responsibilities, including posting transaction details, determining interest charges and calculating accounts. They also issue payments that are owed to other organizations, file and maintain financial receipts and records and communicate with contractors about bills. They are responsible for contacting clients about invoices as well as collecting and recording incoming payments.
Also known as a bookkeeping clerk, a bookkeeper is typically responsible for tracking customer or client accounts, recording financial transactions, maintaining fiscal records and generating reports for supervisors and managers. Most of the time, bookkeepers keep track of several accounts simultaneously, positing costs and income for the companies for whom they work. However, specific duties will depend on the company and its needs. For instance, they could prepare tax documents, invoices and bank deposits, or they could be responsible for managing payroll. The main industries in which bookkeepers work include wholesale, retail, professional services, insurance and healthcare, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Related Resource: 5 Types of Businesses That Need Accountants
Although working as a public accountant or budget analyst typically requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, those pursuing bookkeeping or accounting clerk positions might not be required to attain a degree. However, if you wish to advance your career, an associate’s degree is a must as it is required for most entry-level accountant jobs.