What is an Accounting Assistant?

If you want to get into the finance field, an accounting assistant position may be a great place to start. This entry-level job offers a chance to get experience with the basics of the field. The job description for an accounting assistant may include maintaining budgets and records, preparing and sending invoices, handling cash, and performing other administrative duties.

Since you’ll be handling basic accounting and assisting the accounting staff, precision is important in this role.

Want to learn more? We’ll cover everything you need to know if you’re interested in this position or hiring for it, from education requirements and job responsibilities to salary potential and paths for advancement.

How is this role monitored?

An accounting assistant performs basic bookkeeping and administrative tasks, either in an accounting department of a company or at an accounting firm. The exact duties depend on the employer, but an accounting assistant reports to a supervisor—likely a staff accountant or accounting manager. For anyone interested in accounting assistant careers, accuracy and attention to detail are important.

In addition to reporting to an employer, accounting assistants should be prepared for government oversight of their team’s work, particularly during audits and tax season.

Accounting assistant salary

The median salary of bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks in the U.S. was $41,230 in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Exactly how much an accounting assistant will make depends on experience and education as well as other factors like location and company type.

Accounting assistant skills list

  • Computer skills for spreadsheets and bookkeeping software
  • Accuracy and attention to detail
  • Math skills to handle financial data
  • Integrity and confidentiality
  • Flexibility during tax time and during audits

Qualifications of an accounting assistant

  • High school diploma
  • Associate or bachelor’s degree preferred
  • Certifications like Certified Bookkeeper or Certified Public Bookkeeper a plus
  • Must be able to type and perform data entry quickly as needed

What does an accounting assistant do?

The primary accounting assistant responsibility is to support the staff accountants in their duties producing financial documents for the organization. Other accounting assistant job duties and responsibilities may include the following:

  • Processing payments and documents such as invoices, employee reimbursements, and financial statements.
  • Tracking expenses and evaluating budgets.
  • Reconciling invoices and identifying discrepancies.
  • Posting financial data to accounts.
  • Drafting and editing financial presentations.
  • Handling cash disbursements and issuing checks.
  • Participating in monthly, quarterly, and annual audits.
  • Handling communication between the organization and clients.
  • Maintaining and improving the organization’s bookkeeping process.
  • Performing basic office tasks like filing, data entry, and mail processing.

Top accounting assistant interview questions

Scored an interview? Be prepared to answer the following questions:

  1. Which accounting software and computer programs do you have experience using?
  2. Can you spot the mistakes in this financial document?
  3. How would you handle discovering an error in an already-approved financial document?
  4. Describe a time when you handled a challenge while under a tight deadline.
  5. What do you enjoy most about your work?
  6. What experience do you have handling confidential information?
  7. How do you stay organized and focused?
  8. What types of financial records or reports have you prepared and how was your data used?
  9. Describe a situation at a previous employer when your actions helped the organization increase revenue, reduce costs, or save time.
  10. What skills do you possess that you feel specifically qualify you for this position?

Similar positions

The following positions may have some of the same duties and could be potential alternative career options:

  • Bill and Account Collectors
  • Bookkeepers
  • Financial Clerks
  • Budget Analysts

Career advancement

With experience and additional education, accounting assistants may advance to the following roles:

  • Staff Accountant
  • Auditor
  • Payroll Specialist
  • Financial Manager

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