Do you have a knack for number-crunching? Are you organized, punctual, and well-versed in today’s technologies? If so, a career in accounting or bookkeeping may be for you.
As the economy recovers, the need for accountants grows. Skilled accounting professionals are needed to examine financial records across all business types—government, non-profits, small businesses, and more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of accountants is projected to grow 11 percent by 2024, faster than the average rate for all occupations in the U.S.
If you are considering an accounting career, know that enrolling in an associate accounting program is an excellent first step. Earning your associate degree in accounting is one of the fastest, most flexible routes you can take to a job in this in-demand field. In an associate program, you will gain a comprehensive understanding and solid foothold in the field of accounting. In less than two years, you will learn career-specific skills including basic accounting, cost accounting, payroll accounting, taxation, and financial statement analysis.
You may be asking, what exactly can you do with an associate degree in accounting? What accounting career options, positions, and workplaces will be available to you after graduation? Let’s take a closer look at three of the most popular associate degree in accounting jobs.
Bookkeepers, also known as bookkeeping clerks, are responsible for an organization’s financial accounts. They are needed in all types of institutions, from private businesses to governments, to manage bank accounts, complete financial records, and verify the accuracy of procedures used throughout the recording process. Bookkeepers perform a variety of general accounting duties, but differ from accountants in that they are not legally certified. As a bookkeeper, you can expect to:
- Use bookkeeping technology, online spreadsheets, and databases such as Quickbooks
- Enter data and financial transactions into the appropriate computer program
- Receive and record cash, checks, receipts, and vouchers
- Regularly produce reports such as balance sheets, income statements, and totals by account
- Ensure the legality and accuracy in financial figures, postings, and reports
- Prepare bank deposits and send payments to bank
While bookkeepers tend to work for smaller organizations, accounting assistants typically work for larger corporations and have a more specialized work regimen. In fact, accounting assistants may have specific titles such as ‘Accounts Payable Clerk’ or ‘Accounts Receivable Clerk,’ depending on the type of accounting they do.
As an accounting assistant, you will work alongside a licensed accountant to complete a range of accounting tasks. Your responsibilities will vary depending on your level of experience. As an entry-level clerk, you may be responsible for:
- Data entry – Posting details of transactions (dates, types, amounts) to computer system
- Adding up an organization’s accounts
- Determining interest charges for an organization
- Monitoring loans and accounts to ensure all is up to date
- Administrative tasks such as answering phones and scheduling appointments
As you advance as an accounting assistant, you can expect to:
- Add and balance billing vouchers
- Ensure account data is complete and accurate
- Code documents according to a company’s procedures
Payroll clerks are tasked specifically with timekeeping and employee payroll data. These paraprofessional accountants are responsible for compiling and recording time and payroll data across an organization’s entire employee base. They calculate employees’ total time worked as well as commission, if applicable. They compute wages and incorporate a variety of deductions into periodic payroll, as well as prepare employee paychecks.
If you choose to become a payroll clerk, you will:
- Collect timekeeping information
- Compute overtime and calculate commissions
- Process employee advances and paybacks
- Calculate and deduct payroll taxes
- Print and issue paychecks or process direct deposit payments
- Process and issue W-2 and W-4 forms to employees
An AS Accounting Program will prepare you for a variety of entry-level jobs within the financial field. No matter what position you choose, rest assured there will be plenty of room to grow. After receiving your associate degree and gaining some direct work experience, you can expect to advance quickly in your area of expertise. You may even decide to obtain public certification or earn a bachelor’s or master’s accounting degree later down the road.