Accounting assistants deliver a range of administrative, financial and accounting support to accountants and finance managers.
They support senior finance staff by carrying out junior accounting duties such as ledgers, account preparation and credit control, as well some general office administration tasks like filing and data entry.
This complete job guide includes a full accounting assistant job description and discusses everything else you need to know about the job, including entry requirements, salaries, skills, qualifications, career progression opportunities and more.
- Accounting assistant job description
- How much do accounting assistants earn?
- What does an accounting assistant do?
- Requirements, skills and qualifications
- Who employs accounting assistants?
- Which junior jobs progress to Accounting assistant roles?
Accounting assistant job description
Accounting assistant | JPW Accounts Solutions
About JPW Accounts Solutions
We are a long-established accountancy practice currently experiencing a period of huge growth and expansion; providing a range of accountancy services and financial advice to sole-traders and businesses both locally and nationally.
About the role
As the accounting assistant, you will provide high-quality support across the accounts and finance teams, assisting with a range of administrative and financial tasks to ensure the smooth running of our services.
- Working closely with the accountants to ensure accuracy of reporting and pinpointing any discrepancies.
- Taking full responsibility for the bank loan diary and spreadsheets.
- Creating and sending invoices using Sage 2020, uploading them to the central system
- Helping to prepare accounts and tax returns for sole traders and limited companies.
- Processing transaction and managing petty cash
- Assisting the accountants with daily activities and financial tasks as required.
- Managing credit records and chasing clients with outstanding invoices
- Supporting the monthly payroll run for in-house staff and contractors
- Carrying out daily administration duties, including scanning, filling, minute taking and data entry.
Location & commitments
- Full-time, permanent role based in our central Edinburgh office.
- 35 hours per week — 9-5 with an hour for lunch.
- Occasional paid evening overtime may be required during the tax season.
- GCSE Maths & English at Grade B or above.
- Strong numeracy skills
- Good verbal and written communication skills — comfortable talking to a range of clients.
- Proactive, with the ability to work independently and as part of a team.
- Motivated to study and gain accounting qualifications.
- A-Level Maths at Grade C or above.
- AAT foundation certificate.
- Experience with Sage, Quickbooks and Zero.
Contact us to apply
For immediate consideration, please send your CV and cover letter to our recruitment manager, David Smith, at D.smith@JPWaccounts.co.uk.
How much do accounting assistants earn?
Accounting assistant roles pay under the national average salary, with an average wage of £20,000. With that said, with experience, the job can open up plenty of well-paying opportunities.
Accounting assistant salaries in the UK
- Low: £15,000
- Average: £20,000
- High: £26,000
Accounting assistant salaries will vary hugely depending on:
- The industry of the employer – Accounting assistants in banking and major commercial companies may command a higher salary than those working in the not-for-profit or public sector
- The size of the employer – Larger national and international companies or firms tend to pay higher salaries than small, independent businesses
- General salary factors – Such as level of candidate experience and location
For example, an accounting assistant in London with two years of experience in a well-funded industry such as banking, can normally expect a higher salary than an entry-level accounting assistant working for a private accountancy firm in a small town.
However, it’s important to factor in that these are average figures taken from job advert samples and they don’t include other benefits such as bonuses and overtime, as well as non-financial benefits such as holidays and healthcare.
What does an accounting assistant do?
The job description of an accounting assistant can vary depending on the sector, but here are the typical tasks and responsibilities they generally carry out:
- Preparing financial reports – Compiling and preparing accurate financial reports and documentation
- Updating spreadsheets – Inputting data into financial spreadsheets
- Processing transactions – Processing payments and transactions, such as receipts, invoices and expense forms
- Managing payroll – Processing wages and employee expenses
- Preparing statutory accounts – Assisting in the preparation of month end close and year-end statutory accounts
- Checking accuracy – Checking all financial reports, transactions and data for accuracy
- Managing sales and purchase ledgers – Ensuring entries are up to date and correct
- Assisting accountants – Assisting accountants and managers with a range of ad-hoc financial tasks as required
- Credit control – Monitoring customer debts and chasing outstanding invoices
- Providing administrative support – Undertaking basic office tasks, such as filing, typing, data entry and minute taking
- Handling communications – Monitoring enquiries via email, phone and post and directing communications to the correct department or member of staff
What do accounting assistants need?
Accounting assistant roles are generally entry-level, but employers will still expect a good level of general education and, in some cases, some relevant experience and certain accounting qualifications.
Specific requirements will vary from role to role, but generally speaking, here’s an overview of what’s needed to gain a role:
Accounting assistant jobs are often available to suitable candidates with no prior experience, as many provide full on-the-job training. With that said, most employers will still be on the lookout for a certain set of qualifications and skills, which are discussed below.
Senior accounting assistant roles will normally require candidates to have 2+ years of on-the-job bookkeeping or accounting assistant experience, but some employers ask for more.
Accounting assistant skills
As account assistant jobs are generally junior-level jobs, employers will be keen to employ candidates with strong skills in the following areas:
- Communication: Communicating clearly and confidently with clients, colleagues and managers, in both written and verbal form.
- Organisation: Balancing and prioritising numerous conflicting tasks and demands.
- Numeracy: Working out numbers, sums and calculations with ease.
- Attention to detail: Spotting mistakes and discrepancies within financial documents.
- Problem solving: Effectively balancing accounting ledgers after errors are spotted.
- IT: Ability to quickly get to grips with new accountancy programmes and software.
Accounting assistant qualifications
Qualifications are not essential to work as an accounting assistant, as many employers provide on-the-job training.
However, most jobs do require at least a GCSE-level maths qualification at grade B/C or above, while some of the larger and more competitive firms may ask for maths or accountancy at AS or A-Level.
There are also a number of related qualifications that are recognised across the profession and will help candidates to land jobs and progress within the field of accountancy. These include:
Many accounting assistants are either recent graduates or current students on maths or accounting and finance degrees. Holding a degree in a relevant field is by no means essential, but will put candidates at a significant advantage in terms of landing jobs quickly and at the best companies. Additionally, accounting assistants with a degree are more likely to receive quicker opportunities for progression, including being sponsored by their employer to become a fully chartered accountant.
Taking a recognised bookkeeping qualification will give aspiring accounting assistants the knowledge they need to effectively manage financial records and prepare accurate accounts. There are a number of course providers to choose from, including:
- International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB)
- The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
- Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB)
As well as their bookkeeping course discussed above, the AAT offers four internationally-recognised accounting qualifications at foundation, advanced and professional level. Their foundation certificate makes a good starting point for aspiring accounting assistants with no experience, as it delivers a solid grounding in the basics of finance administration.
The certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB) from ICAEW is a well-recognised accounting qualification that provides students with an understanding of key finance and accounting elements. This course will be a significant advantage in securing an accounting assistant role and gaining further career opportunities within the field.
What is expected of accounting assistants?
Typically, accounting assistant will be expected to commit the following;
- Full or part-time hours – Roles are generally available on a part-time or full-time (35 – 40 hours per week) basis during standard office hours
- Permanent or temporary contracts – While most accounting assistants will be employed permanently, there are also plenty of temp contracts available
- Possibility of occasional evening or weekend work – During the tax season, longer shifts and overtime may be expected
- Location – Normally based at the employer’s office with minimal travel
Accounting assistant benefits
On top of their salary, accounting assistants on permanent contracts will receive a number of extra benefits, such as:
- Bonuses – Based on performance
- Holiday allowance
- Pension scheme
- Health insurance
- Training opportunities
- Career progression
Who employs accounting assistants?
As businesses across all industries and sectors require financial management, employment opportunities for accounting assistants are varied and diverse. Roles are available across the public, industry, commerce and not-for-profit sectors.
With the finance sector supporting the employment of around 613,100 individuals in accounting, bookkeeping and audit roles across the UK, competent accounting assistants are in high demand and likely to see significant progression opportunities in their careers.
Typical accounting assistant employers include companies within:
- Public accounting practice (accounting firms and practices)
- Industry and commerce (retail, manufacturing, telecoms etc)
- Public sector (government, universities, charities etc)
Which junior jobs progress to accounting assistant roles?
Accounting assistant positions are generally entry-level/junior roles, meaning candidates without prior experience can enter the profession without any formal experience.
However, for those who struggle to gain a role without experience, gaining a temporary accounting assistant or admin role through a temping agency can act as a viable way to gain experience and insight into the job and eventually gain a permanent accounting assistant role.
Which senior jobs do accounting assistants progress to?
A job as an accounting assistant is a highly appealing opportunity for those wishing to begin their finance or accountancy career.
The role can act as a springboard into a wealth of career opportunities, and as accountants are in high demand, most employers are happy to support their employees in training to become a qualified or chartered accountant.
With that said, accounting assistants can eventually progress into the roles of:
Assistant accountant / Bookkeeper
This is the next logical step for an accounting assistant and normally offers a generous jump in salary. Assistant accountants or bookkeepers are often part-qualified and work closely with a team of management accountants, helping to produce financial statements and prepare management accounts. Assistant accountants generally carry out fewer administrative and clerical tasks than accounting assistants and are normally trusted with more complex financial tasks.
Many employers will support their accounting assistants and assistant accountants in studying their qualifications and achieving chartered status. Chartered Accountants are highly qualified professionals who provide high-level advice in financial areas, including auditing, corporate finance, insolvency and taxation. With lucrative salaries and strong job stability on offer, it’s a highly worthwhile goal for accounting assistants to aim for.
Accounting assistant job description – conclusion
A role as an accounting assistant is a fantastic starting point for those hoping to kickstart a career in the finance or accounting field.
While starting salaries are fairly low, the job offers strong job security and unrivalled opportunities for progression, including the opportunity to train as a qualified accountant.
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