A future as an accounting assistant is a bright one.
Why? It’s simple. When you enter a career field that offers an abundance of flexibility, it means that there are a number of organizations, of all sizes, across a broad spectrum of business and industry types, that are in need of your services.
And that kind of flexibility only enhances the range of opportunities for employment well into the future.
Such is the case in the field of accounting. And one of the integral members of any accounting team within an organization is the accounting assistant.
Accounting assistants are entry-level finance professionals who handle a wide range of tasks assisting professional accountants. Their duties can include:
- Meeting and greeting clients
- Creating financial reports
- Maintaining financial records
- Helping to prepare tax returns
- Checking financial records for accuracy
- Updating financial statements
- Processing bank statements and company receipts
- Preparing profit and loss statements
- Monitoring budgets
- Serving as a communications liaison with clients
- Coordinating accounts payable and accounts receivable
- Handling insurance claims
But if you think a typical day in the life of an accounting assistant is routine, think again. In today’s world and globally interconnected economy, there are a number of emerging trends and issues that directly impact the work of accounting assistants and requires them to constantly adapt, adjust, and stay on their toes.
For instance, the Association of International Certified Public Accountants recently identified several emerging issues that are impacting the work of accounting professionals today, and will continue.
One of those is the continual, rapid advances in technology and how information is obtained, processed, and communicated. As we live in a world where people are connected and online 24/7, how can accounting professionals strike the appropriate balance between the productivity advantages delivered by IT with the essential human, face-to-face interactions that customers often want and expect?
Another emerging issue is the continued globalization of business and industry around the world. As more organizations expand into additional locations in other countries, there will be more and more pressure on accounting professionals to understand international laws and regulations, as well as bring a more global perspective to their work.
And it’s no mystery that cyber-security is one of the hottest topics in the world today. As with any other profession, accounting professionals need to be well-equipped to deal with the intense scrutinization of financial activities by government agencies on the lookout for fraud and other misdeeds.
So, long story short, as an accounting assistant, you’ll constantly be required to stay abreast with evolving issues and trends, which makes the career anything but boring.
Now, back to the point about business flexibility.
Clearly, anyone who’s considering different career paths would feel pretty good about a profession in which their skills and training could be applied in a wide range of professional settings.
That’s exactly the case for accounting assistants. Of course there are the settings that you would expect for accounting professionals—accounting firms, tax offices, auditing firms, etc. And in each of those instances, there are a virtually endless range of organizations large and small.
But in addition to those opportunities, there are businesses, corporations, organizations, government agencies, retail companies, and many others that have in-house accounting departments that need the services of accounting assistants.
In a nutshell, as an accounting assistant you’ll have a skill set that is in-demand in a huge variety of professional settings.
So, how do you know if being an accounting assistant is the right path for you?
It’s a serious question. Because to succeed and thrive in the accounting profession, it usually takes individuals who bring a distinctive set of strengths, characteristics, and personal traits that are commonly utilized in the field.
- Abilities in mathematics—let’s face it, the field of accounting is firmly entrenched in numbers, so having solid skills in mathematics and related academic areas is highly desirable.
- Interest in business and finance—individuals who are best positioned to succeed as accounting assistants bring a genuine interest in business and finance.
- Organizational skills and abilities—as an accounting assistant, no two days will be the same, and a big part of every day will involved multi-tasking in a fast-paced professional environment, so it’s crucial that you have the organizational skills to stay on top of it.
- Attention to detail—it may be an old cliché, but “the devil is in the details” couldn’t be more true in the accounting profession, where it’s all about the numbers.
- Communication and teamwork—accounting assistants usually work under a more senior-level accountant, and every day requires clear communication between the two and solid teamwork among the entire team.
- Appreciation of deadlines—deadlines are a big part of the accounting profession, so understanding that no matter what particular task you’re working on, it needs to be done on time, every time, is a must.
Anyone who brings these attributes to the table and is interested in a career path with abundant flexibility and opportunity is well-suited for a career as an accounting assistant. The next step is making it happen.
To do so, it takes a solid and proven education and training program.
The Payroll/AP&AR/Human Resources program at Summit College is designed to prepare and equip students with the skills and values it takes to succeed as an accounting assistant. Delivered by seasoned professionals using the most modern professional accounting technology, software, and resources, the program offers education and training in such areas as:
- Payroll procedures
- Personal finance
- Business law and ethics
- Computerized payroll accounting
- Quick books
- Computational skills
The Payroll/AP&AR/Human Resources program is offered through convenient day and evening class options, and can be completed in as little as nine months.
Students in the program enjoy the personalized guidance, supportive environment, and individualized focus on student success that has characterized Summit College since its founding.
Upon completion of the program, students are prepared to enter the world of accounting as entry-level accounting assistants. And for some, completing this program and launching a career as an accounting assistant is an excellent first step that can lead to more advanced education and training, with the ultimate goal of becoming a professional accountant.