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Accounting roles are very popular and a great way to begin a career journey in the financial industry. Generally, an Accounts Assistant is a professional individual providing support in general bookkeeping duties. Quite often an Account Assistant will be gaining relevant experience and begin working towards their professional designation.

Normally, an Account Assistant assists Accountants in the course of their work. They might help accountants directly, helping them complete daily tasks, or work indirectly, keying in data and compiling information for the Accountants but leaving the final analysis, audit, and approval to the Accountants themselves.

Being a successful Accounts Assistant relies as much on administrative skills and organisation as accounting knowledge and understanding of financial concepts.  However, it is important to have knowledge and understanding of accounting terminology and accounting systems.

Accounting Assistant positions can be found in a range of industry sectors, such as the legal field, financial services, smaller corporate environments and the hotel and retail fields.

 What would you be responsible for….

  • Performing accounts payable functions
  • Billing and related accounts receivable functions
  • Carrying out reconciliation reports
  • Receiving and processing all invoices
  • Assisting the team with other duties associated with financial statement closing process.

 The standard requirements are….

  • Previous experience in payables and receivables
  • Proficiency in MS Office, Excel and Word
  • Accounting systems experience (QuickBooks is the most popular software used in our market).

Essential skills needed….

  • Strong mathematical skills
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Organization
  • Strong verbal and written communication.

To be successful you should….

  • Currently hold or be working towards a bachelor’s degree ideally in Accounting or Finance
  • Be keen to expand your accounting systems knowledge, either on the job or by taking a course such as QuickBooks
  • Be eager to continue studies to obtain a top-tier accounting certification, which vary from, Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA) or Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
  • Be happy to take online assessments to show your math ability, accounting system knowledge and excel skills.

What if I’m starting right at the beginning…

The best place to start is with your current employer:

  • Ask for the opportunity to shadow the current Accounts Assistant
  • Then move on to reviewing invoices, how to create and send these
  • Once you have grasped this, then you can ask to understand reconciliations and how these are made
  • Bit by bit you will grasp the duties of an Accounts Assistant, but the key is to show interest of wanting to be trained and gain further knowledge
  • Start trying to gain relevant qualifications.

Madalena Alves is a recruitment and HR professional who loves to get new careers of to a great start.


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