How to Be an Accounting Technician

There are a number of jobs that make up the road map of the financial world, from accountants to bankers to highly-paid Chief Financial Officers (CFO). Most large businesses and governments require a team of accountants, auditors, clerks and bookkeepers. One of the jobs in this team is often referred to as an accounting technician, or sometimes an accounting clerk. It is a job that requires computer and mathematical skills, as well as an appreciation of numbers and accounting practices. There are a number of paths you can take to become an accounting tech. Read more to find out how to be an accounting technician.


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    Get your high school degree, or equivalent certificate, such as a General Education Development (GED) or General Certification of Secondary Education (GCSE) qualification. Few employers will consider hiring anyone to handle their financial accounts who has not first completed cursory math, Information Technology (IT) and English skills, both in the United States and in Europe.
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    Develop your computer skills. Much of accounting, bookkeeping and clerking is now done on computers. If you are thinking of an accounting tech position as a second career, make sure you are fully versed in computer operating systems, spreadsheets and accounting software, such as Peach Tree, Quickbooks or Quicken.
    • There are a number of computer skills classes and accounting software classes available through community colleges or lifelong learning centers in small to large communities. Invest time and money in a course to prepare you, and then you can list it on your resume.
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    Choose a path of higher education. Most accounting techs must be trained in accounting software, bookkeeping procedures, mathematics and general business management skills. There are a number of ways you can get these skills.
    • Apply for an accounting tech position right out of high school. They may require that you have some experience, so try working for a temp agency or taking an internship in an accounting department. In the UK, you may need to get your Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) certification.
    • Get an associate's degree in business, accounting or as an accounting technician. Although the minimum requirement for most entry-level accounting techs is a high school diploma, an associate's degree may allow you to begin on a higher salary or advance further in your career. During a 2-year associate degree course, you will learn tax law, economics, business operations, accounting and IT skills.
    • Get a bachelor's degree in business or accounting. Some countries, such as New Zealand, require this of their accounting technicians. A full degree will allow you plenty of opportunity for advancement into higher levels of accounting from the accounting tech position. A business administration degree, with an emphasis on accounting, may allow you to take a managerial role in a government or business accounting department.
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    Seek out certifications. There are a number of certifying organizations that you can research and choose to join, as an extra way to show you are qualified to employers. These qualifications differ in the United States and in the United Kingdom, but some of these qualifications can transfer to work in other countries.
    • In the UK, you can seek the CAT certification from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). This usually takes about a year and a half to complete all coursework, exams and apprenticeships. When you complete it, you can use the protected initials CAT after your name and be part of the alumni association that can help you with job placement. You can also seek the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) certification, although it is not backed by the ACCA, and may be of less value in job applications and career advancement.
    • In the US, you can take the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) test, in order to qualify as a Certified Bookkeeper (CB). Being a CB, rather than an accounting tech, requires you to take continuing education credits and renew every 3 years. It is a good path, if you are looking for career advancement.
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    Create a resume. Since you may apply to jobs with titles as broad as clerk, accounting tech, apprentice bookkeeper, office manager, secretary or accounting assistant, you will need to adjust your resume with each application to highlight the required skills. You should do the same with your cover letters, making sure you have done research on the company and you can present yourself as having all the qualifications that are desired.
    • Look online through Internet job search engines, such as Monster, CareerBuilder and Indeed. You can also look on Look in the newspaper and on the websites of large businesses or governmental agencies in your town.
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    Apply for jobs in an office environment. Unlike Certified Public Accountants (CPA) or auditors, the accounting tech jobs are slightly less formal. They are often entry-level positions in companies or governmental agencies.
    • Expand your search to look for secretarial or office manager roles with bookkeeping or clerking requirements. You need clerking and bookkeeping experience in order to advance an accounting tech career, which can be sought after in a small business, where you handle the day-to-day financial recording.

Things You'll Need

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Computer skills
  • Associate degree (optional)
  • Bachelor's degree (optional)
  • Certifications
  • Resume
  • Cover letter

Article Info

Categories: Accounting and Regulations