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No career begins at the top, and no matter how brilliant you are, you won’t start out as a chief financial officer. (Even Kevin Bacon did a horror flick before dancing his way into the hearts of Utahns.) But there are plenty of opportunities to help you take that first step. While some positions require a bachelor’s degree in accounting, others are open to current students or those who have taken a few relevant courses. A few accounting entry-level jobs only require a high school diploma.
Entry-level bookkeepers are tasked with keeping business financial accounts in order. In the role, you’ll gather, enter and report transactions. You may also:
- Reconcile company accounts
- Process the payroll
- Verify transactions
- Prepare financial records
- File state reports
Bookkeepers need to be well organized, highly accurate and able to multitask. You’ll need to know basic office accounting programs such as QuickBooks or Excel. Depending on the individual business, you may need an associate or bachelor’s degree.
Accounts Receivable Clerk
Similar to a bookkeeper, an accounts receivable clerk takes care of billings and receivables. In addition to entering and reconciling data, you may be responsible for ensuring invoices are issued in a timely manner and verifying payments. You could also be tasked with making collection calls and filing liens. This entry-level accounting job does not always require a college degree.
As a payroll clerk, you’ll be in charge of processing the company payroll. That can include:
- Calculating commissions
- Investigating discrepancies
- Checking time cards
- Updating records and deductions
- Preparing and filing tax reporting forms
- Educating staff about company benefits
You’ll most likely need to know how to use QuickBooks and Microsoft Office. Some college coursework may be required, although this type of job is often open to high school graduates. Depending on the size of the company, the role is often combined with bookkeeping or receptionist duties.
Seasonal Tax Preparer
Get some real-world experience by working as a seasonal tax accountant. As a tax preparer, you may meet with clients, review documents and prepare income tax returns. Duties could include preparing documents for individuals, trusts, businesses and non-profit organizations. You’ll need to be proficient with common office software. You should also be generally familiar with tax returns.
Companies often hire accounting students for these positions. When you graduate, this training as an entry-level accountant may boost your resume.
If you have a bit of experience, apply to be a staff accountant. To be hired, you’ll need a working knowledge of general and cost accounting. In the role, you’ll prepare profit and loss statements, code invoices and maintain a general ledger. You may also be responsible for closing the monthly books and filing state and federal tax forms.
You’ll be spending a lot of time with spreadsheets, and you’ll need to be comfortable with accounting software. The job is detail oriented, so you should be competent at finding and resolving discrepancies. These positions require a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and oftentimes a master’s.
And a One And a Two
Whether you prefer working with spreadsheets or tax forms, there is a broad selection of entry-level accounting jobs available. Search for current openings in the Accounting & Finance category on KSL Jobs. We even make it easy to apply: Upload your resume and cover letter right from the listing.