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How to become an accounts assistant

young female accounts assistant in an office

Want to move into accountancy, but don’t have much experience or any formal qualifications? An accounts assistant role could be for you.

Junior accountancy professionals are always in high demand at finance companies, and accountants are generally some of the most sought-after professionals on the market*. So launching your career as an accounts assistant is a great place to start.

Important, accessible, and always in demand. Here’s an overview of the role and how to move into it.

What does an accounts assistant do?

Within this role you’d essentially be supporting accountants with admin, carrying out a range of accountancy based tasks. You’ll be helping to: create and maintain financial records, process tax returns, prepare company accounts, invoicing, filing and many other tasks.

Here’s a list of other duties you may carry out:

  • Preparing reports
  • Processing company expenses
  • Payroll
  • Credit control and debt chasing
  • Purchase ledgers
  • Filling out purchase orders
  • Managing petty cash
  • Answering the telephone

Why choose this career path?

If you are just entering the world of work after school or college, or are embarking on a career change, this can be a great entry into the stable and rewarding career of accountancy.

Given the relevance of this profession to all industries, accounts assistants can find work in almost any sector, so your options are vast.

Although you may be content to remain as an accounts assistants, there are many opportunities to progress beyond this role. Many employers offer their employees the chance to develop by investing in further qualifications such as AAT, CIMA or ACCA while on the job, or might want them to specialise in a particular area of accountancy.

What qualifications do I need?

What makes this role so accessible is that you do not require a degree or any specialist qualification to start. With many companies you will simply be trained on the job.

Having some form of relevant qualification, or experience will give you an advantage, however, but as long as you have some A-C/4-9 GCSE’s (usually including maths) you could have a good chance.

If you feel you’d want to go into this role with some background qualification then you may want to consider:

What skills do I need?

Accounts assistants are required to think logically and have a good grasp of numbers. But the softer skills that may help are:

  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Computer literacy
  • Good administrative skills
  • The ability to work independently or part of a team
  • The ability to work to deadline
  • Good with managing workload

What could I earn?

There are many factors that can affect the salary of an accounts assistant such as: the size of the company, the location, and your experience. However, accounts assistants salaries averagely range from 18-28k per annum.**

Average UK Accounts Assistant salary in the UK, by area:

  • London: £30,240
  • Manchester: £23,000
  • Wales: £16,380
  • Scotland: £19,320
  • East of England: £19,740
  • Yorkshire and the Humber: £17,640

Interested?

If this role is for you, then please look at our AAT courses page for more information on Bookkeeping and accountancy foundation qualifications.

Sources: *https://www.roberthalf.co.uk/salary-guide/accounting-finance/accounts-assistant-salaries
**https://www.roberthalf.co.uk/salary-guide/accounting-finance/accounts-assistant-salaries
Other source: https://www.totaljobs.com/salary-checker/average-accounts-assistant-salary-manchester#:~:text=The%20average%20salary%20for%20Accounts%20Assistant%20jobs%20in%20Manchester%20is%20%C2%A323%2C000.

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