Accounting Assistant Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does an Accounting Assistant Do?

Accounting assistants provide administrative support to accountants or an accounting department by performing various clerical tasks, such as filing, mail handling, making bank deposits and keeping bank records, handling invoices, tracking expenses for specific projects, and bookkeeping. Other typical duties include preparing financial records, office administration, and processing payroll. This position requires attention to detail, reliability, and excellent communication skills. 

An accounting assistant must have good computer skills, solid math skills, and a strong familiarity with computer accounting software and bookkeeping practices. They typically work in accounting departments for large companies or private accountants. Accounting assistants may also be found in many other sectors, such as retail businesses, manufacturing firms, healthcare facilities, and educational institutions.

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National Average Salary

Accounting assistant salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.

The average U.S. salary for an Accounting Assistant is:

$44,800

Accounting Assistant Job Descriptions

Example 1

Contributions and responsibilities

  • Plan, coordinate, and successfully execute a variety of business requests
  • Coordinate completion of client requests as directed by partners and managers through team communication
  • Project tracking/organization
  • Assist with accounting and tax return projects and ad hoc projects as assigned
  • Prepare or assist with client billings under the guidance of the Billing Manager
  • Assist with E-filing/processing tax returns
  • Maintain schedules and calendars for meetings, travel, and appointments

Background and skills

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Associate’s degree, preferably in accounting or finance, and/or appropriate balance of education and work experience
  • Prefer candidates with any prior office/administrative experience or prior internships
  • Perform work accurately and in a time-efficient manner, with strong attention to detail, organization, and follow through
  • Strong computer skills, including solid skills in the Microsoft Office suite
  • A basic understanding of accounting and tax rules is preferred but not required
  • Maintain a professional demeanor with co-workers and clients

Example 2

Role

  • Account Receivable (AR) /Account Payable (AP)
  • Bank reconciliations
  • Auditing of invoices for primary vendors, main outsource partners, and logistics partners such as DHL and FedEx

Requirements

  • Basic, intermediate accounting
  • An accounting lifer who is passionate about accounting and has studied or is studying accountancy
  • Ideally, someone who has a degree or is well educated
  • QuickBooks or similar experience
  • Advanced Excel
  • Payroll experience, ideally with ADP and knowledge of payroll taxes & process
  • Must also have the desire to learn logistics costings, advanced costing analysis, and a mindset of wanting to learn manufacturing costings

Example 3

Essential duties and functions

  • Assist with department results and coordination of team productivity.
  • Assist with the workflow of the team not limited to assisting in delegating and distributing work associated with processing direct bill statements.
  • Assist in providing direction and responding to specific questions.
  • Assist with overseeing or taking over complex cases and escalations.
  • Assist with training and developing teammates on new systems and procedures.
  • Assist in creating templates from direct bill commission statements, apply cash to invoices, and resolve errors.
  • Assist in monitoring direct bill suspension reports to ensure all direct bill commission payments are processed manually and via upload.
  • Assist with critical elements required for month-end close not limited to working on ad hoc projects as requested.
  • Correspond with Brokers by phone, mail, and email to respond to complex questions, investigate and resolve issues, and follow up on outstanding items. Ensure all correspondence and requests are documented and attached to the appropriate file in the appropriate systems.
  • Frequently coordinate and correspond with other internal departments.

Competencies

  • Time management—the individual prioritizes and uses time efficiently.
  • Interpersonal skills—the individual maintains confidentiality, remains open to others’ ideas, and exhibits a willingness to learn new things.
  • Oral communication—the individual speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations and demonstrates group presentation skills.
  • Written communication—the individual edits work for spelling and grammar, presents numerical data effectively, and is able to read and interpret written information.
  • Problem-solving—the individual identifies and resolves problems in a timely manner, gathers and analyzes information skillfully, and maintains confidentiality.
  • Quality control—the individual demonstrates accuracy and thoroughness and monitors their own work to ensure quality.

Qualifications

  • Minimum education required High School Diploma or GED
  • Proficient with MS Office Suite
  • Exceptional telephone demeanor
  • Ability to maintain a high level of confidentiality
  • 5 or more years of experience in a similar position or industry
  • Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in an accounting-related discipline
  • Some licensing or insurance-related courses
  • Build detailed business plans to facilitate the attainment of goals and quotas
  • Lead the entire sales cycle from finding a client to securing a deal
  • Support and solve problems for clients by understanding and exceeding their expectations
  • Illustrate the value of products and services to build growth opportunities; compile and analyze data to identify trends
  • Follow up with clients regularly to ensure needs are being met and find opportunities for growth
  • Maintain a database of clients, prospects, partners, and vendors

How to Hire an Accounting Assistant

Consider the following when hiring an accounting assistant:

  • Recruiting: Do you have the internal resources and tools to source and recruit for this role successfully?
  • Complexity: Do you need a senior professional, or will mid, or even junior-level skills suffice?
  • Duration: Is this a one-time project, or an indefinite need?
  • Management: Can you effectively direct the work effort?
  • Urgency: Are there any deadlines associated with this need?
  • Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?

Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need. Fortunately, various great options exist for every scenario, no matter how unique. For hiring an accounting assistant, we recommend the following options:

1. Use 4 Corner Resources (or another professional recruiting firm)

The heavy lifting is done for you when working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. Understanding your needs and ensuring the right candidate for the position is the key to our success.

This is the best route to take when:

  • You need to fill the position quickly
  • You want access to a vast talent pool of high-quality, prescreened candidates
  • Your position is suited for temporary hiring services, contract staffing, or contract-to-hire recruiting, and you intend to direct the work activity.
  • You are hiring an employee as a direct placement but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff. 
  • You aren’t familiar with current salary rates, market trends, and available skill sets
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2. Advertise your opening on a top job board

Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a proven job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. If you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively, this can be a great choice. 

We recommend using a job board when:

  • Your internal recruiting team has the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications
  • You are hiring a direct employee and have time to manage the entire recruiting effort 
  • You have a process for receiving, screening, and tracking all resumes and applications
  • You are prepared to respond to all applicants

There are many career sites out there. Here are the two we recommend for an accounting assistant opening:

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social network for job seekers, professionals, and businesses. With this popular job site, you can enhance your brand and advertise your open position to a wide audience of motivated, qualified candidates. Job postings on LinkedIn are also extremely streamlined and user-friendly, making it even easier for candidates to apply. Additionally, applicants can use their LinkedIn profile instead of a resume to expedite the process. 

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CareerBuilder

CareerBuilder has been a trusted source for hiring since 1995. Reach 80+ million unique, diverse U.S. job seekers annually by posting your jobs through their talent acquisition channels. Through CareerBuilder, you can engage candidates and drive them into your sourcing pipeline. We recommend using CareerBuilder for hiring when you have the internal resources and processes to review, screen, and reply to all applicants.

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3. Leverage your internal resources

You can utilize your own website, social media, and employees to assist in your search for top candidates. 

A company website posting should be the first step in notifying prospective candidates that you are hiring. Social media can also be a powerful tool for spreading the word about your new opening. As far as exposure is concerned, this option can be as good as some job boards when you have a large enough following across various platforms, like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.

Current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives.

We recommend these options when:

  • Your brand has great name recognition
  • You can consistently monitor and respond to candidate activity through your website and social media accounts
  • You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements
  • You have an effective employee referral program in place

If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.

Sample Interview Questions

  • Talk about a time when you worked with confidential documents or accounts. 
  • Talk about a time when you had to finish multiple tasks on a tight deadline. 
  • Do you have any accounting experience?
  • Do you have any accounting certifications? 
  • How would you explain the importance of what an accounting assistant is?
  • How would you handle an audit? 
  • How would you handle a financial discrepancy? 
  • Do you have experience working with accounting software? 
  • What skills are needed to become a successful accounting assistant? 
  • What accounting software have you worked with in the past? 
  • How would you handle an accounting error? 
  • What are the main branches of accounting? 
  • What day-to-day responsibilities did you have in your last position?
  • What is the difference between an inactive account and a dormant account? 
  • What skills do you think are essential to be a successful accounting assistant? 
  • What special skills and courses do you need to become more efficient in an accounting assistant position?
  • What do you know about the position? 

Need help hiring an Accounting Assistant?

We match top professionals with great employers across the country. From filling urgent job openings to developing long-term hiring strategies, our team is here to help. Review our staffing solutions, browse our award-winning Staffing Corner blog, or call today. We look forward to connecting with you soon.

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