In any nonprofit organization, business or government agency where revenue is generated, income must be tracked and deposited into the appropriate bank accounts. The revenue side of accounting is called accounts receivable. It refers to the forms of income that are generated through donations or dues, product sales or services, and taxes or assessed fines and penalties. An accounts receivable clerk completes a variety of AR-related duties and reports to a senior professional, such as a senior accountant or accounting manager.
An accounts receivable clerk updates computerized or manual accounting systems, and uses spreadsheets and word-processing programs to perform her job. She creates and emails invoices to clients or sends them through the U.S. mail. She keeps track of all invoices mailed and ensures that copies are maintained in the office's filing system. She might be assigned the responsibility of making bank deposits on a weekly or daily basis. She matches invoices with payments in the accounting system and codes deposits accordingly.
The account receivable clerk's responsibilities include creating client statements and mailing them monthly. She maintains a spreadsheet per client that includes a list of outstanding invoices, invoice due dates and the amount of time the invoice has been outstanding. When clients are paying an invoice, she might be responsible for contacting them to determine when payments will be made. She's responsible for generating multiple AR accounting reports and disseminating them within the accounting department. She participates in accounting system close procedures, typically on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.
Education and Skills
Accounts receivable clerks typically have only a high school education, but some employers may require a technical or two-year degree. Most entry-level clerk positions in accounting require little to no experience, but an AR clerk needs about two to six years of experience. AR clerks must have excellent math abilities, basic spreadsheet and word-processing knowledge, and good verbal and written communication skills. She must be familiar with office equipment, such as fax machines, copiers and printers.
Salary and Outlook
In May of 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics listed $34,740 as the median annual wage for all accounting clerks nationally, which includes AR clerks. Those in the top 10 percent earned an annual salary of $53,250. Accounting clerks in local government earned a median wage of $37,200 a year, while those involved in management accounting of companies and businesses earned $37,070 a year. The bureau also indicated that job growth was expected to remain at 14 percent from 2010 through 2020, about as fast as the national average for all jobs.
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