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How Do I Become a Certified Accounting Technician?

Accounting technicians are trained professionals who assist accountants with a variety of payroll and taxation tasks. Although no certifying agencies currently offer accounting technician certification in the United States, you can earn related certification as a bookkeeper.

Job Requirements

If you wish to work as an accounting technician, you can earn an accounting technician or specialist certificate. Certification as an accounting technician is not currently available, but you can instead pursue certification with the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) as a Certified Bookkeeper (www.aipb.org). Read on to learn more about the specific steps you can take to work in this field.

Important Facts About a Career as an Accounting Technician

Median Salary (2018) $40,240 (for all bookkeepers, accountants, and auditing clerks)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) -1% (decline) (for all bookkeepers, accountants, and auditing clerks)
Work EnvironmentBookkeepers, accounting, and auditing clerks primarily work in the office, but occasionally visit clients' homes
Key SkillsDetail oriented, computer, integrity, and math

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Postsecondary Education

Accounting certificate programs usually can prepare you for entry-level work as an accounting technician or bookkeeper. You'll learn how to organize financial statements, record business transactions, and prepare tax forms. Some certificate programs also provide continuing education for existing accounting technicians who want to expand on their skills.

During a certificate program, you'll learn how to analyze different kinds of income statements. Using computer technologies like Windows Excel, you can build worksheets, customize formulas, prepare charts, and set up general ledgers. Courses can teach you about federal and state regulations for tax returns and asset listings. Subjects that you might study include the following:

  • Accounting principles
  • Income tax procedures
  • Computer accounting
  • Information system technologies
  • Business math

Certification Exams

At this time, there are no certifying agencies in the United States that offer certification as an accounting technician. However, some organizations have certification tests for bookkeepers. The AIPB's Certified Bookkeeper designation is earned by taking a four-part examination that focuses on common accounting tasks, such as payroll calculations and fraud detection. If you're seeking certification, you must hold at least two years of accounting experience, pursue continuing education credits, and agree to a code of ethics. You can, however, gain your two years of professional experience after taking the exam.

Experience

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), there are a number of opportunities for full-time, part-time, and temporary employment as an accounting technician, bookkeeper, or accounting clerk. While some of these jobs only require a high school diploma and on-the-job training, many employers prefer an accounting certificate or degree from an accredited college.

Bookkeepers usually work for smaller companies and are responsible for maintaining financial statements by recording all deposits, withdrawals, and transactions. Bookkeepers also produce a number of financial reports for owners, managers, and accountants. Accounting clerks perform the same basic function as an accounting technician, such as maintaining records, calculating transactions, and monitoring a number of financial functions for businesses. If you work as an accounting clerk, you might be able to specialize in a particular accounting area, such as billing or loans.