What is an Accounting Assistant?

Today’s accounting assistant, also known as an accounts assistant, provides an important and often very diverse set of financial services to their employer. These important professionals are not technically accountants but are quite similar in function. Let’s breakdown exactly what it is that account assistants do as well as compare this vocation to that of the related accountant position.

A Career at a Glance

So, what exactly is it that this professional does, and what is their purpose? The purpose of the accounting assistant is to serve all of the basic financial needs of a given business or operation. As the term, “financial needs” is undoubtedly a broad one, so too are the financial duties that may possibly be assigned to this worker, according to the American Accounting Association.

A company may require them to compile, review, and maintain records, handle invoices, receipts, and vouchers, and even get involved with vendor payments and tax matters. While the array of duties assigned may vary greatly from one employer and company to the next, one can begin to get a pretty good feel for the general parameters of the position by looking to this Michigan Department of Civil Service Job Specification Sheet which shows this department’s particular take on the position. Despite any fluctuations in specific duties, in the end, the accounts assistant is responsible for all of entity’s financial dealings.

Where Assistants are Needed

Although we provide an example of this vocation above that comes to us courtesy of government, the need for workers of this type spans all industries and sectors: commercial, industrial, non-profit organizations, private entities, government bodies, and more. Here are a few, specific venues in which these workers are regularly needed.

  • Retail stores and their corporate centers
  • Shipping services
  • Transportation services
  • Communications companies
  • The rental industry – apartments, cars, buildings, media, and so on
  • Security services
  • The entertainment industry
  • Parks and recreation services
  • The energy industry
  • and many more!

Accounts Assistant Vs. Accountant

Learning the basics of this vocation, one might naturally wonder what then the difference is between this line of work and that of today’s accountant. Indeed, these are two highly related and extremely similar career choices. To draw some distinction though, the account assistant is a sort precursor or junior-level manifestation of the accountant.

While accountants may share some overlapping duties, they don’t typically deal with all of the various, smaller minutia taking place at a company like the assistant does. The accountant on the other hand deals more with the larger numbers at the core of operations, income, trades, and so on. They are also required to be considerably more educated and experienced than the assistant in most cases as well.

Related Resource: What is a Corporate Entertainment Accountant?

The accounts assistant is certainly an integral part of most, complex financial operations today. They are also an important attachment to the accountant in that same type of financial work environment.