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How Do I Become an Accounts Receivable Clerk?

By K. Kinsella
Updated Feb 12, 2024
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An accounts receivable clerk accepts payments and pays invoices on behalf of an entity as well as handling other minor bookkeeping tasks. Someone wishing to become an accounts receivable clerk must graduate from high school and some companies prefer to hire clerks who have undergraduate college degrees. A clerk must have good administrative and customer service skills and someone who plans to become an accounts receivable clerk can acquire these skills either by attending a variety of training courses or by working in other junior administrative jobs.

Municipal governments, small businesses and major companies all employ accounting clerks and the specific tasks that these individuals perform vary from employer to employer. A clerk at a small firm may only process a few transactions a day and many people involved in these jobs are entry-level employees who work on a part-time basis. Conversely, someone wishing to become an accounts receivable clerk for a major company may have to complete an undergraduate degree program in accounting, finance or a related topic. Additionally, some firms only hire individuals who have completed accountant licensing examinations that are administered either by regulatory agencies or accounting industry associations.

Clerks must have good customer service skills since these individuals liaise with business clients and vendors on a daily basis. Therefore, many employers prefer to hire clerks who have prior experience working in retail, banking or other occupations in which customer service skills are a component of the job. Additionally, clerks often have to send out communications and invoices to clients in which case someone wishing to become an accounts receivable clerk must have good typing skills and the ability to use word processing software and email systems. Some people attend short-term community college courses in which they are taught how to use widely used word processing software and communications equipment. Other individuals learn about these systems as a result of receiving on-the-job training while working in other office based environments.

Errors in bookkeeping can prove costly since vendors that do not receive payments may cancel orders; this can lead to service break downs. Some employers require candidates for clerk jobs to take practical examinations in which accounting and data entry skills are put to the test. Such tests may involve equipment such as calculators or accounting software and in many instances, a candidate must achieve a certain score in order to be considered for an open position. Therefore, people who have not taken accounting degrees sometimes enroll in college courses during which they are taught about accounting techniques and shown how to efficiently use calculators and other equipment.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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