Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
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Overview
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks produce financial records for organizations. They record financial transactions, update statements, and check financial records for accuracy.
Predicted employment growth
Over the next decade, jobs for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are expected to shrink by 2%, and should have about 188,400 job openings a year.
Safety from automation
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are more likely to be automated than 95% of other careers.
Workforce size
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, with 1,730,500 workers, form a larger workforce than 98% of careers.
Education
Only 18% of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks have a bachelor's degree or higher.
Education attained by bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Context: workers with bachelor's degrees
This is near the middle of all careeers' percentages of bachelor's holders.
Salaries
The median (middle) salary for 63% of all other jobs is higher than the middle salary for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks. The graph shows inflation-adjusted salaries for most bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks.
This job's median $40KAll jobs' median $39K$39K$38K20142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Context: Median Salary
Gender
Women account for 86% of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks -- that's a larger percentage than 95% of other jobs.
Gender of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
Men
Women
Context: Salary inequity
For each career, we compared the median (middle) men's salary to the median women's salary. For bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, the median men's salary was 10% more the median woman's salary.
Race/Origin
About 18% of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are minority, and 12% are foreign-born.
Race/origin of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
White
Black
Pacific Islander
Hispanic
Asian
American Indian
Multiracial
Other
Context: Foreign-born workers (12%)
Where are the most jobs?
We ranked the number of jobs in Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks per thousand workers in each state, DC, and Puerto Rico. The darker the blue, the higher the job density.
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
Job benefits
Employer or union-sponsored pension plans are offered to 46% of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, and 58% have company-sponsored health insurance (20% have dependents enrolled in their employer's health plan).
Employer-provided health coverage for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
100% premiums covered
Partial premiums covered
Plan with no cost sharing
No health insurance
The downside
Some jobs are more stressful than others, and some are just plain dangerous. The following list gives the percentages of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks who report hazardous or difficult situations typically occurring at least once a week.
  • Time Pressure (74%)
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations (34%)
SOURCES:24.0 O*NET
Salary and diversity
Salary overview
What do bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks earn?

In this section, we want to give you a clear idea of what you can expect to earn in this career. We use two sources of data here: the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which asks employers to classify their workforce and to report salaries using the SOC-specialty level of reporting, and the American Community Survey (ACS), which asks people to classify their jobs using the broad classifications that ididio uses for career profiles, and to self-report their salaries. For some jobs, the differences in survey approaches between BLS and ACS can paint a very different end-picture. Whenever possible, we provide data from both sources.

The BLS-compiled salary data is reported by companies for their employees. This data excludes self-employed workers. We first show the distribution of salaries for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, and then we show how the middle (median) salary for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks compares to the BLS-computed median salaries of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks (BLS Salary Data)
$40K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (BLS Salary Data)
$40K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
We compiled household data from the ACS to determine the salaries that people working at least 35 hours a week report themselves to earn. Unlike the BLS estimates, this data includes self-employed wages. We first show the full salary distribution for all bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, and then we show how the median (middle) salary for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks compares to the median ACS-reported salary of other careers.
Distribution: Salaries for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks (ACS Salary Data)
$38K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Context: Median salaries across careers (ACS Salary Data)
$38K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120K
Employers and salary
A look at employers and corresponding salaries
The donut shares the break-down of workers by employer type, and following we show the salary distributions for these workers based on those employer types. For some careers, the salaries can be vastly different between private, government, and self-employment. As with our salary overview, we view the both the BLS economists' salary profiles and the household-reported salaries from ACS to get a thorough understanding of where bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work and for what salary. We have the great faith in the accuracy of economist-vetted BLS data; however, the BLS restrictions on which employers are surveyed skews the data a bit (read more in the sources), and the ACS responses provide different and useful categorizations of employers and salaries.
Employers of Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks (ACS)
Private for-profit (74.9%)
Private not-for-profit (7.8%)
Local government (5.8%)
State government (4.1%)
Federal government (2.0%)
Self-employed incorporated (3.0%)
Self-employed not incorporated (2.1%)
Working without pay (0.3%)
Distribution: Salaries of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks by type of employer (ACS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type calculated by aggregating individual household survey responses.
$38K$38K$38K$40K$39K$32K$50K$39K$20K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000$100,000Working without paySelf-employed not incorporatedSelf-employed incorporatedFederal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivate not-for-profitPrivate for-profitAll
Distribution: Salaries of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks by type of employer (BLS data)
Following are the salary distributions by employer type as reported by BLS based on large employer-focused surveys. We note that smaller employer categories are not included by BLS.
$40K$47K$41K$40K$40K$0$20,000$40,000$60,000$80,000Federal governmentState governmentLocal governmentPrivateAll
Age and career advancement
Salary growth for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

The biggest take-away from the following two charts is the relationship between salary and experience that we can infer from age. Does this job seem to attract especially younger or older workers? Does it reward experience?

Take a minute a look at how much you might expect your salary to increase with each five years' experience, as well as how the numbers working in this career changes. We only provide this data when there are enough consistent ACS survey responses to allow a reasonable margin of error, so for some careers you will see gaps in our reporting of salary by age.

$41K$35K$41K$37K$39K$41K$40K$33K$25K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KSalary distribution20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64
050K100K150KNumber employed20-2425-2930-3435-3940-4445-4950-5455-5960-64

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Gender and Equity
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks and gender

With 86% women, this occupation has a higher percentage of women than 95% of careers.

Context: Women in the workforce
86%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Gender of Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
Men (14%)
Women (86%)
Distribution: Salaries by gender

As we'll illustrate at the bottom of this section, the median salary for all full-time male workers in the US exceeds the full-time median salary for women by 20%. The situation is a little better for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, with the median salary for men 10% higher than the median salary for women. This chart shows you the salary range for most workers by gender.

$38K$41K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100KWomenMen
Context: Salary Inequity

Nationwide there are twenty careers for which men do not have a higher median (middle) salary than women. The chart below shows the salary inequity, the percentage by which the median men's salary is higher than the median women's salary, for most jobs. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks have one of the smaller percentage increases for men's salary, with the increase the men's median salary over the women's median salary in this job lower than that for 72% of other jobs.

10%0%20%40%60%80%100%

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Race/Origin
Race and origin of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

The representation of minority and foreign-born workers is quite different between careers, and the relative pay of those workers also varies significantly between careers. The percentage of minority bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks falls in about the middle of all careers' percentages. There is a smaller percentage of foreign-born workers in this career than in most other careers.

Race/origin of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
White (79% )
Black (9% )
Asian (5% )
Other (3% )
Multiracial (2% )
Hispanic (1% )
American Indian (1% )
Pacific Islander (0% )
Context: Representation of minorities in the workforce
18%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Context: Representation of foreign-born workers
12%0%20%40%60%80%100%
Distribution: Salaries for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks by race/origin

For some careers, there is a pay disparity depending on race or origin, though this is not prevalent. We calculate standard errors for all of our calculations, and when the error is high we do not show results. Therefore, for some jobs will have omitted race/origin categories.

$33K$34K$36K$36K$38K$38K$38K$41K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KAmerican IndianHispanicPacific IslanderOtherMultiracialBlackWhiteAsian
Distribution: Salaries for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks by nativity
$38K$39K$0$20K$40K$60K$80KAll native citizensAll foreign-born

Our only sources for career data containing age, gender, or origin/race come from the Census Bureau. To provide these breakdowns, we have aggregated ACS person-level career survey responses by career, gender, race, and age. These graphics reflect the results of our aggregations, and are useful for identifying trends. A careful statistical study of the impact of age, gender, and race on salaries would correct for other factors that could be contributing to salary differences.

Pathways to this career
Education requirements and salary
Education attained by bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks typically hold a some college, no degree.

Sometimes the typical education identified by the BLS differs a bit from the reality of the how much education current workers actually have. The donut shows the education level held by people currently working as bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks as reported in responses to the American Community Survey. Following, we investigate whether education level influences salary for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks.

Education attained by bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
None
High School
Some College
Associate's Degree
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Professional Deg/Doct
Doctorate
Details: Education and training recommended for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

Employers generally require bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks to have some postsecondary education, particularly coursework in accounting. However, some candidates can be hired with just a high school diploma.

Details: Licensing and certification recommended for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

Some bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks become certified. For those who do not have postsecondary education, certification is a particularly useful way to gain expertise in the field. The Certified Bookkeeper (CB) designation, awarded by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, shows that those who have earned it have the skills and knowledge needed to carry out all bookkeeping tasks, including overseeing payroll and balancing accounts, according to accepted accounting procedures.

For certification, candidates must have at least 2 years of full-time bookkeeping experience or equivalent part-time work, pass a four-part exam, and adhere to a code of ethics.

The National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers offers the Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB) certification. To obtain the certification, candidates must pass the four-part Uniform Bookkeeper Certification Examination.

Distribution: Salary by education level

What level of education is truly needed for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks? Below we see the distribution of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks salaries based on the education attained. These comparisons are based on all survey responses by those who identified themselves as bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks, and are not intended as a statistical analysis of salary differences that would correct for non-educational factors that could contribute to high or low earnings.

$33K$37K$39K$37K$41K$47K$39K$0$20K$40K$60K$80K$100K$120KNone (3%)High School (28%)Some College (39%)Associate's Degree (11%)Bachelor's Degree (16%)Master's Degree (3%)Professional Deg/Doct (0%)
Certificate/degree pathways

The Department of Education recommends the following college degree programs as preparation for this career. You can click the program row to learn more about the program and explore a list of schools that offer the program.

Program
Education
Education level of awarded degrees
Less than bachelor's
bachelor's degree
Higher than bachelor's
Gender
Gender of graduates
Men
Women
Race/Origin
Race/origin of graduates
White
Minority
International
Number of degrees awarded in 2017
Accounting Technology/Technician and Bookkeeping
20,884
Switching Careers
Most common new jobs
The most common next careers for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

What jobs will most bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks hold next year?

The data in this chart comes from person interviews for the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. The survey interviews households eight times over a two-year period, allowing us a glimpse into how people move from job to job. You can see more details from the results of the survey in our last tab in this section, and you can read about our methodology in our source descriptions.

Here we see all of the jobs that at least 1% of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks reported holding in their second year's survey. Is your future job on this list?

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerksAccountants and auditorsSecretaries and administrative assistantsGeneral office clerksBilling and posting clerksFinancial managersManagers (specialized areas)First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workersCustomer service representatives
Lateral career moves
Lateral job transitions for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks

A lateral career transition is a move to a job with similar pay and responsibilities. A move to such a job can offer a change of pace without an increase in stress or a decrease in pay. The following table simply identifies all 8 jobs which were held by at least 1% of survey respondents before working as bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks as well as 1% of respondents after working as bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks. Select a row to investigate the job's full description and determine if it truly offers an opportunity for a lateral transition.

Full prior and next career listings
Prior and next careers for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks: full listings

What do people typically do before and after they work as bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks? Here are the full lists of all jobs that at least 1% of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks surveyed reported as holding a year earlier or later.

Choose which type of transition to view
Prior jobs
Next jobs
Prior careers for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
Annual openings
How many openings are expected each year?
Salary
Salary distribution for people in this occupation. Range is 0-$200,000.
Median
Middle 50%
Middle 80%
Education
High School
Some College
Bachelor's Degree
Master's Degree
Doctorate
Gender
Men
Women
Percentage Transitioning
What percentage worked in this job the previous year?
Secretaries and administrative assistants
395,200
$0$200K$36K
6.0%
Customer service representatives
373,800
$0$200K$32K
1.3%
General office clerks
356,600
$0$200K$33K
2.1%
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
188,400
$0$200K$38K
41.6%
First-line supervisors of office and administrative support workers
153,100
$0$200K$48K
1.6%
Accountants and auditors
143,000
$0$200K$60K
8.5%
Managers (specialized areas)
84,000
$0$200K$72K
1.9%
Billing and posting clerks
59,700
$0$200K$34K
2.2%
Financial managers
56,900
$0$200K$68K
1.3%
Payroll and timekeeping clerks
16,100
$0$200K$41K
1.0%
No occupation
9.4%
Read about bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
Responsibilities and activities
Responsibilities and activities

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks typically do the following:

  • Use bookkeeping software, spreadsheets, and databases
  • Enter (post) financial transactions into the appropriate computer software
  • Receive and record cash, checks, and vouchers
  • Put costs (debits) and income (credits) into the software, assigning each to an appropriate account
  • Produce reports, such as balance sheets (costs compared with income), income statements, and totals by account
  • Check for accuracy in figures, postings, and reports
  • Reconcile or note and report any differences they find in the records

The records that bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work with include expenditures (money spent), receipts (money that comes in), accounts payable (bills to be paid), accounts receivable (invoices, or what other people owe the organization), and profit and loss (a report that shows the organization’s financial health).

Workers in this occupation engage in a wide range of tasks. Some are full-charge bookkeeping clerks who maintain an entire organization’s books. Others are accounting clerks who handle specific tasks.

These clerks use basic mathematics (adding, subtracting) throughout the day.

Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks use specialized computer accounting software, spreadsheets, and databases to enter information from receipts or bills. They must be comfortable using computers to record and calculate data.

The widespread use of computers also has enabled bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks to take on additional responsibilities, such as payroll, billing, purchasing (buying), and keeping track of overdue bills. Many of these functions require clerks to communicate with clients.

Bookkeeping clerks, also known as bookkeepers, often are responsible for some or all of an organization’s accounts, known as the general ledger. They record all transactions and post debits (costs) and credits (income).

They also produce financial statements and other reports for supervisors and managers. Bookkeepers prepare bank deposits by compiling data from cashiers, verifying receipts, and sending cash, checks, or other forms of payment to the bank.

In addition, they may handle payroll, make purchases, prepare invoices, and keep track of overdue accounts.

Accounting clerks typically work for larger companies and have more specialized tasks. Their titles, such as accounts payable clerk or accounts receivable clerk, often reflect the type of accounting they do.

The responsibilities of accounting clerks frequently vary by level of experience. Entry-level accounting clerks may post details of transactions (including date, type, and amount), add up accounts, and determine interest charges. They may also monitor loans and accounts to ensure that payments are up to date.

More advanced accounting clerks may add and balance billing vouchers, ensure that account data are complete and accurate, and code documents according to an organization’s procedures.

Auditing clerks check figures, postings, and documents to ensure that they are mathematically accurate and properly coded. For smaller errors, such as transcription errors, they may make corrections themselves. In case of major discrepancies, they typically notify senior staff, including accountants and auditors.

Personality and skills
Personality and skills

Can you see yourself in the ranks of bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks? Here are the skills and traits that could lead to success.

Computer skills
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks need to be comfortable using computer spreadsheets and bookkeeping software.
Detail oriented
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are responsible for producing accurate financial records. They must pay attention to detail in order to avoid making errors and recognize errors that others have made.
Integrity
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks have control of an organization’s financial documentation, which they must use properly and keep confidential. It is vital that they keep records transparent and guard against misusing an organization’s funds.
Math skills
Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks deal with numbers daily and should be comfortable with basic arithmetic.
Trends in employment
Salary trends
Distribution and trends: Salaries for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks
Choose actual dollars or inflation-adjusted dollars to view
Adjusted for inflation
Historic dollars

In 2018, the median (middle) for 63% of all other jobs were higher than the median (middle) salary for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks. This graphic shows how the salary distribution (adjusted for inflation) has changed for this job over recent years. The gray line, as a comparison, shows the median salary of all US workers.

This job's median $40KAll jobs' median $39K$38K$38K200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018$0$20K$40K$60K$80K
Projected versus actual employment
Exploring actual employment trends versus projected trends

Currently, jobs for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks are anticipated to shrink by 2%. over the next decade; 80% of jobs are projected to grow more.

The projected employment for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks is the best guess created by talented economists and statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, as you look through several careers you'll notice that the projections are heavily influenced by past performance and may miss current trends. No one can tell the future, and as new information and better techniques are developed, actual counts and future projections may change. Here's a glimpse at the actual counts versus the projections over time.

20002010202020300500,0001,000,0001,500,0002,000,0002,500,000
Employment counts
Actual measured employment
BLS 10-year predictions
Variation by state
Employment
State-by-state employment numbers

Some careers tend to be centered in specific parts of the country. For example, most jobs in fashion are in New York or California. Let's see if your dream job is easy to find in your dream location! We have a few choices for viewing the data that can help you get a full employment picture.

Job density versus job count

Which states hire the most bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks? We wonder if that's a fair question since states come in all sizes, so instead let's start with the question of which states have the highest density of people working as bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks. You can choose to view the number of jobs per state if you prefer.

BLS vs ACS data

This map defaults to employment information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which provides job totals carefully compiled for accuracy and with a primary focus on how employers describe their workers. The BLS job totals do not count self-employed workers. We've also compiled totals using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) which are based on how workers describe themselves. Sometimes ACS results are quite a bit different from the employer-based BLS data.

Choose the metric to review
Jobs per 1000 working
Number of jobs
Use this data source
BLS
Number of Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks per 1,000 workers (BLS)
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.05.010.015.020.025.0
Salary
Salaries by state
Let's get a feel for where bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks earn the highest salaries. There are several choices for which data we consider and how we view that data, and each can lead to different conclusions, so please read on...
Median salary versus state ratio

We use two methods to compare salaries across states:

  • In-state comparisons: the ratio of median (middle) salaries for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks compared to the median salary for all people working in each state, or
  • Median salary: the unaltered median salaries for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks.

We hope the ratio allows perspective about how salaries may compare to the regional cost-of-living.

BLS vs ACS data

We have two sources for statewide salary information with important distinctions. The BLS data is created by surveying companies, missing individuals who are self-employed or work for smaller companies. The ACS data is compiled from multi-faceted household surveys and may reflect the inconsistencies that people may have in reporting information.

Choose the metric to review
In-state comparisions
Median salary
Use this data source
BLS
Median salary ratio: Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks to all workers (BLS)
The darkest shading corresponds to states in which bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks earn the highest salary when compared to other jobs in the state. We think this ratio might be a better indicator than the actual salary for your buying power as a state resident.
Select a state to see local area details
AKMEVTNHWAIDMTNDMNMINYMARIORUTWYSDIAWIINOHPANJCTCANVCONEMOILKYWVVAMDDEAZNMKSARTNNCSCDCOKLAMSALGAHITXFLPR
0.00.20.40.60.81.01.2
Compare to similar jobs

If this job interests you, then use the dots below to find other jobs you might like. The dots closer to the top represent jobs that are like Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks (shown with a blue star). Look for the dots to the right to find the best salaries! (We pulled salary data from BLS, and they give a top salary value of just over $200K to protect privacy, so our graph would go much higher if the salaries were not top coded.)

How should the career similarity be computed

There are a number of ways to measure the similarity of jobs, here are a few we provide:

  • Interests: Also known as a Holland Code - Are you a thinker? A helper? What fits your personality?
  • Environment: Are there hazards? Will you be comfortable? Will it be stressful?
  • Knowledge: What do you need to know the most about?
  • Physical Abilities: Do you need to especially strong or coordinated?
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