The designation of an Accounting Technician is supported by their Association in the United Kingdom (AAT). This designation together with that of Chartered Accountant is used primarily in the United Kingdom, although the title is sometimes seen in the United States. Here, a comparable occupation would be a professionally trained bookkeeper or accounting clerk. A comparable United States certificate to the AAT is awarded by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB).
Accounting technicians are required to produce entry level accounting work in accounting or finance departments. Their focus should be relative to data entry, accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll. In many offices, they act as office managers for generally small companies, as it is considered beneficial to have an office manager with a firm understanding of accounting principals. There are also many accounting technicians who have supervisory positions over personnel without degrees, or clerk-level accounting staff. Similar positions of responsibility to an accounting technician are an accounting clerk or bookkeeper, office manager and accounting analyst.
The functions relating to this position involve aspects of accounts payable, to classify and record bills, vendor invoices and liabilities. With regard to the accounts receivable department, they will record invoices, payments and produce aging reports on receivables. Their roll in the payroll department, will involve payroll figures and liabilities, together with tax with-holdings, reports runs and preparation of the of the payroll cheque runs.
Further focus is needed on data entry, the checking for errors and account reconciliations. As the work is of a repetitive nature, dedicated attention to detail is required! They are relied upon to discover and correct accounting errors, generally caused by mistakes in data entry. This calls for an analytical mind, which is a requirement in a proficient Accounting Technician. It is also required that he or she carries out basic audit functions. They may be responsible for the monitoring of payable and receivable accounts, bank deposits and balances and for the perceiving of any irregularities. In addition, they are accountable for the maintaining of proper separation of duties and the procedures related to internal control. As and when any irregularity is discovered, then it is generally their perogative to initiate an investigation.
Generally, financial statements are prepared by professional or accountants who have degrees, as part of their responsibilities. Although Accounting Technicians are rarely engaged in the preparation and analysis of financial statements, they must be familiar with the process of the creation of them and from which accounts the data originated? This does assist them in the coding and entering of transactional data, as well as the discovery and correction of any errors, in the event of an unbalance.
Account Technicians generally commence working in a support role at a firm of accountants. Alternatively, it may be within the accounts or finance departments or sections, of commercial organisations’, industrial companies or the public sector. Whatever their choice, there is work available for them in all areas of the financial world. There are independent opportunities in the business environment for experienced Account Technicians. It could be as a self employed provider of a variety of accountancy related services, to the many small and medium business owners, who either cannot or do not wish to employ a permanent accountant.
Entry Requirements: What You Need to Start
Although a reasonable level of literacy is needed, there are no minimum entry level requirements specified to begin training as an Accounting Technician.
On the job training is usually involved at entry level, whilst studying with distanced learning or on a part time basis. Qualifications may be obtained through schemes conducted either by their Association (AAT) or the ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants)
Two routs are offered by the AAT to the accountancy qualification; the NVQ/SVQ and diploma. The offered courses are vocational and provide practical knowledge and skills that are required to perform the tasks demanded.
There are three stages in the NVQ/SVQ route, which is based on competence.
• Foundation – NVQ/SVQ in Accounting Level 2
• Intermediate- NVQ/SVQ in Accounting Level 3
• Technician – NVQ?SVQ in accounting Level 4
Those Graduates in possession of a UK degree in accounting need only complete the Technician stage. Should you possess an A-level in accounting, an HNC or recognised work experience, it is possible you could be eligible for exemptions from the Foundation stage. In this connection, the AAT and the other accounting bodies should be contacted for more information regarding the validity of your qualifications.
In order to obtain technician status, it is required that you complete at least one year of work experience. For those who are already working in a finance environment and can easily provide evidence of work experience, this is a preferred route.
As an alternative, the diploma route is available for those not working in finance or who are unable to provide workplace evidence. There are three stages and completion of all three leads to technician status:
– Certificate in Accounting (foundation)
– Advanced Certificate in Accounting (intermediate)
– Diploma in Accounting (technician)
Additional vocational qualifications are offered by the AAT which may be suitable for your preferred career path. For more details, visit their website.
The ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) offers the CAT (Certified Accounting Technician) scheme. This is a route that combines study and practical experience and involves studying for nine papers, split into three levels. These are Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. For further details visit the ACCA website.
Candidates are required to produce evidence of the following:
– Strong written and oral communication with IT skills;
– Ability to work in a team, often alongside accounting professionals;
– Ability to multi-task and time management.
– A High-level of numerical skills;
– Good attention to detail;
– Your ability to work accurately and methodically with numbers
Training as an Accounting Technician and How to Become Qualified
Evidence of practical skills is required by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), towards your becoming certified as an Accounting Technician. In accordance with AAT practice, this procedure is conducted by means of assessments, designed to display theory in practice. Included are practical work base exercises or for those not involved in the accounting sector, testing will be by simulations. Voluntary work or hobbies, such as being treasurer of a local society, may be used as examples of work experience!
ACCA accounting technician trainees must, in order to qualify as an accounting technician, produce evidence that one year of work experience has been gained and that they have demonstrated competence in a technician training record (TTR). This must be verified by a person approved by the ACCA.
On the job training is received by most accounting technicians. Software packages and procedures will vary, according to the respective sectors, company and area in which they are working? It is recognised by employees that there is a need for continuing personal and professional development (CPD) in their career paths. Employers are becoming increasingly aware of this factor and are prepared to offer forms of support, to enable their employees to update and improve upon their skills and knowledge.
Career Development and Progress as an Accounting Technician:
There are opportunities for Accounting Technicians to progress to positions such as finance controller. Alternatively, an Audit senior, tax analyst, internal auditor or payroll manager.
A recognised accounting qualification in its own right is from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). Some accounting technicians are able to attain senior levels with the AAT qualification, whilst many view it as a stepping stone towards further professional qualifications.