What is an assistant accountant and what do they do?

An assistant accountant is a junior member of the finance team, usually reporting to the financial accountant, management accountant or finance manager.

They provide essential day-to-day accounting support to more senior team members, such as preparing financial statements and accounts, budgeting, managing ledgers, processing invoices and VAT returns.

Key responsibilities

  • Maintaining financial records by analysing balance sheets and general ledger accounts
  • Processing weekly payroll accurately and timely
  • Preparing and verifying bank deposits and carrying out bank reconciliations
  • Preparing financial documents such as invoices, bills, and accounts payable and receivable
  • Completing purchase orders
  • Completing financial reports on a regular basis and providing information to the finance team
  • Entering financial information into appropriate software programmes
  • Coordinating internal and external audits
  • Recording office expenditures and ensuring these expenses are within the set budget
  • Preparing annual budgets and completing the year-end analysis
  • Reporting on debtors and creditors
  • Handling accruals and prepayments
  • Managing monthly budgeting tasks
  • Resolving errors in financial reports and correcting faulty reporting methods

Why are they important?

An assistant accountant plays an important role in a finance team. By accurately performing their duties and constantly looking to expand their skills, they free up the time of senior finance staff to focus on dealing with more complex issues and better support other areas of business.

Skills needed for this role

An assistant accountant must have strong numeracy, with a high level of accuracy and excellent attention to detail. They must be organised with the ability to prioritise and complete tasks to meet tight deadlines. Good interpersonal and communication skills are also beneficial and they must be capable of maintaining confidentiality.

Strategic Professional Options examinations linked to this role

Advanced Performance Management

Advanced Audit and Assurance

Career opportunities presented by this role

The assistant accountant role is often perceived as a first step on an accountancy career. It is an entry level role that can be popular with students working towards their professional exams. With time and experience an assistant accountants progress to more senior accunting roles and ultimately to financial controller and finance director level.

Competencies

High level competencies required include:

  • Audit and assurance

    A. Advises on and communicates effectively the role and scope of audit and assurance engagements to relevant stakeholders.

    B. Applies regulatory, legal, professional and ethical standards relating to audit and assurance engagements.

    C. Plans and prepares for audit and assurance engagements.

    D. Performs effective audit, and assurance engagements.

    E. Reviews and reports on the findings of audit and assurance engagements.

    F. Guiding efficient and effective operations.

     

  • Corporate and business reporting

    A. Prepares financial statements, corporate financial and integrated reports for external stakeholders using appropriate technology.

    B. Leads effective decision making through analysing, evaluating and communicating performance and position of entities.

    C. Prepares financial statements for groups of entities using appropriate technologies.

    D. Monitors, critically evaluates, and advises on the relevant accounting standards, regulations, conceptual and financial reporting frameworks.