The nitty-gritty: You're signing on for a panoply of roles: part accountant, part tax expert, part cashier. Duties can run the gamut from processing payroll checks, to handling invoicing, accounts receivable, accounts paid and other financial reporting. Buying office supplies may even be your bailiwick. Some firms may ask you to monitor checking and savings accounts and track credit card bills. This is detail-oriented record-keeping work and requires a focused, organized approach. Tracking down delinquent accounts can be trying on the nerves. Delivering bad financial news to a client requires a matter-of-fact, business approach.
The hours: Vary by business; frequently limited to one week mid-month and one week at the end of the month for invoicing or bill-paying functions. Some firms will want you on call at least once a week.
Median pay range: $10.23 per hour to $24.25; $50 or more is possible depending on advanced training, degrees and location.
Qualifications: A degree in accounting or business is generally required. A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification is best. Relevant experience or formal training in accounting-auditing services is a plus. Other key skills to have in your kit: data entry and adept with financial and related computer software such as QuickBooks. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers lists jobs and offers a national certification for bookkeepers, which may help you land a job if you don't have prior practical experience. You might consider posting your résumé to eLance.com and surf the big job boards, AARP and Monster. Networking with your local business groups, industry associations or Rotary Club for leads is often your best approach. Bean counters, rev up your calculators.
Kerry Hannon is the author of What's Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job.
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