Accounting technicians work in accounting and finance departments in support of degreed or chartered accountants. This designation is supported by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). The accounting technician designation is used most often in the United Kingdom (UK), although the accounting technician title is sometimes seen in the U.S. An accounting technician can be compared to a bookkeeper. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB), which awards the certified bookkeeper designation, is much like the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT).
Accounting Technician Duties
Accounting technicians (AT) work in accounting or finance departments performing entry level accounting work. Much like a bookkeeper, they focus on data entry, accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll. Many accounting technicians are assigned office manager duties. ATs make great small company office managers. Many accounting technicians are capable of supervising non-degreed or clerk level accounting staff.
Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable
Accounting technicians work in accounts payable, classifying and recording bills, vendor invoices and preparing check runs to pay the company’s debts. In the accounts receivable department, they record invoices, payments and run aging reports on their receivables. In the payroll department, the AT records payroll figures and liabilities, tax withholdings, runs reports and prepares the payroll check run.
An AT's work focuses heavily on data entry, error checking and account reconciliations. The work is entry level and repetitive. It requires above average attention to detail. Accounting technicians are counted on to find and fix accounting errors usually caused by data entry mistakes. These errors are often buried deep in the accounting data and can be difficult to find. A good accounting technician must have an analytical mind. Small accounting errors can become large problems if left unfixed.
Accounting technicians also perform basic audit functions. They can be responsible for monitoring accounts payable, accounts receivable and bank deposits/balances for irregularities. They are accountable for maintaining proper separation of duties and internal control procedures. When irregularities are discovered, they are usually the ones responsible for initiating an investigation into the irregularity itself.
Accounting technicians rarely engage in financial statement preparation and analysis. Professional or degreed accountants usually are assigned those responsibilities. However, the AT must be familiar with the financial statements, what goes into creating them and from which accounts the data originated. This allows them to better code and enter the transactional data as well as find and fix errors when something does not balance.