An accounting technician is responsible for carrying out transactional activities across all kinds of commercial and public sector enterprises. There are two main categories of technicians:
– Accounting technicians, governed by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT)
– Tax technicians, governed by the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT).
Day-to-day responsibilities depend upon the commercial or public sector enterprise where the technician is employed.
In the case of small businesses and companies, the accounting technician may be fully responsible for all accounting and finance activities, including payroll administration, preparation of accounts, balance sheets and tax returns, and invoice management.
In medium or large enterprises, the accounting technician may be part of a team, reporting to an experienced accounts managers.
Accounting technicians are also employed by professional consultancy firms. They are therefore responsible for the preparation and checking of clients’ business accounts, bookkeeping, tax returns and other financial documentation, which are then certified by supervising accountants.
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Salary & benefits
Prior to completing AAT qualifications, salaries are in the range of £15,000 to £23,000. Post-qualification salaries are between £18,000 and £35,000, while higher-end salaries are offered to those based in the metropolitan areas of south England and London. Salaries also depend on the type and size of employer and industry sector.
Accounting technicians usually work around 35-40 hours in a five day week, with extra hours during peak times such as at either end of the financial year or quarterly closings when statutory reports are due.
Technicians employed in large transaction processing companies may be required to work in shifts, as these organisations operate around the clock.
A graduate degree is not an essential requirement to become an accounting technician. Entry-level positions can be obtained through schemes run by the AAT or the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
The AAT provides two entry routes: an NVQ or SVQ for candidates with prior work experience or with A-levels, HNC or undergraduate degrees; and a diploma for candidates with no relevant academic or professional experience.
The ACCA offers the Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) qualification: a combination of formal study and on-the-job training.
Above all, candidates interested in an accounting technician’s career should have a head for numbers and quantitative reasoning.
Training & progression
Accounting technicians usually complete an initial period of training over the first couple of years of employment.
Upon completion of this programme, technicians can choose to embark upon a full-time career or pursue advanced accounting qualifications offered by the ACCA, ICAEW, ICAS, CIMA or CIPFA.
These accredited accountancy qualifications, can boost their chances of moving up within the organisation or setting up their own business after gaining sufficient experience and expertise.
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