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Skills You’ll Need

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, automated timekeeping systems "have elevated the job of payroll clerk." No longer are these positions based solely on paper and pencil time sheets, now payroll clerks have to be efficient in using computer software.

Automated timekeeping systems allow payroll clerks to perform more data analysis, examine company trends, and work with computer systems. Due to this technology, you'll spend more time answering employees' questions and processing data.

Technology also affects bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks. You must be able to make numerous calculations every day using multiple computer programs. Whether you track client's credit information, or balance receipts, computer skills are a must.

As a successful accounting clerk, you must have the following skills:

  • Strong mathematical background
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Good written and verbal communication skills
  • Extensive knowledge of computer hardware and software
  • An understanding of economic and accounting principles

According to Lake Michigan College program coordinator Erick Pifer, most of his students will start off in an entry-level position such as accounts receivable/payable. Many students "move up through the company by combining the knowledge they gained through the accounting program with on-the-job training."

Other skills that you'll need include:

  • Critical thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify payroll errors, and efficiently solve the problem.
  • Information ordering - The ability to arrange actions in a certain order according to specific tax rule sets.
  • Customer service - The ability to actively listen and work with customers.
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