What’s it all about then?
You’ll be playing a key role in the finance department of your company and you’ll assist with the compiling and maintenance of financial records, processing of invoices, tax returns, and the preparation of company accounts.
You may also be involved with the handling of cash and the administration of the office that you work in.
In a larger food company, your role may be more specialised and, for example, you might deal with the company payroll or credit control.
What might I be doing?
Your exact duties will vary from business to business but your responsibilities will typically include the following kind of tasks:
- Maintaining financial records and spreadsheets and preparing reports
- Raising and sending out invoices
- Processing receipts, payments and company expenses
- Monitoring budgets
- Credit control
- Assisting with preparation of statuary accounts
What will be expected of me?
Working with figures, you’ll have to have an analytical mind and the ability to work logically and carefully with numbers.
You’ll obviously be interested in a career in the world of finance and accountancy and you’ll be very computer-literate in order to be able to work with spreadsheets.
You’ll need to be well-organised and focused so that you can concentrate for a long period of time.
You’ll need to be able to work both independently and as part of a team and be able to balance occasional conflicting demands on your time.
What can I expect?
Typically you’ll work office hours and be based in one location as part of your company’s administration team.
You may have to work outside of normal hours from time-to-time depending on your workload.
You’ll spend a lot of time in front of a computer so expertise here will be very useful.
You will be dealing with a lot of confidential information so you’ll need to be seen as someone who is trustworthy and discrete.
What about the pay?
Depending on experience and level of education, Accounts Assistants can typically start on £15,000 – £16,000 a year though this can rise to £20,000 with further training, qualifications and experience.
These figures will of course vary from employer to employer.
What qualifications do I need to get in?
Like many specialist and professional roles within food manufacturing, the job of accounts assistant has some industry-standard qualifications which will help you getting the job you want.
Competence in maths and a qualification in book-keeping or accounts preparation will act as a good grounding for the job and will usually enable accounts assistants to progress quickly in their career.
Basic specialist qualifications include:
- Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) Level 2 Certificate in Book Keeping
- International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB) Levels 2 and 3 Certificates in Bookkeeping
- OCR Levels 2 and 3 Certificates in Accounting
- City & Guilds Levels 1 and 2 Certificates in Bookkeeping and Accounts
What about further training?
You will very likely be offered the opportunity to take further qualifications and this could be as part of your job or at night classes at college.
This could lead to promotion to accounting technician in the first instance and, as you become better qualified, the ability to work as a fully-qualified Chartered Accountant.
Anything else I might need to know?
Yes, if you have a good head for numbers and enjoy working with spreadsheets then the job of accounting assistant could be for you!
Remember there is a very well-defined career track for accountancy staff and the better you’re qualified, the better the salary level you’re likely to achieve!