A finance assistant performs clerical duties for members of the accounting department. Finance assistants work in many industries, from hotels to hospitals to banks to government agencies. They answer phones, respond to e-mails, greet clients and, in some cases, perform light bookkeeping. Finance assistants might also check over an accountant’s work, making sure all the numbers add up.
Finance assistants provide vital links between accounting departments and the clients they serve. They schedule appointments and take messages, and if qualified, answer a client’s questions regarding things such as taxes, bankruptcies, loans or even fraud. Also, they assist accountants with everyday tasks such as billing, forwarding mail or filing invoices and other important documents. Along with those duties, finance assistants might enter financial data into computers.
Finance assistants must be able to perform many office-related tasks at the same time and possess keen communication skills. Most need to have at least a basic understanding of math, as well as be proficient typists. Finance assistants need to be highly organised with a knowledge of filing. They should also be professional, analytical, capable problem-solvers and able to follow the instructions of a supervisor.
Since finance assistants work in such a wide variety of fields, there are no set requirements to land a job. Many need no more than a high school diploma, provided they possess a strong work ethic and a willingness to learn, along with an ability to work well alone or in a team environment. In some cases, finance assistants might need to possess an associate degree, with an emphasis on courses in business, math, keyboarding and perhaps even accounting. Some have worked as administrative assistants, receptionists or secretaries in another field.
Finance assistants typically are considered general office clerks who work for the accounting department, and their opportunities should be steady for at least the next decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), office clerks are expected to see their jobs grow by 12 per cent from 2008-18, or about as fast as average for all occupations.
Wages for finance assistants vary considerably by their years on the job, overall duties and field. Some can make a decent living with the right amount of experience. According to PayScale.com, finance assistants earned anywhere from just less than £18,850 to nearly £27,950 per year in April 2010. The highest-paid finance assistants, according to PayScale, worked in the investment banking and brokerage industry.