Accounting technician

Accounting technician

An accounting technician is a professional who keeps financial accounts for all types of business. Most accounting technicians also help qualified accountants by preparing financial information. This designation is employed in many countries and could be used by technicians having a formal level of qualification ranging from secondary education to vocational education to an academic degree in an accountancy-related field.

Usual tasks

As an accounting technician, typical duties would include processing and paying invoices, recording receipts and payments, preparing and checking ledger balances and other monthly and yearly accounts, completing and submitting tax returns, monitoring company expenses, using computerised accounting systems. With experience, an accounting technician would often take on more complex and important tasks and management responsibilities, such as drafting financial reports, planning and budget control, and assisting accountants with audits. In larger companies, an accounting technician would work as part of an accounts team. In a small firm, an accounting technician may be the only person trained to deal with basical finance matters like wages and invoices.

Qualifications and career

The qualifications an accounting technician need can vary between employers and from country to country. Generally, an accounting technician should feel confident with basic numeracy, bookkeeping, and administrative assistance, and employers may prefer a candidate to have the full secondary education including maths, an accounting or bookkeeping vocational/professional certificate, or a similar level of qualification. An accounting technician may be able to miss out some parts of more advanced training if he already have one of the following:

*secondary education with accounting
*previous relevant work experience in accounting
*an entry-level bookkeeping qualification

It is also possible to get into this job through an apprenticeship scheme. The range of apprenticeships available in a country or region will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers.

For the employer, it is helpful to have previous experience of office work. Computer experience is also useful, particularly in using spreadsheet and database packages like Microsoft Excel and Access. Accountancy and taxation legislation are in general very important subjects for any accounting technician. A college course in business and financial fields, like economics, finance, business management, administration or accountancy is preferred, specially in the larger companies.

A candidate could start as an accounts clerk doing basic duties, and take work-based training or a part-time vocational or even college course to qualify as a technician with the association of accounting technicians or the association of chartered certified accountants, certified accounting technician scheme, or similar professional/certification associations which vary from country to country.

To qualify under some schemes, the candidate must pass exams and also keep a training record of at least one year's practical accounting experience. He can has study full- or part-time at colleges or vocational training centres, by distance learning or online.

Once fully qualified, one could continue to study to become an qualified accountant, which in most cases and many countries, would require a degree. The accounting technician qualifications mean that one can usually bypass the first stage of professional exams for qualify as a true accountant. Once qualified as a chartered accountant one will not need to take exams every year but it will be needed to undertake continuing professional education which could take the form of attending courses or reading magazines in order to ensure that the basic technical knowledge is kept up to date. This is because accountancy and taxation legislation changes frequently and it is very important that a professional keep abreast of developments.

By country


In Portugal, every accounting technician should be affiliated with the "Câmara dos Técnicos Oficiais de Contas" (CTOC). Unlike other professional organizations, which can legally stop from practicing a non-affiliated or an affiliated member who has broken the rules, the CTOC do not have such authority. The CTOC is the largest professional organization of mandatory inscription in Portugal, and have over 82,000 affiliated members. It is not needed to have an academic degree to be an affiliated member, however, having courses in three academic disciplines taught at higher education institutions, like "Contabilidade Geral/Financeira", "Contabilidade Analítica" and "Fiscalidade Portuguesa/Direito Fiscal" is required to submit to the CTOC examination and to be a full member. [ [çãoNaCTOC.pdf] ] However, the job titles accountant, accounting technician, and bookkeeper are widely used interchangeably and employed by individuals having any level of formal qualification. Most accounting technicians affiliated with CTOC have no degree, or were awarded a polytechnic degree from a polytechnic school of technology and management or from one of the ISCA ("Instituto Superior de Contabilidade e Administração") accountacy and administration institutes (located in Lisbon, Porto, Coimbra and Aveiro). Any citizen with an university degree in economics or business administration is also entitled to request membership in the CTOC, however, individuals with these qualifications usually try to gain membership at the most demanding and recognized Ordem dos Revisores Oficiais de Contas (OROC), in order to become a ROC ("Revisor Oficial de Contas") and a qualified accountant or auditor. Since the approval rate in the OROC is much lower than in the CTOC, as well as the standards for membership, many professionals embrace a career within the scope of competences premitted by CTOC's membership.

On the other side, to be a qualified accountant or auditor, having an academic degree is obligatory, and the certification is exclusively awarded by the "Ordem dos Revisores Oficiais de Contas", [ [] ] another professional organization which is not related with CTOC. In general, accountants or auditors accredited by the "Ordem dos Revisores Oficiais de Contas" are individuals with university graduation diplomas in business management, economics, mathematics and even law, who after further studies, applied for an exam at the "Ordem dos Revisores Oficiais de Contas" and received the certification to be a ROC ("Revisor Oficial de Contas"), the highest professional qualification in the field of accountancy. Any citizen having a polytechnic degree as accounting technician is also entitled to apply for the exam and certification at the OROC. [ [] ]


ee also


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