"With the ongoing shortage of accounting professionals, attractive opportunities are opening up for General Ledger Accountants in almost every sector," says Maïté Bertels, senior recruitment consultant at staffing specialist Walters People. Maïté reveals the core responsibilities of this position, the skills required and how demand for this particular talent is evolving in today's job market.
What are the responsibilities of a General Ledger Accountant?
Maïté: "As a General Ledger Accountant, you will assist junior accountants with operational accounting tasks, such as coding customer and supplier invoices and managing payments. You will also be involved in more complex tasks. For example, you will be in charge of monthly returns such as commissions and corrections at the end of the month, and you will be responsible for the annual tax return. At larger companies, this range of duties may extend over several entities and you will usually report to the senior accountant. In smaller organisations, it is not uncommon for you to work directly with the business manager or finance manager."
What do you need to become a successful General Ledger Accountant?
"Regarding education, a bachelor's degree in Accountancy & Taxation or a master's degree in an economic field is ideal," explains Maïté. "If you don't have the right degree, you can also compensate with relevant work experience in the financial sector. For example, Accounts Receivable Accountants or Accounts Payable Accountants can advance to the role of General Ledger Accountant after about three years."
As a General Ledger Accountant, you deal with complex matters, so you need to be able to keep an overview, make connections and provide structure. Regulations change regularly, so it is important to constantly want to keep learning about novelties and keep your knowledge regarding taxation up to date. "It is also necessary to be able to handle confidential information in a discreet manner," Maïté adds. "After all, a General Ledger Accountant has access to a lot of confidential data, such as the salaries of all employees within the organisation. Finally, good language skills are a huge advantage, since you are in regular contact with customers and suppliers."
Is General Ledger Accountants currently in high demand?
Maïté: "We have felt a clear scarcity in the labour market since the end of last year. General Ledger Accountant vacancies tend to remain open for a long time. This is mainly because organisations struggle to find the right talent due to the complexity of the role."
Indeed, according to Jobfeed data, we see a steady demand for General Ledger Accountants in the second half of 2022 and the first half of 2023, with peaks in December and March. What is striking is the growing demand in the province of Antwerp: in the second quarter of this year, as many as 34% of vacancies for general ledger accountant were in the province of Antwerp, compared to only 28% at the end of last year. Brussels comes second with 15% of vacancies. East Flanders closes the top three with 12% of vacancies.
What career opportunities does a role as a General Ledger Accountant entail?
"There are two main directions you can take from this position," Maïté knows. "On the one hand, you can delve further into the analytical part of your duties and evolve into a position as business controller or financial controller. On the other hand, you can choose to take on more responsibilities within operational accounting and grow into the role of senior accountant. As a senior accountant, you will, for example, execute financial statements and financial statements. Eventually, the role of CFO or finance manager is certainly among the later career possibilities, if this is in line with your ambitions, of course."
How much does a General Ledger Accountant earn?
If you are new to your role as a General Ledger Accountant, you can expect a gross monthly salary of around 2,700 euros. As a General Ledger Accountant with 3 to 6 years of experience, you could see your salary rise to 3600 euros gross per month. With 6 years of experience or more, your gross monthly salary rises to around 4500 euros.
"A company car is not a standard part of the pay package of a General Ledger Accountant, but we find that organisations are using this more often as an asset when attracting talent these days. Furthermore, the gross monthly salary is always supplemented by an attractive package of fringe benefits, including meal vouchers, group and hospitalisation insurance, eco vouchers, and so on. Organisations also often offer flexible working hours and regular work from home," Maïté concludes.