The role of assistant accountant is an essential part of the accounting department within an organisation. Jef Timmerman, senior consultant at staffing specialist Walters People, discusses the responsibilities, skills required and average salary in this role as well as revealing what makes this role attractive.
What exactly does an assistant accountant do?
"The assistant bookkeeper, or assistant accountant, has a supporting role in the organisation's finance department and deals with the operational part of bookkeeping. Entering customer and supplier invoices, preparing VAT returns and general financial administration tasks are among the core responsibilities. Each accounting team has at least one auxiliary accountant who assists the accountants in this way," Jef explains.
What training and skills does the ideal assistant accountant have?
"In this role, accuracy comes first," stresses Jef. "You need to be able to process large amounts of documents and figures in an extremely careful manner."
The ability to function well in a team is also a plus, since as an assistant accountant you will work closely with your colleagues from the finance team and other departments within the organisation.
An education in accounting is a big advantage, although not a must. "We mainly see assistant accountants with a graduate degree in accounting & administration, but this job is equally accessible to professionals with a secondary school diploma or CVO training in accounting assistant." Most assistant accountants have years of experience in the profession and mainly draw their professional skills from here.
What is the current demand for auxiliary accountants?
"Because every type of organisation, ranging from SMEs to multinationals, needs assistant accountants for the finance department, there are generally plenty of job opportunities for these professionals," Jef says.
In fact, demand is currently on the rise: figures from Jobfeed reveal that the number of vacancies for assistant accountant in the third quarter of this year increased by 10% compared to the second quarter. Antwerp province is the region with the highest number of job ads for assistant bookkeeper, accounting for 23% of published vacancies. In second place is West Flanders with 22% of vacancies, followed by East Flanders with 17%.
About a quarter of all assistant accountant vacancies are temporary positions, and in three quarters of the cases they are permanent jobs or interim jobs with the option of permanent. "This option is an excellent way for the candidate to get to know the employer and vice versa. This way, when you get permanent employment, you are 100% sure that there is a right match," Jef notes.
What makes the job of assistant accountant attractive?
The big advantage to the job of assistant accountant is the good work-life balance.
In most cases, you have a flexible schedule and can work from home 1-2 days a week. For many employers, part-time employment is negotiable for this position. This gives you the opportunity to perfectly align your work with your personal life.
"The role of assistant accountant also offers the chance to carry out a substantively interesting job within the finance team, without being burdened with heavy deadlines or managerial responsibilities," adds Jef.
"This job also creates great opportunities for candidates with a less obvious or atypical CV. Given that experience is an important asset, it is not unusual, for example, for employers to hire over-55s for this. Also, for professionals who, for one reason or another, have been out for a while, this is the ideal position to re-enter the job market."
What salary can you expect in the role of assistant bookkeeper?
Jef: "A starting assistant accountant has a gross monthly salary of EUR 2,100 to 2,800. Depending on your number of years of experience, the size of the organisation and the region in which you start work, this gross monthly salary can even reach EUR 3900. In the majority of organisations, the gross salary is supplemented by numerous fringe benefits such as meal vouchers, mobile phone and laptop, group and hospitalisation insurance, and so on."
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