Accounting and Related Clerks

Unit Group 1431

Skill Type: Business, Finance and Administration Occupations

Type of work

Accounting and related clerks calculate, prepare and process bills, invoices, accounts payable and receivable, budgets and other financial records according to established procedures.

For the full and official description of this occupation according to the National Occupational Classification, visit the NOC site.

Examples of Occupational Titles

  • accounting clerk
  • accounts payable clerk
  • accounts receivable clerk
  • audit clerk
  • billing clerk
  • budget clerk
  • costing clerk
  • deposit clerk
  • finance clerk
  • freight-rate clerk
  • income tax return preparer
  • invoice clerk
  • ledger clerk
  • tax clerk

Outlook

Job prospects in this occupation are good.

(Update: December 2014)

Over the past few years, the number of accounting and related clerks increased significantly. This increase can be explained by changes in the economic situation, the computerization of accounting activities and diversification in the tasks performed by administrative personnel. This significant upswing in the number of accounting and related clerks should continue over the coming years.

Sources of employment

Opportunities will result largely from employment increase, but primarily from positions that are being vacated by accounting clerks who are retiring or being promoted. Experience in this occupation gives access to administrative positions with a variety of tasks including accounting or financial duties. Furthermore, this experience combined with relevant training makes the candidate eligible for accounting positions (see 1111).

Labour pool

Jobs will be available primarily for graduates with a Vocational Studies Diploma (DEP), Diploma of College Studies (DEC) or an Attestation of College Studies (AEC) in administration (business administration, accounting, secretarial studies, office system technology, etc). Other jobs will be filled by persons with experience in office work, by unemployed accounting clerks with experience and by university graduates from accounting science programs who take jobs in this occupation to acquire experience before applying for accounting positions (see 1111), and, at a lesser degree, by immigrants who satisfy employer requirements. Indeed, although very slightly below average for all occupations (13% compared to 14% in 2011, according to National Household Survey data), the proportion of immigrants in this occupation indicates that it is nonetheless accessible to newcomers.

This occupation and related academic programs attract many candidates. In fact, the two programs most directly related to this occupation, which are the AEC in accounting and management technology, and the DEP in accounting, train about 2,000 graduates every year (more than 2,550 in 2010-2011), according to the provincial government Relance survey data. The other program strongly linked with this occupation, namely the DEC in accounting and management, produced more than 1050 graduates in 2011-2012.

An indication of growing employer expectations is that graduates with a DEC in accounting and management technology fare better than the average of technical training graduates, while graduates with a DEP in accounting do not fare quite as well as the average of occupational training graduates. Finally, a very high percentage of graduates with a DEC in accounting and management technology, more than 50% on average between 2004 and 2013, choose to continue on to a university education, generally in administration or accounting, despite the good performance of graduates who opt for the labour market. The labour market status of accounting and management AEC graduates is usually fairly similar to that of accounting DEP graduates.

Industries

According to National Household Survey data, in 2011 accounting clerks worked in all the industries, with a concentration in trade (24%), professional, scientific and technical services (13%) and manufacturing (12%).

Trends

The evolution of employment in this occupation depends primarily on the demand for accounting services, which varies according to the economic situation, computerization of accounting and organization of the work involved in accounting and administration activities.

Economic situation

Because accounting services are present in all industries, the main factor influencing job growth in this occupation is certainly the economic situation. When economic activities are on the upswing, demand for accounting services grows. Accounting services should benefit somewhat from the modest growth expected over the forecast period (2014-2018).

Computerization of accounting

The computerization of accounting and the availability of constantly improving software programs could have greatly discouraged employment growth in accounting services. The use of these tools makes it possible to perform traditional accounting tasks more rapidly. However, these tools also allow accounting clerks to perform an increasing number of activities that were historically entrusted to accountants (see 1111), and to create many reports that used to be impossible to produce. Since computerization is now well established, employment in this occupation should become less sensitive to this factor over the next few years. Nonetheless, the lack of confidence from investors, consumers and regulatory bodies in the accuracy of corporate financial statements could generate growth in demand for accounting documents, boosting employment in this occupation.

Organization of the work involved in accounting and administration activities

The past few years have also seen extensive diversification in the tasks performed by administrative staff, and as a result, the decompartmentalization of tasks formerly attributed to specific occupations. The trend towards versatility is not uniquely due to office automation. For the sake of efficiency and increasingly flexible work organization, employers in all fields are seeking employees who have the skills required to perform several tasks.

In this context, employment growth for office jobs defined specifically by occupation is becoming increasingly difficult to monitor. For instance, one person can now be called upon to perform the tasks of a receptionist (see 1414), secretary (see 1241), accounting clerk, graphic arts technician (see 5223) and Web page designer (see 5241). If they spend more time on accounting than on the secretarial function, they could be tracked in data as accounting clerks rather than secretaries. In order to properly understand, analyse and evaluate the outlook for these occupations, developments in employment and trends for all the administrative occupations must be taken into consideration. According to the data we have available, it is clear that this occupation has benefited from these changes, to the detriment of the other administrative occupations, such as secretaries.

Even taking into account the uncertainty generated by the diversification in the tasks of administrative personnel, these trends are positive overall for accounting clerks. As a result, the number of accounting clerks is expected to increase significantly over the coming years.

Employment characteristics

According to census and National Household Survey data, women held about 86% of the jobs in this occupation in 2011, a percentage that has been rising slightly since 1991 (81%). An indication of growing employer requirements is that the proportion of young people (15 to 24 years) dropped sharply (from 14% to 5%) between 1991 and 2011. Similarly, the percentage of accounting clerks with a post-secondary degree went from 50% to 69% during the same period. The annual employment income ($38,523) shown in the Statistics applies only to the 63% of people in this occupation who worked full-time and full-year in 2010. The average employment income for those who did not work full-time and full-year was $22,108 in 2010.

Education and Training

Candidates must usually have a Vocational Studies Diploma (DEP) in accounting, or a Diploma of College Studies (DEC) in accounting and management technology to work in this occupation. Other DEP and DEC administration programs (secretarial studies, office system technology, etc) also provide access to this occupation. Graduates who have completed their studies in a related field and who have the required skills can also work in this occupation. Finally, many Attestation of College Studies (AEC) programs also lead to this occupation.

Important Considerations

The number of accounting and related clerks should increase significantly over the coming years.

An indication of growing employer expectations is that graduates with a DEC in accounting and management technology fare better than the average of technical training graduates, while graduates with a DEP in accounting do not fare quite as well as the average of occupational training graduates. The labour market status of accounting and management AEC graduates is usually fairly similar to that of accounting DEP graduates.

Statistics 1431 - Accounting and Related Clerks

Main Labour Market Indicators

In the following table, indicators such as the growth rate, yearly variation in employment, yearly attrition and total annual requirements are forecasts generated by economists from Service Canada, Quebec region. The data source for employment is Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. The volumes of unemployment insurance beneficiaries come from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)’s administrative data. All of the data are rounded.

  Unit Group 1431 All occupations
Employment, average 2011-2013 51,700 3,990,050
Employment Insurance claimants in 2013 850 80,700
Average Annual Growth Rate 2014-2018 1.2% 0.7%
Annual Employment Variation 2014-2018 650 26,500
Annual Attrition 2014-2018 1,200 74,300
Total Annual Needs 2014-2018 1,850 100,800

Employment Distribution

The data from the following employment distribution tables come from Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey (NHS).

  Unit Group 1431 All occupations
Employment by Gender
Males 13.5% 51.9%
Females 86.5% 48.1%
Employment by Age
15 - 24 years 5.3% 13.3%
25 - 44 years 41.9% 42.7%
45 - 64 years 49.8% 41.1%
65 years and over 3.0% 2.8%
Employment by Status
Full-time 84.2% 81.2%
Part-time 15.8% 18.8%
Employment by Annual Income
Full-time, full-year 62.7% 54.8%
Annual Average Income $38,500 $50,300
$0 - $19,999 8.5% 13.3%
$20,000 - $49,999 74.2% 48.0%
$50,000 and over 17.3% 38.8%
Employment by Highest Level of Schooling
Less than high-school 4.7% 12.1%
High-school 26.5% 20.3%
Post-secondary 55.3% 44.2%
Bachelors 13.4% 23.4%
Others Employment Distribution
Self-employment 5.9% 10.7%
Immigration 13.3% 13.7%
Employment by Region
Region Unit Group 1431 All occupations
Abitibi-Témiscamingue 1.8% 1.8%
Bas-Saint-Laurent 1.9% 2.3%
Capitale-Nationale 7.3% 9.4%
Centre-du-Québec 3.1% 2.9%
Chaudière-Appalaches 4.4% 5.5%
Côte-Nord / Nord-du-Québec 1.1% 1.6%
Estrie 2.9% 3.8%
Gaspésie–îles-de-la-Madeleine 0.6% 0.9%
Lanaudière 6.6% 6.1%
Laurentides 8.5% 7.3%
Laval 7.1% 5.2%
Mauricie 2.5% 3.0%
Montérégie 23.1% 19.2%
Montréal 21.7% 22.9%
Outaouais 5.0% 4.9%
Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean 2.6% 3.3%

Main Sectors of Employment

The data of the following table were prepared by economists from Service Canada, Quebec region. The data source is Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey (NHS).

Sector Unit Group 1431
Trade 23.8%
Manufacturing 12.4%
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services 13.1%
- Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping and Payroll Services 7.7%
Public Administration 7.5%
Construction 5.9%
Transportation and Warehousing 5.4%