Career Guide: What Can I Do With An Accounting Degree?

General Ledger Accountant

Job Description:

A general ledger accountant makes sure a business or organization’s main accounting record, the general ledger, is balanced properly. This includes recording day-to-day transactions, performing monthly and annual checks on the ledger, and preparing reports and balance sheets reflecting the state of the company’s finances. General ledger accountants also provide assistance in areas of an accounting department, including payroll and internal auditing. Bookkeepers or accounting clerks are sometimes employed in place of or in addition to a general ledger accountant.

Employers will typically require that a general ledger accountant hold an associate or bachelor's degree in accounting. Employers are likely to favor candidate with CPA (certified public accountant) certification and previous professional accounting experience. General ledger accountants must show strong mathematical, analytical, and communication skills, as well as attention to detail and accuracy.
Median Salary:
According to the Robert Half 2013 Salary Guide, the average starting salary for general ledger accountants, who often oversee the work of bookkeepers and accounting clerks, was $39,750 to $52,500 in 2013. The same guide names accountants as one of a handful of "positions in demand" in the current and future job market. Salaries for accountants will vary depending on education, years of experience, and the size, location, and industry of the employer.
Job Outlook:

Projected to grow 14% between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS.

The job market for general ledger accountants is largely dependent on the ups and downs of the economy. Several factors are expected to contribute to a steady rise of employment in the financial industry over the next seven years. According to the BLS, an influx of new financial organizations, backlash from national economical downturns, and stricter financial regulations may increase the global demand for general ledger accountants. Most bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks work in the professional, scientific, and technical services sector, however career prospects in this industry are changing, as the advent of accounting software and technology is affecting traditional practices. While an advanced degree is not specified and many employers offer on-the-job training, candidates with higher education, experience, and certification and/or specialty skills may find favor when applying for top jobs.

Continuing Education:

A general ledger accountant may enroll in continuing education to enhance their vocational skills. Once an accountant has received certification and state licensure, they are also required to complete a minimum number of continuing education credits to renew their certification according to annual licensure regulations. The American Institute of CPAs offers information on professional development for general ledger accountants, as well as various other specialties within this occupation. Students in a continuing education program specific to ledger accounting typically learn how to manage costing sheets, implement various financial planning techniques, utilize different methods of bookkeeping and accounting, and analyze financial records. Top jobs in finance and business typically favor candidates with the highest education, credentials, and professional and specialty skills.