Financial assistants are responsible for handling daily bookkeeping, accounting and budget management related tasks. Ordinarily, someone wishing to become a financial assistant must successfully graduate from high school; many companies prefer to hire assistants who have undergraduate college degrees. People working within specific industries may also be required to complete industry related training classes.
A high school graduate who wishes to become a financial assistant be required to complete an undergraduate degree in accounting, finance or another mathematics related subject. Individuals who have not completed college degree courses can gain some job relevant academic credentials by enrolling in short-term bookkeeping or finance classes that are available through many community colleges. Some firms provide on-the-job training for assistants although in the absence of post-high school qualifications, many employers prefer to those who achieved above average scores on mathematics.
Many financial assistants work in the accounting arena and aside from performing clerical tasks, these individuals may assist qualified accountants who perform audits. Laws in some nations require anyone involved in accounting or auditing procedures to have undergone some industry specific training and in some instances attendees are required to pass a licensing exam at the end of these training sessions. Likewise, someone wishing to become a financial assistant for a securities broker or an insurance agent may have to attend a regulatory training class and pass a licensing exam.
The precise responsibilities of a financial assistant vary from employer to employer but in many instances, these individuals are tasked with paying invoices, billing clients, making bank deposits and preparing financial statements. Therefore, many firms prefer to hire people who have prior bookkeeping experience. Aside from working as a professional bookkeeper, some undergraduates gain this experience by working as treasurers on a voluntary basis for charitable organizations or school groups. In other instances, local community groups offer accounting and clerical training courses for the long-term unemployed and people who attend these sessions are sometimes able to land entry-level financial assistant jobs.
Aside from academic credentials and prior work experience, anyone wishing to become a financial assistant must have an eye for detail and good interpersonal skills. Errors in accounting can prove costly and some employers require job applicants to pass aptitude tests before starting work. Additionally, assistants working with foreign clients and individuals based in cosmopolitan areas may need to have second language skills. Depending on the complexity of the work, these people may need to have completed language degree programs although some employers accept applicants who have a basic knowledge of another language even if they have never attended a formal training course.