Accounting Clerk Salary Guide

Updated September 28, 2022 · 6 Min Read

Accounting clerks provide vital operational support to businesses managing high volumes of cash. Research salary trends and find out where accounting clerk experience can lead.

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Accounting clerks play a major role on a business's finance team. Based on statistics published by Glassdoor, they also enjoy strong earning potential. As of August 2022, Glassdoor notes a median accounting clerk salary of about $37,500 per year in the United States.

The kicker comes in the form of bonuses and profit-sharing. According to Glassdoor, these accounting clerk income streams can total more than $56,000 per year.

This guide explores the factors affecting accounting clerk salaries in detail. Use it to inform your career research and help increase your earning power.

What Are Accounting Clerk Salaries?

Accounting Clerks


Median Annual Salary, May 2021

$45,560

Source: BLS

Several factors can influence base salaries for accounting clerks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the industry of employment has a significant effect. BLS data singles out several industries that pay salaries above the nationwide median. These industries include finance and insurance, professional services, and wholesale trade.

Location also affects accounting clerk salary potential. However, higher salaries often correspond to areas with higher average living costs.

Payscale data from August 2022 reveals that experienced accounting clerks earn a premium compared to entry-level and early-career professionals. According to Payscale, clerks at the highest end of the experience spectrum out-earn those at the lowest end by more than 18%.

Accounts Clerk Salary by Education

Education can increase an accounting clerk's salary. Most employers expect accounting clerk applicants to hold at least an associate degree in accounting. Many prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree or higher. Professionals with at least a four-year degree typically earn more than associate degree-holders.

Professional endorsements such as the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers' certified bookkeeper credential may also improve earning potential. This certification can offer an upgrade over the average base salary of about $40,560 per year reported by Payscale.

A bachelor's or master's in accounting can lead to many opportunities beyond accounting clerk careers. These positions include certified public accountant roles and other jobs that offer higher average pay.

Keep this in mind when deciding whether to pursue further schooling. You may earn a better return on your educational investment by applying your degree toward a higher-paying career path.

Salary by Experience

Pay increases with experience in many fields, and bookkeeping is no exception. Entry-level accounting clerks tend to earn less than professionals who have been on the job longer.

According to Payscale and Glassdoor, accounting clerk salaries can include bonuses and profit-sharing. Experienced clerks may have an advantage in this regard as their know-how often translates into stronger job performance. This, in turn, may lead to more profitable bonuses and benefits.

The following chart summarizes accounting clerk salary trends by experience. Note the significant jump between the early and mid-to-late career stages.

Salary by Location

Accounts clerk salary levels also vary by location. Supply-and-demand dynamics in the local labor market can influence their earning power. Cities and states with higher costs of living also tend to offer higher pay than areas with lower living costs.

The following tables summarize the top-paying U.S. states and cities for accounting clerks according to the BLS.

Top-Paying States for Accounting Clerks, May 2021
State Number of Accounting Clerks Employed Average Annual Salary

District of Columbia

2,800

$60,130

Massachusetts

39,740

$53,340

Washington

33,170

$51,460

California

170,580

$51,080

Connecticut

15,810

$51,050

Source: BLS

Top-Paying Metropolitan Areas for Accounting Clerks, May 2021
Metropolitan Area Number of Accounting Clerks Employed Average Annual Salary

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

9,350

$59,750

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA

20,200

$58,670

Napa, CA

770

$54,940

Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CA

3,890

$54,710

Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA

29,130

$54,590

Source: BLS

As you search for well-paid job opportunities, remember that higher living costs can cancel out the value of higher salaries. Look beyond raw accounting clerk salary numbers. Instead, investigate the trade-off between salary levels and living costs in a given area.

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center's Cost of Living Data Series can help you compare living costs in different U.S. states.

Where Should I Work as an Accounting Clerk?

The BLS projects labor market demand for accounting clerks to decline by 3% from 2020-2030. The BLS cites technological innovation as the main driver of this trend.

Advances like cloud computing have allowed businesses to automate some of accounting clerks' traditional job duties. The result is that companies can now hire fewer clerks and bookkeepers to manage their financial tracking needs.

Meanwhile, the BLS projects that about 170,200 accounting clerk jobs will open up in the U.S. labor market each year from 2020-2030. Thus, qualified professionals will still be able to find work in the field.

Accounting Clerks


Change in Projected Employment from 2020-2030

-3%

Source: BLS

Best Areas

The states with the highest numbers of accounting clerk jobs tend to be heavily urbanized. Large population centers attract more commercial activity, which increases demand for bookkeepers and accounting clerks.

For instance, the five states with the most accounting clerks are California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York. At least two cities in each of these states rank in the top 200 largest metropolitan areas in the country as of 2022.

Employment density can also affect accounting clerk job availability. In calculating employment density, the BLS looks at how many accounting clerks there are per 1,000 jobs in a given state.

The BLS also uses a statistic known as location quotient when evaluating employment density. This statistic compares the employment density of accounting clerks within a state against the national average. As of May 2021, the states with the highest employment density of accounting clerks are South Dakota, Montana, Alaska, Tennessee, and Delaware.

Looking at employment density, projected percentage increases, and/or projected annual openings can help you decide where to focus your job search.

Top-Employing States for Accounting Clerks, May 2021
State Number of Accounting Clerks Employed Average Annual Salary

California

170,580

$51,080

Texas

132,510

$43,550

Florida

92,730

$42,440

New York

88,400

$50,720

Pennsylvania

66,260

$44,470

Source: BLS

States With the Greatest Projected Increase in Employment for Accounting Clerks, 2020-30
State Percent Projected Change, 2020-30 Average Annual Openings

Greatest Projected Percentage Increase

Utah

16.6%

2,090

Idaho

14.2%

1,270

New York

11.9%

13,070

Washington

11.2%

5,150

Alaska

11.0%

570

Most Projected Average Annual Openings

California

4.4%

21,460

Texas

8.9%

16,980

New York

11.9%

13,070

Florida

8.4%

12,200

West Virginia

6.8%

8,380

Source: Projections Central

Top-Employing Metropolitan Areas for Accounting Clerks, May 2021
Metropolitan Area Number of Accounting Clerks Employed Average Annual Salary

New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA

88,160

$52,810

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA

63,270

$50,470

Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI

43,300

$47,800

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX

38,900

$45,610

Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland, TX

31,060

$44,990

Source: BLS

Best Industries

Certain industries employ accounting clerks in high numbers. Others offer high pay rates. Emerging and established bookkeepers and clerks can draw on this data to target specific opportunities.

Some of the industries identified by the BLS as offering the highest job numbers and pay rates have ties to particular locations. For instance, the metal ore mining industry ranks among the national leaders in pay rates for accounting clerks. However, job numbers are limited and the industry centers on areas where mining companies operate.

Consider which industries offer a favorable balance between job numbers and pay rates. These industries may offer less competition than high-paying sectors with few job openings.

Top-Paying Industries for Accounting Clerks, May 2021
Industry Number of Accounting Clerks Employed Average Annual Salary

Postal Service (federal government)

330

$70,350

Metal Ore Mining

150

$64,410

Support Activities for Water Transportation

680

$61,050

Monetary Authorities (central banking)

460

$59,630

Electricity Generation, Transmission, and Distribution

2,340

$57,270

Source: BLS

Top-Employing Industries for Accounting Clerks, May 2021
Industry Number of Accounting Clerks Employed Average Annual Salary

Accounting, Bookkeeping, Tax Preparation, and Payroll Services

102,170

$44,500

Enterprise Management

84,410

$46,820

Local Government

62,160

$46,760

Real Estate

49,610

$46,400

Credit Intermediation

36,940

$44,220

Source: BLS

Questions About Entry-Level Accounting Clerk Salary


What does a junior accounting clerk do?

As entry-level professionals, junior accounting clerks usually support senior accounting staff. Their tasks may include data entry, record management and updating, bill processing, and accounts receivable tracking. Junior clerks also check the accuracy of financial documents.

What is the highest salary of a clerk?

This depends on your point of comparison. In specific industries, the BLS reports average accounting clerk salaries over $70,000 per year. When comparing salaries by state, accounting clerk salary ranges top out at just above $60,000 per year.

Is being an accounting clerk stressful?

Like many other accounting and finance careers, accounting clerk jobs can be demanding. This is especially true during peak times of the annual work cycle. However, the level of stress you experience in the role depends on how you manage your time and deal with everyday pressures.

Is an accounting clerk the same as an accountant?

No. An accounting clerk's job duties revolve around administering and filing the records of a company's financial transactions. Accountants prepare and analyze financial statements. They take a more active role in their employer's financial planning and hold significantly more responsibility.

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