We might work the numbers, but we speak in common sense. Check back monthly for smart bookkeeping tips, small business strategies, and our two cents on how numbers can add up to your business success.

Bookkeeper or Data Entry Clerk? That is the question

Most Small, Medium and even Large Businesses do not know the difference between a Professional Bookkeeper and a Data Entry Clerk.  It is totally surprising to me as a Professional Bookkeeper that most business owners still want to “label” our profession as a data entry job description.  Below are three different job descriptions for a data entry clerk.

Job Description

Classification:  Data Entry
Compensation:  $15.00 to $17.00 per hour
Data Entry Clerk will be responsible for upgrading the records management filing system, packing and moving boxes of files, coding files with barcodes, and accurate data entry of the information.
Job Requirements
The desired Data Entry Clerk will have 1+ years’ experience in an office and administrative role.  Intermediate Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel skills are necessary. Above average customer service and communication skills, coupled with a professional phone manner are vital to excel in this position. Flexibility and versatility are key to being successful in this role.
Classification: Administrative
Requirements and Responsibilities:

  • Must be able to enter data in an accurate and complete manner, with attention to detail
  • Identify errors and take action to correct errors immediately
  • Verify deposit information
  • Meet and exceed departmental productivity and accuracy targets
  • Able to perform in a fast paced and high pressure environment, with the ability to multi task
  • Possess strong data entry skills of 7000 ksph (10 key pad) with a low error rate, along with strong computer skills, would be considered an asset.
  • Must have a valid driver’s license reliable transportation (public transportation is not available) and have steel toed boots
  • MUST be able to start at 6:00 am and have the ability to stay until 4:00 pm

Description: Data Entry Clerk
Data Entry Clerk Job Purpose:
Maintains database by entering new and updated customer and account information.
Data Entry Clerk Job Duties:
Prepares source data for computer entry by compiling and sorting information; establishing entry priorities.Processes customer and account source documents by reviewing data for deficiencies; resolving discrepancies by using standard procedures or returning incomplete documents to the team leader for resolution. Enters customer and account data by inputting alphabetic and numeric information on keyboard or optical scanner according to screen format.Maintains data entry requirements by following data program techniques and procedures. Verifies entered customer and account data by reviewing, correcting, deleting, or reentering data; combining data from both systems when account information is incomplete; purging files to eliminate duplication of data. Tests customer and account system changes and upgrades by inputting new data; reviewing output. Secures information by completing data base backups. Maintains operations by following policies and procedures; reporting needed changes. Maintains customer confidence and protects operations by keeping information confidential.
Now examples of Bookkeeper Job Descriptions:

This excerpt is from a website called eHow Money on their definition of a “Bookkeeper”.

“Bookkeeper” is a fairly generic job description. The duties and responsibilities  of a bookkeeper can vary significantly from one company to the next, depending  on factors such as the size of the business and how duties are distributed among  employees. Regardless of the company, however, most bookkeepers handle the  fundamental aspects of a firm’s financial record-keeping.

I am in total disagreement with the first sentence.  Bookkeeping is NOT a “fairly generic job description” as is outlined in the job description below from a website called “Accounting Tools.”  They pretty much have it defined.   I have added, in bold and brackets, that some of the duties outlined are also done by data entry/admin personnel to show how the overlap happens and misunderstanding of what each of these roles are responsible for in a business.

Position Description: Bookkeeper
Basic Function: The bookkeeper position creates financial transactions and creates financial reports from that information. The creation of financial transactions includes posting information to accounting journals or accounting software from such source documents as invoices to customers, cash receipts, and supplier invoices. The bookkeeper also reconciles accounts to ensure their accuracy.

Principal Accountabilities:

  1. Purchase supplies and equipment as authorized by management (data entry/admin job)
  2. Monitor office supply levels and reorder as necessary (data entry/admin job)
  3. Tag and monitor fixed assets
  4. Pay supplier invoices in a timely manner  (also done by data entry/admin)
  5. Take all reasonable discounts on supplier invoices
  6. Pay any debt as it comes due for payment
  7. Monitor debt levels and compliance with debt covenants
  8. Issue invoices to customers (also done by data entry clerks/admin)
  9. Collect sales taxes from customers and remit them to the government
  10. Ensure that receivables are collected promptly
  11. Record cash receipts and make bank deposits  (also done by data entry clerks/admin)
  12. Conduct a monthly reconciliation of every bank account
  13. Conduct periodic reconciliations of all accounts to ensure their accuracy
  14. Maintain the petty cash fund (also data entry/admin)
  15. Issue financial statements
  16. Provide information to the external accountant who creates the company’s financial statements
  17. Assemble information for external auditors for the annual audit
  18. Calculate and issue financial analysis of the financial statements
  19. Maintain an orderly accounting filing system (also done by data entry clerks/admin)
  20. Maintain the chart of accounts
  21. Maintain the annual budget
  22. Calculate variances from the budget and report significant issues to management
  23. Comply with local, provincial, and federal government reporting requirements
  24. Process payroll in a timely manner
  25. Provide clerical and administrative support to management as requested (data entry/admin job)

To the Small Business owner, this is a huge gap in processes that they do not currently understand.  The only thing a Small Business owner usually concentrates on is “how can I get this done as cheap as possible without me having to do it?”

To that end, they will hire a data entry clerk at 15.00/hour who will not really do the Small Business owner any favours.  Oh, the data will get entered into some form of system, however, it will not be categorized properly so when it comes to handing over the books to the accountant, it will have to be revamped all over again and now has cost possibly double of what the Small Business owner really wanted to pay in the first place.

We have just taken on a new client that experienced this very scenario.   He let the data entry clerk go as he could not justify paying her when it was clear he was not making the money he thought he should be.  Mind you, there were a couple of other factors involved, but not having the right team in place will sink a Small Business a lot quicker than they think.

This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.