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Working in an accounts department can be dull, trust me I have done it. If you want the interesting finance jobs then you need to study a professional qualification, however starting at the bottom is good as you get to understand how all the functions within finance fit together.

Purchase ledger is an important part of the accounts function, here is our summary of the job before the detail:

1. Purchase ledgers record the purchases made by a businesses or public sector organization, these days onto some accountancy software system.

2. Duties tend to be many and varied and can include processing invoices, dealing with petty cash claims and making weekly, monthly and annual reports.

3. For many, working as a purchase ledger clerk is the first step on the ladder towards becoming a fully-fledged accountant.

4. However, while you may not need any professional qualifications for this job, you will need a good head for numbers, with employers looking for good GCSEs and maybe A levels.

5. Additionally, any industry qualifications, such as those offered by the ACCA and AAT will also help you find work.

6. The starting salary for purchase ledger clerks is around £14,000 a year, though larger companies may pay up to £20,000.

7. While the starting pay may be relatively low, many employers support junior accounting staff through further training.

What Do Purchase Ledger Clerks Do?

Purchase ledgers record the purchases made by a business or public sector organisation, keeping track of how much money has been spent and how much is owed to third parties.

As a purchase ledger clerk, you may be reporting directly to a Finance Director or Financial Controller. While the role will require you to work normal office hours and be sat at a desk in front of a computer for most of the working day, the job is still relatively varied and certainly interesting and mentally stimulating if you have a head for numbers.

Duties can include:

  • Processing invoices of all sizes, placing these alongside the original purchase orders and ensuring that they match up.
  • Preparing weekly or monthly reports on expenditure within a certain department or across the whole company.
  • Dealing with petty cash requests and making sure that all payments are accounted for.
  • Preparing a payment run of due invoices, then writing out cheques for the Directors to sign.
  • Processing BACS payments efficiently and accurately (for any regular suppliers)
  • Dealing with all staff expenses and making sure all claims are properly backed up with receipts.

With the above the purchase invoices received would have to have been authorized as goods or services received, checked and signed off, before any payments are made.

Skills and Qualifications

For many, working as a purchase ledger clerk is the first step on the ladder towards becoming a fully-fledged accountant. As such, there are no fixed qualifications necessary, with many ledger clerks entering the role straight from college or even school.

However, given the competitive nature of the jobs market, anything that can set you apart from the crowd will improve your chances of finding work in this field. So, as well as solid GCSEs and A-levels – in particular in maths, business and economics – you may want to have, or be looking to study:

  • The AAT Accounting Qualification

Widely-regarded as the gateway to working as an accountancy professional, the AAT certificate offers a comprehensive overview of corporate bookkeeping and is widely-respected in the business world.

  • ACCA Foundation-Level Qualifications

As an alternative to an AAT certificate, studying for an ACCA qualification will show prospective employers that you have an enthusiasm for accounting as well as an aptitude for numbers.

At the same time, alongside formal qualifications, employers may also like you to have some or all of the following skills and personal attributes:

  • Some experience of bookkeeping, even if it’s looking after the books of a small family business while at school.
  • A good aptitude for IT and a good working knowledge of specialist software packages such as Excel, Sage and BACS.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, since you will be working alongside others.
  • A strong sense of self-discipline, a keen eye for detail and the ability to meet strict deadlines.

Pay and Benefits

Again, working as a purchase ledger clerk is usually a good way of getting your foot in the door of a big company and gaining the experience you need to move on up in the world of finance. As such, pay levels are relatively low, especially if it’s your first job after school or college.

According to AAT (the professional body for accounting technicians), the starting salary for purchase ledger clerks is around £14,000 a year, though larger companies may pay up to £20,000. If you have more than three years experience in the job, then you may earn up to £25,000 at a big company, though pay for purchase ledger clerks generally levels out here, with higher salaries only available if you move into a more senior finance department role.

However, one of the main benefits of working as a ledger clerk is that it will give you valuable experience of working in an accounts department, placing you in a good position to apply for more senior roles either internally or with another employer.

Many bigger companies are happy to support junior accounts staff through training for industry qualifications such as ACCA certificates and you may want to ask about a study package as part of your salary. This will show your potential employer that you are serious about working within a finance department.

Finding Work

Good places to look for purchase ledger clerk jobs online include:

  • AAT website,
  • Accountancy Age Jobs.

As well as looking at major Accountancy specialists’ websites like the two above, it’s also worth registering with a number of specialist recruitment agencies. You could have alook at:

  • City Jobs
  • London Secretarial Jobs

However its worth doing a job search with us, we can email you updated results weekly – all for free.

Other Accountancy Jobs

If you dont fancy being a purchase ledger clerk then why not see what other finance career options there are, we have a selection of Finance Career Guides.

If you need the help or advice of your local jobcentre then check out our Job Centre Online section where you can get phone numbers or addresses of any jobcentre in the UK.

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