Finance clerk

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Jane Lester is a finance clerk for a University in Wales. She is responsible for calculating, invoicing and collecting undergraduate and distancelearning tuition fees from the University's students.

What do you do in a typical day?

A lot of my time is spent talking to students either face-toface or over the phone. I advise them of their options for paying their tuition fees. I also set up direct debits for students who wish to pay in instalments. On a regular basis, I send the direct debit claims to the bank, electronically.

And I have to identify those students who have not paid their tuition fees and send letters to them. If students have difficulty in paying their fees, I come to an agreement with them in terms of how and when they will be able to pay.

I also give refunds to any students who have overpaid or who have withdrawn from the University.

How do you use maths in your work?

I use maths constantly to calculate fees that are due or amounts to be refunded.

What is your working environment like?

The finance office is busy! We have students calling in and telephones ringing constantly. The office is nice to work in as we all get on well. I work in the finance office with five other people who all have different areas of responsibilities.

Between us we collect most of the University's income, we all have to have a basic knowledge of each other's work so that we can deal with queries when anyone is away from the office.

Why did you choose this job?

After working for the local council as a cashier, I decided that I enjoyed working as part of a finance office. When I saw this job advertised, it seemed like the next step.

What skills are important for a finance clerk

Patience is important as is being approachable. Students need to feel that they can come in and discuss any problems they have with making payments.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I get to meet people from all over the world who have come here to study. I also enjoy seeing money come in after sending letters; it shows that what we do works.

Jane's route to her career as a finance clerk

  • A levels.
  • Summer job, which was extended, as a cashier with local council.
  • Applied for current job at University.

Jane's tips

  • Summer jobs can lead to other job opportunities. I gained valuable work experience working for the council, which helped me to get the job I have now.
  • Having basic knowledge of spreadsheet software is invaluable; I'm still finding little shortcuts each day that save me time.

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Salary of a finance clerk

  • Salaries vary widely with different employers and in different parts of the country.
  • The range could be between £9,500 and £13,100 for an accounting assistant.
  • The highest salaries are paid in London and the South East.

Getting in

  • There are no minimum requirements for entry to the work, but many employers ask for three or four GCSEs/S grades (A-C/1-3). The most useful subjects are English and maths. Business studies and accounts can also be an advantage.
  • You are likely to be given on-the-job training by your employer. You may also work towards relevant qualifications such as NVQs/SVQs.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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