Accounting Assistant Frequently Asked Questions
How were the Accounting Assistant certificates developed?
The Accounting faculty at College of San Mateo built a partnership with local employers. We asked, "What jobs would be a good match for our students?" They told us: "Accounting Assistants." We worked with accounting managers to select the classes students need. We rewrote the content of each course to teach the skills students will use on the job.
What are the skills required to be an Accounting Assistant?
The skills needed are strong command of accounting fundamentals, accounts receivable, accounts payable and payroll; experience with accounting software, especially QuickBooks; excellent Excel skills, knowledge of Word and Windows; and ten-key speed and accuracy.
Which certificate should I pick?
The certificates are part of a sequence. Make the Accounting Certificate, the highest level certificate, your goal. If you need to get a job as soon as possible, the Accounting Assistant certificate will give you the skills to start your job search and succeed on the job. Come back and complete the Accounting Certificate as soon as you can.
Is each certificate one big class?
No. Each certificate is a combination of several different classes. For each class in your certificate, check the class schedule and select the day and time best for you.
How long can I take to finish my certificate?
Your certificate can be completed at your pace. There is no time limit. The certificates can be completed in one or two semesters if you attend school full-time. Some students take one or two classes each semester and complete the certificates over many semesters.
I will complete my certificate over several semesters. How should I plan my courses?
Enroll in Accounting Procedures, Ten-Key Skills, and Job Search Skills first. Complete Excel I as soon as you can. Wait to enroll in QuickBooks until you have completed Accounting Procedures. The two QuickBooks classes (ACTG 144 and 145) may be taken in either order - ACTG 144 is not a prerequisite for ACTG 145. See your academic advisor to develop a multi-semester plan.
Can I complete a certificate by taking evening or Saturday classes?
Yes. All of the classes are offered evenings or Saturdays.
Can I complete a certificate online?
For many certificates all courses are offered online. We are adding more online classes over time. Our goal is to offer every certificate online.
When should I apply for my Certificate?
Apply for your certificate by the sixth week of the semester in which you will complete your certificate. Contact your academic advisor or Counseling Services for more information.
Ten-Key Skills (ACTG 103) is a self-paced class. How does it work?
There are no class meetings -- you set your pace and your hours. You will use an online learning system and complete your work on any computer with internet access. Students with strong ten-key skills may receive credit-by-exam. After you register for the class you will receive an email from the instructor with information about how to complete the course.
What will I learn in Job Search Skills (CRER 127)?
Job Search Skills will help you make the transition from the classroom to the workplace. You will prepare a resume, sharpen your interviewing skills, and learn how to search for your new job. Contact Career Services for more information.
After I complete my certificate, how do I get a job?
Job listings and job placement help are available in Career Services. Student have also had good experiences in finding jobs through Accountemps and OfficeTeam.
Can I have a career in accounting without a bachelor's degree?
Yes. Most entry-level accounting jobs require only the skills taught in the Accounting Certificates. Based upon job performance you can advance from Accounting Assistant to Supervisor, Full-Charge Bookkeeper, and Manager.
I already have a bachelor's degree, but not in accounting. Will it help me?
Yes. There are more accounting managers with a bachelor's degree in English than accounting. Your degree, combined with the skills you will learn in our certificates, will open doors to the highest level of advancement. Also, employers usually consider a degree earned outside the United States as equivalent to a degree earned in the country.
How can I improve my writing and speaking skills?
On your job you will be working with customers, vendors, co-workers and managers. To succeed on your job you must have strong written and verbal communication skills. College of San Mateo offers many courses to help you improve your skills. We encourage all students to complete ENGL 100, SPCH 100 and READ 400. Meet with your academic advisor to plan your program.
How do I find out about financial aid?
Contact Financial Aid Services for more information.
Who do I call if I have a question?
Call (650) 574-6400 and make an appointment to talk with Professor Rick Ambrose, the advisor for Accounting and Tax programs. You may also call or visit Counseling Services for immediate help.