Document Clerk Job Description
Document clerks support a variety of industries and organizations by creating, filing, and maintaining documents. While this can involve many specific duties related to document control and management, most of the day-to-day duties involve scanning and photocopying documents from departments around the office, maintaining files and filing systems, and creating documents using word processing systems.
This role exists in a number of industries, each with its own standards for preparing documents and maintaining files. A document clerk in an accounting office, for example, would follow different procedures for document preparation and storage than a document clerk at a medical facility.
Document Clerk Duties and Responsibilities
Because this role exists in multiple industries and areas of specialization, the day-to-day duties can vary somewhat. However, most document clerks share several core duties:
Scan and Photocopy Documents
Document clerks frequently scan and photocopy business-related documents, including client files, correspondence, and company records. For scanned documents that need to be retained, they use image-scanning software to check scanned images and assign them a file name and number based on internal document control standards. Document clerks also make photocopies for other employees and return or store the originals.
Type New Documents
Many document clerks type new documents using word processing software. They receive information to convert into inter-office memos or prepare reports based on outlines provided by higher-level employees. The specific nature of clerks’ document preparation varies based on the industry that they work in. An accounting firm’s document clerk, for example, may prepare financial statements and correspondence.
Maintain Digital and Physical Files
Document control is a major part of document clerks’ duties as well. They tend to work with database systems or servers to maintain digital files based on internal and external regulations or may work within a file room and manage printed documents. Document clerks also ensure that files remain current by removing and destroying outdated or obsolete files in accordance with business and possibly government guidelines.
Secure Documents and Files
Document clerks support information security efforts by ensuring that documents and files are secure at all times. For physical documents, this can mean managing access to the file room and retrieving files only for approved users. For digital documents and scans, this may involve password-protecting or otherwise encoding documents to prevent unauthorized access. Document clerks also work with IT personnel to perform system backups to prevent data and document loss.
Check Documents for Accuracy
In many cases, document clerks verify information in company documents, checking to ensure that client information is correct and present in all related documents. Document clerks perform these checks during the scanning or typing process or verify information as requested by other personnel within the organization. They may also update documents to reflect updated information.
Document Clerk Skills and Qualifications
Document clerks manage a large volume of data, often switching between documents and tasks throughout the day. Companies typically hire document clerks with at least a high school diploma or GED, along with the following skills:
- Attention to detail – to ensure that documents are correctly typed and scanned and are properly filed and maintained
- Scanning and digitization – document clerks should have some experience scanning and digitizing a variety of documents and materials, including converting document types and assigning file names and numbers
- Time management skills – to work with individuals from many departments on a variety of tasks
- Typing and word processing – fast and accurate typing is vital, as document clerks prepare materials for both internal and client use according to company and external guidelines
- Document security – to follow best practices for document and file security for both paper and digital documents
- Communication skills – to communicate across departments, providing information and preparing documents
Tools of the Trade
Document clerks work in office settings, so they should be comfortable using standard office equipment and software in addition to the following:
- Scanning software
- Database software
Document Clerk Lead Education and Training
Document clerks can begin with only a high school diploma or GED, although many organizations prefer to hire candidates with some college education. There are significant opportunities for on-the-job-training in this role as a document clerk gains familiarity with proprietary document management systems and company and industry regulations.
Document Clerk Salary and Outlook
Document clerk salaries depend largely on experience, location, and industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that general office clerks earned a median annual salary of $30,580 per year ($14.70 per hour) as of May 2016. The lowest-paid 10 percent of clerks earned less than $9.30 per hour, while the highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $24.20 per hour. Because document clerks are somewhat specialized, their pay rates may be slightly higher than the median amount.
The BLS expects clerk employment to remain steady between 2016 and 2026, with no significant growth or decline.
We searched the web and found a number of resources if you’re interested in learning more about working as a document clerk:
7 Essential Document Management Best Practices – Read about the principles of secure document management, including file maintenance and retention.
Document Control: Lifecycle and the Governance Challenge – Read about the fundamentals and best practices of document control in a variety of industries.
Document Scanning Tips for Organizing Your Department – This guide covers best practices for maintaining and securing business-critical documents and files.
Implementing Electronic Document and Record Management Systems – This comprehensive guide covers the essentials of electronic document and records maintenance and security.
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