How to Become a Bookkeeper
If you enjoy accounting, and get a good sense of satisfaction when you solve a problem, then you might like to become a bookkeeper. A bookkeeper looks after the financial accounts for a business, or sometimes an individual, completing a range of accounting and administrative duties.
The best bookkeepers have a good eye for detail, a head for figures, and a patient demeanor. Working as a bookkeeper can mean many hours in front of a computer, and not a lot of contact with other people. Many bookkeepers enjoy this aspect of their work the most!
Educational Requirements to Become a Bookkeeper
There are a few different pathways to become a bookkeeper. If you're in high school, the best way to prepare is by taking subjects in math and English.
You can complete a two year associate's degree in an area like accounting to become a bookkeeper. Your selected course should have a strong focus on topics like accounts payable and receivable, invoicing, computerized accounting, ledger balancing, and tax preparation.
You'll also need to have strong computer skills, since most accounting is done on computers these days. If you already have strong accounting skills, taking a short course in a computerized accounting software system might be all you need to land the job.
You don't need to have an associate's degree to work as a bookkeeper. Many actually learn on the job, after being trained and promoted from other position. For example, many receptions, accounts assistants, administrators, and clerks go on to be promoted to the position of bookkeeper. This career path is a good choice if you don't want to spend time at school; however there is no guarantee of promotion.
Another alternative route to become a bookkeeper is to attend night school. If you already have an administrative role, or are just working full-time, attending night classes to attain a degree could be the way for you getting the job you want.
Bookkeeper Job Description
A bookkeeper looks after the financial and bookkeeping needs of a company. They keep a track of the money coming into and going out of a business. In smaller businesses, they are often also responsible for payroll. They keep computerized records of invoices and outstanding accounts. When money is owed they may need to follow up on debts.
A bookkeeper will also have to generate reports, usually on a monthly or weekly basis, for senior management to look at. This could be a cash flow, a profit and loss statement, or a record of performance and sales for example.
Here are some of the responsibilities of a bookkeeper:
- Accounts payable
- Accounts receivable
- Trust accounting
- Debt Collection
- Ledger balances
- Monthly rollover
- End of year rollover
Bookkeeper Salary and Career Path
Many bookkeepers are promoted from similar positions within the same company, for instance administration. Others are employed as trainee or assistant bookkeepers, and learn on the job. With a year or two of experience, you could expect to be working without any supervision.
Many bookkeepers go on to complete further studies and become accountants. Others go on to advanced positions within finance or administration. Job prospects in this industry remain good. Strong growth is predicted, and competition for jobs is not any higher than normal. A qualification as a bookkeeper is once that will likely secure you a job for life, almost anywhere in the world.
If you're looking for part-time work then you might like to become a bookkeeper. Many of the positions available for this role are part-time or casual. It's also a good field to enter if you are planning on starting a family and working part-time later on.
The median salary of a bookkeeper is $32,000. Those that work in a specialized field, such as auditing, may earn more. The top 10% of earners make more than $49,000 a year.
Some similar roles to that of a bookkeeper include:
- Trust accountant
- Payroll officer
- Office manager
- Medical assistant
When you become a bookkeeper, you open yourself up to many job opportunities around the country. Not only that, but you also have a flexible occupation that can change with your lifestyle requirements.
*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics