Bookkeepers typically handle the day-to-day finances of a business.
They may be responsible for paying bills, payroll, collecting debts, and creating a budget for the business.
You may need to work with computer software to track expenses and accounts, and create reports.
You may also handle inventory and purchasing, file records, and work with a CPA to keep finances on track.
Should you become a bookkeeper? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this career.
Table of Contents
- Pros of Being a Bookkeeper
- Cons of Being a Bookkeeeper
- 19 Pros and Cons of Being a Bookkeeper – Summary Table
- Should You Be a Bookkeeper?
Pros of Being a Bookkeeper
Being a bookkeeper has lots of pros that you should be aware of if you are considering it as a career.
- Can work remotely
- No degree required
- Learn valuable skills
- Grow your skills on the job
- Work in different fields
- Can lead to other careers
- Comfortable working conditions
- Utilize your natural talents
- Problem solving can be enjoyable
- It’s rewarding
Many bookkeeping positions allow you to set your own hours.
This flexibility makes it a great choice if you have other obligations.
If you care for a child or loved one, are attending college, or have another job, bookkeeping can give you the freedom you need.
2. Can Work Remotely
As a bookkeeper, you can work remotely.
Some bookkeeping positions require you to be in the office, but others allow you to work from anywhere.
If working from home, or anywhere with an internet connection, appeals to you, consider beginning a career as a bookkeeper.
3. No Degree Required
There are no official education requirements to become a bookkeeper, so you won’t need a degree.
It’s important to note that you will need strong computer and math skills.
However, there are plenty of inexpensive courses that can teach you the ropes.
You can also teach yourself from resources available online.
4. Learn Valuable Skills
The skills you gain as a bookkeeper can be beneficial in many areas.
You’ll learn to manage finances, which can help you with your personal finances.
You will also develop your organizational skills.
Of course, you’ll gain math and computer skills as well.
5. Grow Your Skills on the Job
You’ll need to know the basics before starting a career as a bookkeeper.
However, you can also learn more while you are on the job.
As new techniques and programs become available, you can learn how to use them while you work.
These skills can be useful, even if you want to pursue a different career path in the future.
6. Work in Different Fields
Being a bookkeeper gives you a unique window into different industries.
You’ll be working for a business or businesses, and you’ll learn about the industry they are in.
This can allow you to gain experience in different industries.
If you are considering going into an industry to do a different job, you’ll get a feel for the industry before making a career change.
7. Can lead to other careers
You may choose to continue working as a bookkeeper, or use it as a stepping stone to advance your career.
If you want to be an accountant, becoming a bookkeeper is a great starting point, while you pursue your education.
If you are interested in owning or managing a business, bookkeeping gives you valuable experience in these areas.
8. Comfortable Working Conditions
If you aren’t working remotely, you’ll be working in an office or at the business itself.
This means that you’ll have comfortable and clean working conditions.
If you prefer an office chair to manual labor, being a bookkeeper is a good option.
9. Utilize Your Natural Talents
Do you have a natural talent for numbers?
Do you enjoy math?
Are you a whiz at computer programs?
If any of these apply to you, being a bookkeeper allows you to put these natural talents to use.
It’s also ideal if you are naturally analytical, and enjoy details.
10. Problem-Solving Can be Enjoyable
Bookkeeping is often thought of as a boring career choice.
However, it often requires some detective work.
If you find a discrepancy in the numbers, you’ll need to figure out where the issue is.
You may also need to find ways to save money to stay within the company’s budget, which is challenging and requires problem-solving and planning.
11. It’s Rewarding
Knowing that you are essential to the success of the business you work for can be very rewarding.
Doing your job well helps the company to be successful.
As the company grows and succeeds, you’ll know that you are an important part of this success.
Cons of Being a Bookkeeeper
Despite the benefits of being a bookkeeper, the position has its fair share of cons as well.
The top cons of being a bookkeeper are:
- It can be repetitive or monotonous
- There’s a pay ceiling
- Stressful deadlines
- Long hours during peak times
- Competition for the best jobs
- Declining demand
- Lots of time in front of a computer screen
- Difficult to advance
1. It can be repetitive or monotonous
Your duties as a bookkeeper will likely be similar from day to day, which can be repetitive over time.
The numbers may change, but the process will remain the same.
If you enjoy knowing what to expect, this may be a pro.
However, if you get bored easily, this is definitely a downside of the job.
2. There’s a pay Ceiling
As a bookkeeper, there’s a limit to the pay increases you can expect.
Businesses aren’t willing to pay bookkeepers a high salary, regardless of their skill or experience.
The average pay for bookkeepers is $14 to $28.
You can certainly work your way up in terms of pay, but there’s a limit to how much you can expect to make.
Bookkeepers often have deadlines, which can be stressful.
You’ll also have a lot of responsibility to keep track of the company’s finances, and keep things running smoothly.
This pressure can be too much for some people, so be sure that you can handle the stress before taking on a bookkeeper job.
4. Long Hours During Peak Times
Like most careers, you can expect some times to be busier than others.
You may have slow periods, and periods where you need to work long hours to stay on top of everything.
Generally, the end of quarters and the end of the year are busy times for bookkeepers.
5. Competition for the Best Jobs
Bookkeeping jobs are surprisingly competitive.
It can be fairly easy to find work as a bookkeeper.
However, it can be tough to find a position that offers good pay and hours.
About 1 in 4 bookkeepers only work part-time.
Some work part-time by choice, but others simply can’t find full-time work.
6. Declining Demand
Declining demand plays a role in the competitiveness of bookkeeping.
The demand for bookkeepers is expected to decline by 5% in the next decade.
This is likely due to computer programs that make it easier for small business owners to do their own bookkeeping.
7. Lots of Time in Front of a Computer Screen
As a bookkeeper, much of your work will be in front of a computer.
This has some downsides, including a risk of eyestrain, headaches, and poor posture.
It’s important to take frequent breaks, and be sure that you are working ergonomically to avoid negative effects.
If you don’t want to sit in front of a computer for hours a day, being a bookkeeper probably isn’t for you.
The days of paper and pencil bookkeeping are long gone.
8. Difficult to Advance
Being a bookkeeper can lead to other careers.
However, there’s little room for advancement if you remain a bookkeeper.
The competition, declining demand, and pay ceiling mean that you can only go so far without branching out and changing careers.
19 Pros and Cons of Being a Bookkeeper – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Bookkeeper||Cons of Being a Bookkeeeper|
|1. Flexibility||1.It can be repetitive or monotonous|
|2. Can Work Remotely||2. There's a pay Ceiling|
|3. No Degree Required||3. Stress|
|4. Learn Valuable Skills||4. Long Hours During Peak Times|
|5. Grow Your Skills on the Job||5. Competition for the Best Jobs|
|6. Work in Different Fields||6. Declining Demand|
|7. Can lead to other careers||7. Lots of Time in Front of a Computer Screen|
|8. Comfortable Working Conditions||8. Difficult to Advance|
|9. Utilize Your Natural Talents|
|10. Problem-Solving Can be Enjoyable|
|11. It's Rewarding|
Should You Be a Bookkeeper?
When asking yourself if you should be a bookkeeper, there are several things to consider.
Do you have the skills needed for bookkeeping?
Are you good with numbers and computer programs?
Do you have an analytical and detail-oriented nature?
You’ll make a good bookkeeper.
One of the advantages of being a bookkeeper is that a college degree isn’t required.
If you have the desire, you can easily learn the skills you need.
If you want a career with plenty of advancement opportunities, bookkeeping isn’t a great long-term career choice.
Bookkeeping positions will likely continue to decline, which also makes it a poor choice if you need a career that will see you through decades.
On the other hand, if you want to become a business owner, manager, or accountant, bookkeeping can be a great starting point while you are working on gaining the skills you need for your career of choice.