Introduction of Bookkeeper
Systematic, accurate, and validated daily transaction records assist corporations and other organisations in managing their finances efficiently and effectively. Bookkeepers, whether employed or hired, assist firms in maintaining their accounting ledgers, recording journal entries of money received and invoices paid, and preparing financial statements. They are supported by accounting software and cloud-based bookkeeping.
Similar Job Titles
- Bookkeeping Clerk
- Accounting Technician
- Administrative Support Personnel
- Office Personnel
- Number Cruncher
- Accounts Payable Clerk
- Accounts Receivable Clerk
- Payroll Clerk
Typical Job Responsibilities
What do Bookkeepers do?
A Bookkeeper would typically need to:
- Entities’ financial data is tracked and managed by establishing, maintaining, and monitoring financial records for their employers or clients, guaranteeing accuracy, attention to detail, and compliance with legislation and accounting standards.
- Work in an accounting department of a corporation or as part of an accounting firm’s team that maintains accounts receivable and payable, journals and general ledgers, and journals for several clients.
- Enter financial transactions, client payments, and invoices into electronic databases using bookkeeping software, spreadsheets, and other databases, and make period-end adjustments.
- Track debits and credits (incoming and leaving funds) for each account; balance accounts and manage budgets on a daily or monthly basis.
- Gather and summarise information to create reports that allow accountants to analyse data; construct financial reports and statements, such as balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements
- Draw checks and make bank deposits; compile, organise, and reconcile bank statements for the firm each month
- Detect, compute, report, and reconcile any discrepancies in corporate records and reports, as well as budget deviations; investigate and identify possible causes of errors or variances in expected vs actual balance amounts.
- As needed, perform administrative activities for the accounting team; make copies of all receipts and essential papers for reference; and file all appropriate documentation, including accounting records and financial statements.
- Maintain the petty cash fund and communicate with consumers, suppliers, and banks.
- Assist with or perform payroll computations, and ensure that employee payments are made on schedule.
- Calculate and record depreciation for bookkeeping and tax payments; report to internal or external supervising accountants in charge of tax filing
- Order or purchase company goods; calculate and record inventory costs; generate or pay credit card bills or purchase orders for inventory
- Work with accountants to manage VAT (value-added tax) returns as needed.
- Compile sales tax and worker’s compensation reports.
- Keep current with the most recent bookkeeping and accounting software, processes, and regulations.
Standard Work Environment
Bookkeepers are often office-based and work as part of a team inside the accounts department. They do most of their job while seated at a computer, using accounting software.
If you work for a Bookkeeping service provider and are engaged by many firms, or if you freelance and work for multiple firms, you will almost certainly need to visit your client’s offices. However, if you have access to a laptop or computer, you can work from home or other locations. You may need to commute in addition to visiting clients to visit banks or clients’ suppliers.
Bookkeeping is normally done at a steady pace, yet it is often repetitive and demands meticulous attention to detail and accuracy. Bookkeepers may operate alone, but they may also collaborate with accountants, managers, and auditing clerks from other departments as needed. Customer service abilities are required because you may be queried about your accounts by coworkers, clients, or customers.
Bookkeepers typically work 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., though the service industry may have a different work schedule. Furthermore, you may be required to work extra hours at the start of the fiscal year or to balance the books at the conclusion, to process month-end accounts, and to meet deadlines during tax season, peak business seasons, and annual accounting audits.
Bookkeepers may work part-time depending on the size of the firm if they are just required to pay invoices, reconcile income and deposits, and maintain bank statements, especially in small businesses. Full-time Bookkeepers are often required by larger businesses. There are additional alternatives for freelancing, work sharing, and temporary and short-term contracts.
Some businesses may provide flexible scheduling. According to research, the younger generation values flexible hours and favourable telework regulations more than money. Employers are more prepared to give talented employees the opportunity to adapt their schedules to meet employment needs.
Although bookkeepers are needed in a variety of businesses, obtaining new employment might be difficult. Asking your network for referrals, contacting firms directly, using job search sites, attending job fairs, leveraging social media, and inquiring at staffing agencies can all help your job hunt.
Bookkeepers are generally employed by:
- Small to Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)
- Manufacturing & Engineering Firms
- Retail Companies
- Service Providers
- Law Firms
- Architectural & Construction Firms
- Public Utilities
- Public Health, Education & Social Service Agencies
- Health Authorities
- Healthcare Facilities
- Transportation Companies
- Educational Institutions
- Accounting/Tax Services/Bookkeeping/Payroll Services Providers
- Banks & Insurance Companies
- Building Societies
- Charities & Non-Government Organisations
- Media & Entertainment Companies
- Hotels & Resorts
Unions / Professional Organizations
Professional organisations and associations, such as the Institute of Accountants and Bookkeepers (IAB) or the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB), are essential for Bookkeepers who want to further their professional development or connect with other professionals in their industry or occupation.
Professional groups offer their members a variety of continuing education, networking, and mentorship possibilities. Membership in one or more of these organisations adds value to your CV while strengthening your credentials and qualifications.
- The pressures of self-employment, which is an option growing in popularity but can lead to a lack of job stability, holiday pay and a structured pension plan
- The constant need to pay attention to detail and be thorough and accurate; the fear of making any error as it can impact the account balance
- Ensuring cybersecurity by defending business data from hacking as well as that of employees, clients, service providers and other stakeholders
- The risk of being replaced by automation for routine tasks and by AI systems because of their increasing capacity to handle complicated accounting tasks
- Keeping current with legislative changes, such as those to do with taxation
Suggested Work Experience
Any academic programme in which a future Bookkeeper enrols often involves supervised experience, such as an internship. Apprenticeships are another way to gain work experience while also earning and learning. Bookkeepers will benefit from extracurricular activities that complement classroom lessons. Many anecdotes can be heard and significant hands-on experience can be gained from more experienced individuals who can turn seemingly ordinary occurrences into unique learning opportunities.
You can gain bookkeeping expertise by volunteering as the treasurer of a university society. Summer internships, part-time entry-level work, or short-term paid/volunteer work in local companies or accounting firms provide a taste of business finance, provide valuable insight into how a company or institution operates, allow one to observe financial professionals, help build useful contacts, and improve one’s chances of getting a permanent job. Internships can help you learn crucial skills, such as how to use accounting software and other workplace tools and procedures.
The experience may also aid in determining if the public, private, or voluntary sectors are most suited to achieving one’s goals. The career services department at your educational provider can provide information on feasible job placements, internships, and volunteer opportunities in a variety of industries. Internships can also be found online or through a personal network.
Direct applications to corporations or accounting firms may result in entry-level jobs with on-the-job training to help you obtain work experience and advance in your area.
You may also advance to the position of Bookkeeper if you have previously worked in the same company in an administrative role or as an accounting clerk or assistant, in which case you are familiar with the administrative or accounting department operations and have already established a rapport with your administrative or accounting team.
Keep in mind that, in addition to meeting other requirements, work experience may be required to obtain specific certifications and credentials, such as MAAT (which represents full membership in AAT or the Association of Accounting Technicians and the right to use the designatory letters after your name).
Even if you are still in high school, you can ask a teacher or a counsellor about appropriate job-based learning opportunities in your school or community that can help you connect your educational experiences with real-life work.
Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with a worthwhile organisation to have fun while learning about yourself and being guided towards a future job.
To demonstrate your devotion to course providers and future employers, read about the profession and interview or job shadow professionals in bookkeeping.
Although the educational qualifications of a Bookkeeper’s work vary depending on the scope of the job and the size and type of the firm, a high school diploma or equivalent is usually sufficient to secure entry-level jobs and learn the ropes through on-the-job training. Use your classroom time to learn the fundamentals of maths, writing, information technology, and communication. You can also do self-directed learning by reading books, attending seminars, or taking online or in-person tutorials or courses in bookkeeping, payroll administration, practical finance, or software accounting.
Some firms may register you in internship or placement programmes, which provide practical training and may lead to a permanent career or the opportunity to freelance.
Given the increasing usage of electronic computers, certain employers may require candidates to have relevant experience, training, or post-secondary credentials in manual and computerised bookkeeping, accounting, or ICT. Employers additionally respect individuals who have completed college coursework in financial mathematics, computer systems, economics, business law, accounting software, managerial accounting, or auditing because it equips aspiring Bookkeepers with the necessary skills and knowledge to succeed. Receipts, purchase orders, bank and financial records, invoices, and credit and sales slips are examples of commercial paperwork that candidates must comprehend.
A community college, junior college, online university, or certain four-year institutions may also provide an associate degree to aspiring bookkeepers. Alternatively, depending on where you live, you could pursue a professional diploma in accounting, such as the one offered by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). These credentials provide you with a competitive advantage in the job market and allow you to transfer into a bachelor’s programme. Apprenticeships are another option to break into the bookkeeping industry.
A bachelor’s degree in accounting (usually encompassing auditing, public accounting, and cost accounting) or business administration expands your knowledge beyond bookkeeping and can help you advance in your profession.
Take high school maths, accounting, finance, business studies, economics or ICT classes to prepare for a college degree or other post-secondary certifications, or to work as an entry-level Bookkeeper.
It is important to remember that completion of a certain academic programme does not ensure admittance into the profession. Professional qualifications and transferrable skills, on the other hand, may open more than one door.
Before enrolling in a specific programme, do your homework and investigate all available possibilities for education and career. Associations and employers in your field are reliable sources that can help you make an informed selection.
Certifications, Licenses and Registration
Although neither licencing nor certification is required for Bookkeepers, unlike other accounting professionals, certification may be a beneficial tool, particularly for those without a college education. It assists you with gaining the necessary knowledge and demonstrating your proficiency in the applicable skill set.
Most bookkeeping certificates reflect the professional abilities and knowledge required to perform normal bookkeeping duties such as payroll management and account balance in accordance with accounting standards and regulations. Work experience, training, and passing an examination are typically required to be certified by professional bodies. Bookkeeping, payroll administration, and accounting software, such as QuickBooks, are common certification areas.
Certification, when obtained from a reputable and objective organisation, can also help you land high-end clients as a freelancer or stand out in a competitive job market, carry a significant salary premium of up to 18%, increase your chances of advancement, and become an independent consultant. A Code of Ethics is also included in successful certification programmes to preserve public welfare.
Accounting credentials offered by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) credentials provided by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) are two optional qualifications that are accepted globally.
To keep their designations, bookkeepers must complete the needed continuing education each year.
Projected Career Map
Career advancement is driven by performance, experience, and the acquisition of professional certifications. Employees who consistently deliver above-average results may be eligible for advancement every two to three years.
Bookkeepers in smaller firms can advance their careers by taking on more duties, such as reporting on business performance to senior management and advising strategies to increase company earnings and profits.
Bookkeepers in larger organisations may ascend to higher roles within the same enterprise with experience, further educational degrees, and credentials, such as Senior Bookkeeper, Finance Officer, Tax Analyst, Payroll Manager, and Accounting Manager. Bookkeepers with exceptional abilities, expertise, higher academic qualifications and certifications, drive, and experience may advance to positions such as Internal Auditors, Directors of Finance, Financial Controllers, or Chief Financial Officers (CFO).
Motivated Bookkeepers with entrepreneurial talents, appropriate experience, and a good network can advance their careers by founding their own bookkeeping or accounting services firm or freelancing. You can work with a wide range of clients and set your own hours and fees once you’ve established your reputation as a business owner or freelancer.
A growing number of millennials are opting to job hop and build a scattershot resume that demonstrates ambition, enthusiasm, and a willingness to master a wide range of skills in order to expedite their career progress and personal development.
Studies show that job hopping, which was formerly considered a “flaky” activity, might lead to increased work satisfaction. Employees looking for a healthy culture and fascinating work are eager to try out different roles and settings while learning vital, transferrable skills.
Candidates with the appropriate mathematical skills, attention to detail, bookkeeping expertise, accounting software training, and formal qualifications in accounting or a similar profession backed up by applicable credentials have the best job prospects.
Beneficial Professional Development
Continuing professional development (CPD) will assist an active Bookkeeper in developing personal skills and proficiency through work-based learning, professional activity, and formal education.
Whether traditional schooling or self-directed learning is used. It enables you to always improve your skills regardless of your age, career, or degree of expertise.
Most entry-level Bookkeepers receive on-the-job training that can last up to six months, especially if they are self-taught and have no formal educational qualifications or training. Employers may also offer classroom instruction in company-specific software, systems, and procedures. Through CPD, several companies support employees in updating and improving their skills and knowledge. Employer help might include paying for college expenses as well as offering study leave or a day off to attend a course.
If you want to study for the globally recognised AAT accounting qualifications, you can do so in a variety of ways, including full-time or part-time programmes at colleges or training institutes, apprenticeship programmes, or distance learning.
Acquiring advanced credentials, such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Accountant (CA) or a Master of Business Administration (MBA), will help you advance in your job. Professional accounting groups provide individuals seeking advanced qualifications with fast-track pathways and exemptions if they hold fundamental accounting credentials, such as those granted by the AAT.
Bookkeepers may stay competitive by learning new accounting software to automate regular work and honing data analysis skills. If they freelance or own a business, they must also learn how to market their products and services on social media.
To retain or renew a certification, you must typically complete the required CPD or continuing education (CE), which helps Bookkeepers stay current with the newest technological tools, accounting methods, or legislation changes. Reading relevant papers, attending conferences and workshops, watching webinars, and delivering training are all examples of CPD. Record your CPD activities to submit to your professional association, often using a template given.
Find online and offline networking possibilities with professionals who can guide you to new prospects, advise you on career advancement, and assist you in growing your name, as well as mentor you.
All of the activities that Bookkeepers conduct, whether manually or electronically, add up to enable various organisations, whether huge corporations, small businesses, or nonprofits, to stay financially disciplined, healthy, and stable. Consistent, accurate, and systematic documenting of transactions, report generation, and other bookkeeping tasks enables performance analysis, as well as transparency and moral uprightness in the handling of cash.
Advice from the Wise
Develop your mathematics abilities from an early age. Take bookkeeping and accounting classes and, if possible, obtain professional certificates to boost your CV. When presenting your work to colleagues or clients, utilise terminology they understand rather than bookkeeping and accounting jargon. When making any choice or taking any action, always act with honesty and trustworthiness, and encourage openness and collaboration in your relationships with stakeholders.
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