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How to Become a Bookkeeper

If you have an interest in accounting and financial transactions, a career as a bookkeeper might be the right fit for your future. Bookkeepers handle most of the financial and payroll information in a company. To excel as a bookkeeper, you should have excellent written and verbal communication skills, attention to detail, and experience with accounting software such as Xero, Quickbooks, or MYOB. You should also have intermediate to advanced math skills and know local and federal tax laws.

Bookkeepers have a wide variety of functions, including handling balance sheet transactions, paying bills, collecting debts, running payroll, and submitting all government forms, sales tax payments, and payroll deductions. Bookkeepers also prepare financial reports for organizations, so they need to have a good eye for numbers and a good understanding of financial statements.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is looking for a part-time bookkeeper to join our team. The bookkeeper will be required to be knowledgeable of accounting software. The bookkeeper will be responsible for keeping track of and recording financial records and company financial data. The ideal candidate will be knowledge and information-oriented, with a deep understanding of tax measures as well as a good ability to pick up company policy. If you are hired, you will be required to report to the CFO of the company with any accounting errors or issues, and keep track of payroll data. If this position sounds like it could be for you, don’t hesitate to apply. We are an easy-going team and are looking forward to adding a new member.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Record day-to-day financial transactions and complete the posting process
  • Bring the books to the trial balance stage
  • Verify that transactions are recorded in the correct daybook, supplier’s ledger, customer ledger, and general ledger
  • Perform partial checks of the posting process
  • Complete tax forms
  • Enter data, maintain records, and launch reports and financial statements
  • Monitor office expenses and tally and enter cash receipts
  • Coordinate bank deposits and report financial results regularly to management

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Solid understanding of basic bookkeeping and accounting payable and receivable principles
  • A high degree of accuracy and attention to detail
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office
  • Hands-on experience with spreadsheets and proprietary software
  • Proven ability to calculate, post, and manage accounting figures and financial records
  • Extensive experience with data entry, record keeping, and computer operation

Preferred qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting
  • 2+ years of accounting experience
  • Accounting certificates preferred
  • Organized and detail oriented
  • Experience with QuickBooks

Typical work environment

A bookkeeper is responsible for managing, recording, and editing all company bookings. This means the bookkeeper should be responsible for keeping track of and recording records, financial data, and payroll data. It is crucial that the bookkeeper have knowledge of commonly-used accounting software and techniques, as this position uses these heavily. This position will likely be in an office location. Having the ability to meet deadlines and an eye for data is important in this role, as well as an understanding and knowledge of common tax rules and regulations. Due to the fact that this position is usually in an office environment, candidates will have to have a good understanding of computers, software in general, and the ability to sit for long periods of time.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a Bookkeeper can be from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday in an office setting. However, longer or different hours can be necessary. For example, overtime hours may be required at certain times of the year, like the end of a company’s budget year or during tax season.

Available certifications

A bookkeeper can benefit massively from having a certificate or multiple certificates that relate to the position. Some of these certificates are:

  • Uniform Certified Public Bookkeeper Examination (UCPBA). The Uniform Certified Public Bookkeeper Examination is a test created in order to ensure the quality and knowledge of bookkeepers. This certification is widely recognized and can be a fantastic and reasonably easy certificate to get. The certificate is developed and presented by The National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers, which makes it a legitimate and common certification.
  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA). A certified public accountant is required to take an exam specific to the state in which they wish to practice in. This certification is fantastic for any official or employee looking to go into the accounting field. The exam ensures the basics of knowledge in the accounting field, as well as the public accounting field specifically, is maintained and the employee is competent when issued a license.

Career path

The career path for a bookkeeper starts with obtaining a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field. Also, bookkeepers can seek to further their career through certification with the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 43-3031

2020 Employment1,620,000
Projected Employment in 20301,571,900
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 3% decrease
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift48,100 decrease

Demand for bookkeepers, accountants, and auditors should likely increase as global business grows, as with that growth comes more scrutiny and more need to keep track of finances and expenses.