A bookkeeper keeps track of the financial records for companies. They maintain records through financial software or database programs. Bookkeepers at small companies will be responsible for tasks ranging in importance, whereas, at a larger company, bookkeepers will work in specialized fields. Use this article as a guide to learn all about a bookkeeper job description. The responsibilities, essential skills, education, experience, salary, and job outlook for these professionals are detailed in their respective sections.
What Do Bookkeepers Do?
Bookkeepers can work for a company, large or small, and they can also work for themselves. A bookkeeper job description will vary depending on where they work. Bookkeepers who work in small companies will likely be responsible for the majority of financial record keeping. Those who work for large firms are also known as account clerks and will work under the supervision of a senior bookkeeper. Those who own their own business will complete bookkeeping for various companies and also market their business.
These professionals are more appealing to employers when they have some accounting courses but education beyond high school is not required. Many bookkeepers learn on the job. The median salary varies based on the field but is around $36,000 dollars.
Bookkeeper Job Description for Resume – Responsibilities
The lack of degree requirements and the variety of places where these professionals work make it very important for bookkeepers to be able to explicitly state their responsibilities.
Bookkeeper Required Skills
- Use bookkeeping software and databases to keep organized records.
- Complete invoices and payroll requests.
- Look at generated reports for accuracy and possible mistakes.
- Inform the business of their cash income and spending patterns.
- Know which computer software to use to enter transactions.
- Accurately enter costs and income into a database or computer software.
- Communicate effectively with their financial team and the larger business to report on the financial health of the company.
Concentration skills. Entering financial information into software programs can be a tedious task requiring the ability to pay attention for extended periods of time. Bookkeepers need to stay focused at one thing for a long time.
Problem-solving skills. Errors in financial reporting are the responsibility of the bookkeepers or account clerks. If a discrepancy arises, bookkeepers need to be able to retrieve financial information to analyze where the error occurred.
Ethical skills. Any task that involves working with money runs the risk of violations such as taking money or not reporting accurate information. Bookkeepers need to be trustworthy and have high standards so that they do not enter costs and income incorrectly.
Organizational skills. By the nature of their jobs bookkeepers need to be extremely organized. They need to be prepared to handle many different sources of money at one time and manage multiple portfolios. Staying organized is essential to minimizing errors in accounting for money.
How to Become a Bookkeeper
Bookkeepers do not need formal education beyond high school. Employers prefer to train these professionals on the job. This ensures that they can complete the tasks the company needs them to complete. Bookkeepers can take certain business classes to continue their learning and improve their chance for advancement. They are needed in every industry and many applicants are successful in sending applications in even if there are no openings. After two years of experience, bookkeepers can receive their Certified Bookkeeper label upon passing of four exams. This gives companies comfort in knowing they are hiring someone who can complete all necessary tasks.
Education & Training Requirements
Bookkeeping is an industry where an advanced education is not a requirement, and also may not lead to a better position. Since bookkeepers work in every industry, it would be impossible for an education to prepare them for all of these fields. Rather, companies prefer to train bookkeepers on the job. If someone is interested in advanced courses to prepare them for the position, they should take accounting and business courses.
Their on-the-job training involves training under a more experienced employee and having that employee check their work. They also need to know how to work a computer and accounting software such as Microsoft Quickbooks. These skills can be learned through asynchronous programs such as Lynda.com.
The certification for bookkeepers is offered through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. This designation implies that the bookkeeper has achieved an expert level of knowledge through two years of full-time work, passing of a four-part exam, and stating that they will adhere to a code of ethics. Bookkeepers who wish to advance to supervising positions or to auditors will need to take additional coursework.
Bookkeepers do not need any prior work experience. However, they can expect to be hired into a ‘training’ period until they have acquired the skills to work by themselves. Bookkeepers who want to earn their certified bookkeeping credential need to have two years of experience. To advance into supervisory positions, this designation is preferred.
Bookkeepers who can show they have computer expertise, either through demonstration of their skills or verification of training taken will be more appealing to employers as they will not need to be trained in these skills as much as someone who does not have this experience.
Bookkeepers’ schedules will vary depending on where they work, if they do freelance work, and if they prefer a full or part-time position. 25 percent of bookkeepers will work part-time. Since every business needs bookkeepers, the industries in which they work vary widely. The top three industries for bookkeepers are professional services, retail trade, and wholesale trade. This variation makes a bookkeeper job description general. People interested in bookkeeping in certain fields should investigate those particular fields.
As the bookkeeper job description outlines, the normal hours for bookkeepers are normal business hours. However, virtual and freelance bookkeepers have significant flexibility in when they get their work done. Bookkeepers will be expected to work extra hours during busy parts of the year. This is typically at the end of the month and during tax season. However, extra busy hours are industry specific. For example, bookkeepers who work for travel agencies will be busier in the summer and around the holidays.
Bookkeeping is an industry that is expected to be impacted by advancements in technology. There will be a decline of 8% by the year 2024. Many businesses no longer need a full-time bookkeeper. They will decrease their labor costs when possible, and hire bookkeepers on an as-needed basis. However, even though there is a decrease in growth, bookkeepers should still be able to find jobs as other workers move to different fields.
Bookkeeping is appealing from a work-life balance because it does not require a significant investment in education. It is also flexible in the nature of work. You can have the security of working for a company or the flexibility of freelancing. Bookkeepers in professional services can expect a salary of $38,910 dollars while those in retail will earn $32,830. Benefits are not common for bookkeepers. 45 percent reported medical benefits, 26 percent reported dental benefits, and 17 percent reported vision benefits.
As can be seen from this bookkeeper job description, bookkeepers have traditionally been viewed as essential to businesses. While the tasks of bookkeeping are still essential, there are technologies that can now complete some of these tasks. Bookkeepers in the future should expect continued changes to their position and the expectation that they will expand their skills to serve company needs.