What Does It Take to Become a Bookkeeper….A bookkeeper is an accounting professional who maintains some or all of an organization’s financial information. Generally, the responsibilities of a bookkeeper vary based on how small or large the organization is. Most bookkeepers maintain a business’s general ledger, hence the job title.
A general ledger keeps track of debits and credits, overall revenue, assets, liability, expenses, as well as gains and losses. In a small organization, a bookkeeper may handle all accounting functions, including accounts payable and receivable. In a large organization, they may have very specific responsibilities related to the general ledger or other accounting function.
No matter how many responsibilities a bookkeeper handles, almost all employers require those interested in this occupation to understand the full scope of bookkeeping. The requirements to become a bookkeeper include some training or education. Many bookkeepers can be trained on-the-job, but the growing trend towards organization’s financial records being more transparent has led to employers seeking candidates with at least an associate’s degree in a discipline such as accounting or finance. Earning a degree to be a bookkeeper can also increase employment opportunities.
Training or education generally encompasses general education, management and accounting coursework. General education includes English composition, college-level mathematics and algebra. Management courses include business ethics, economics, marketing and organizational structure. Accounting and financial courses include different types of accounting, payroll, taxes and information systems. Higher degree programs cover other aspects of accounting and finance including reporting, research, statistics and advanced studies in accounting procedures and principles.
To be a bookkeeper also requires some personal attributes and interest in the field. Bookkeepers must have an aptitude for math, because the job requires doing calculations frequently. Strong computer skills are also important, because almost all organizations maintain their financial records and reports using accounting software.
Some employers require extensive knowledge using specific accounting software packages and other types of applications that incorporate a large amount of a business’s critical information using those applications. Because the job requires accuracy, strong attention to details is another attribute required for those interested in this occupation.
Bookkeepers can also earn credentials, such as certification from recognized organizations. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers and the National Bookkeepers Association both offer exams for bookkeepers. These types of organizations develop ethics and universal procedures for bookkeeping. Passing the exam results in earning certification, which can also increase employment opportunities.
A bookkeeper salary can vary greatly based on the type of employer and responsibilities of the job. Experienced bookkeepers generally earn higher wages. Some employers also reward those with a degree, by increasing their salary. In general, the average salary for bookkeepers was approximately $36,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Emily Blake runs an information portal for aspiring accountants and accounting professionals full time. Visit her site at How To Become An Accountant to find out more about becoming an accountant. If you are ready, search for careers in accounting now.
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