The Day-to-Day as a Bookkeeper
Bookkeepers are primarily responsible for the financial records of businesses or organizations. They also check bank statements, balance accounts, send and receive checks, and collect business activity data. They’ll likely work on their own but sometimes on a small team with an Accountant and Administrative Assistant.
Bookkeepers can specialize in specific types of businesses, nonprofits, government offices, or industries. They can find work onsite, in-person, freelance, or even on a contract basis. Their day-to-day tasks might include analyzing expenditure data, accounts payable, receipts, and accounts receivable; preparing profit and loss sheets; keeping track of overdue bills; and giving business owners a monthly snapshot of their business’ finances.
What Skills Should Bookkeepers Have?
Book-keepers must be detail-oriented and organized. They should be good at quick data entry while maintaining a high level of accuracy. Bookkeepers are often communicating with other employees in the company, so they should have good written communication skills for emails as well as verbal skills for meetings. A good Bookkeeper always stays up-to-date with industry changes.
Bookkeepers should have an understanding of accounting jargon and have some drive to keep educating themselves and getting certifications to move into higher-level, big picture positions. Bookkeepers should be accustomed to using accounting platforms like QuickBooks, Spreadsheets, Deltek Costpoint, Accounting Suites, and databases. As a Bookkeeper, you’ll be using basic math on a daily basis.
Learn the Skills You Need to Become a Bookkeeper
Bookkeeping is the act of recording the financial affairs of a business. This includes purchases, sales, receipts, and payments. The most popular bookkeeping tool is Intuit's Quickbooks
Quickbooks is an accounting software developed by intuit. Quickbooks is primarily used by small and medium-sized businesses to pay bills, execute payroll functions, and accept business payments.
Accounting involves processing, measuring, and communicating financial information about businesses. Accounting often uses software like QuickBooks, Excel, and other office communication tools.
A Bookkeeper in the United States makes, on average, $36,891 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Bookkeepers vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Bookkeeper salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
Typical Qualifications to Become a Bookkeeper
Most employers prefer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in accounting for Bookkeeper positions. Bookkeeper certifications require studying and exams and can work as a substitute for a two- or four-year degree.
Searching for Bookkeeper Jobs
Bookkeepers might be hired for corporations, schools, all businesses, a government office, or individuals. Bookkeepers can work on a team with accountants, freelance, contract, or in-house. The opportunities for this position are nearly endless! From working remotely with multiple clients to working in an office for one large company, you’re almost certain to find a place that works for you.
You can find Bookkeeping jobs on these sites:
- Accounting Job Board
- Google Jobs
- Accounting Jobs Today
- Accounting Crossing
- Accounting Fly
- iHire Accounting
You can find Freelance Bookkeeper positions on these sites:
Tips for Bookkeepers
LinkedIn has never been as important as it is right now. Making connections with the accountants, founders, and owners of the businesses you’re interested in working at will build your network and get you some name recognition during the application process. It doesn’t hurt to network virtually in these modern times. Finding a mentor, role model, or meetup group can also be instrumental in getting a job like this. If you’re looking to freelance or work on a contract basis, networking is even more important. The best clients are usually referral clients which typically come to you from people you’ve networked with or worked for. Plus, once you’ve landed your first client, it gets easier and easier to get your next client.
If you can find ways to practice what you’ll say in an interview or how to nail sales calls if you’ll be freelance or contract, you’ll likely find better success. Try out practice interview questions with a friend, family member, or online mock-interview service. Know the accounting jargon and how to use it, be able to explain the processes and tasks you’ll do as a bookkeeper, and have an example of a report or account summary that you can explain to the interviewer to simulate a monthly report meeting. Interviewers will be looking for someone who is reliable, is passionate about business growth, and can explain the books in a way they can understand.
It also helps to understand what services businesses of each size will benefit from the most. For example, small businesses are usually on a budget and can get much of their work done with bookkeeping software. In meetings with small companies, be prepared to state your value and show the owner where you can fill in the gaps they’re finding using only software or someone with limited expertise. Larger companies will likely be hiring you to work alongside an accountant. In those scenarios, it helps to practice how you’ll explain how you’ll do work within their team.
You might not be an Accountant yet, but you should still use job boards for Accountants. You’ll save time by visiting accounting-specific job boards because you won’t have to scroll through many unrelated jobs. You’ll find plenty of bookkeeping positions on these more targeted job board sites. Most of the accounting-specific job boards also have remote positions listed, so don’t write them off until you’ve tried them!
What Job Titles Would a Bookkeeper Hold?
Bookkeepers will find relatively simple job titles unless they choose to specialize in specific types of accounting like non-profits, forensics and valuation, personal finance, or government. Bookkeepers don’t necessarily need a degree or certification, but they’ll find more opportunities once they get certifications or upskill to the Accountant level. In the meantime, Bookkeepers can look for job titles like:
- Accounting Clerk
- Accounting Secretary
- Administrative Specialist
- Finance Clerk
- Accounting Assistant
Bookkeepers can keep moving up the ladder by upskilling into an Accountant, Certified Public Accountant, or Financial Accountant role. These positions move beyond the transactional and maintenance tasks of Bookkeepers and into financial insights based on the data collected by bookkeepers. Accountants take bookkeeping one step further by performing audits, preparing taxes, and providing forecasts to the business owner. They educate the business owner to help them understand how their financial decisions could impact their business. Accounting positions can be secured by learning more “big picture” data analysis, financial forecasting, and tax skills. You’ll also need to get different certifications to move into an Accounting role. Eventually, it is even possible to work up to a Chief Financial Officer position with the right education, experience, and certifications.
Salary Comparison to Bookkeeper
An Accountant handles bookkeeping and the preparation of financial documents for a company.
Certified Public Accountant
A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is responsible for maintaining, analyzing, and preparing financial records and accounts for organizations and individuals. They have met strict educational, testing, and on-the-job requirements, and gained certification to do certain tasks that Accountants have not.
A Financial Accountant is responsible for recording and reporting the business operations transactions over a period of time.