How to become a bookkeeper

What is a bookkeeper?

A bookkeeper is hired by a businesses or person to keep an accurate record of all of their financial transactions. Bookkeepers are expected to work accurately and efficiently, and to be knowledgeable about all areas of finance, including: accounts receivable, accounts payable, debits, credits and bank reconciliations. The amount of responsibility and the level of difficulty involved in the role will depend on the size and structure of the organisation for whom the bookkeeper is working.

What are the responsibilities of a bookkeeper?

A bookkeeper will typically do the following:

  • Use bookkeeping software as well as online spreadsheets and databases
  • Enter (post) financial transactions into the appropriate computer software
  • Receive and record cash, checks, and vouchers
  • Enter amounts into the software, assigning each entry to an appropriate account
  • Produce balance sheets (costs compared to income) and income statements
  • Check figures, postings, and reports for accuracy
  • Reconcile or note and report any differences they find in the records

Accounting bookkeepers typically work for larger companies and have more specialized tasks. Their titles, such as accounts payable clerk, or accounts receivable clerk, often reflect the type of accounting they do. Often, their responsibilities vary by level of experience.

Entry-level bookkeepers may post details of transactions (including date, type, and amount), add up accounts, and determine interest charges. They also may monitor loans and accounts to ensure that payments are up to date, and note errors for accountants.

How to become a bookkeeper

Anyone can train to become a bookkeeper, at any point in their life. You do not need to have a college or university education, and you don’t need to have loved maths at school. However, you must have at least basic numerical skills to get started. In order to become a bookkeeper, you will need to take a certain amount of training. This could be on the job, via a bookkeeping qualification such as IAB, ICB or AAT. Most businesses will expect a certain level of knowledge and skill, and therefore you must demonstrate a willingness to learn. If you lack knowledge in any crucial areas, then your employer will expect you to learn and improve quickly.

Qualifications you'll need

There are a few different qualifications you will need in order to become a qualified bookkeeper. Choosing an awarding board will depend on which type of bookkeeping you want to go down.

There are many different qualifications you can achieve including AAT, ICB and IAB.

If you have no previous experience or knowledge a level 2 bookkeeping course provides the perfect foundation to build upon.

Required skills and qualities of a bookkeeper

Bookkeepers have certain qualities you will need to show and demonstrate. Employers will often look for these qualities within an application or interview.

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Adept at new technologies and bookkeeping software
  • Strong organisation
  • Adaptable and flexible to different working styles
  • Logical thinker
  • Trusting and honest

Bookkeeper salary

The salary of a bookkeeper will vary on the level of the role and the qualifications you will have behind you.

The average salary of a bookkeeper can start at £25,000 at entry level.

This can then rise to £28,000 after years of experience and with dedication, experience and training can rise up to £35,000.

One of the many benefits of enroling as a student with us is that we will help you even after your studies are finished. We work with a recruitment specialist who can help you secure a position in your dream career. Contact us to find out more.

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