A Guide to Bookkeeping: Skills, Salaries, and Careers

bookkeeper or book keeper

After all, bookkeepers will help you survive an audit by making sure your financial records are in order and your deductions are legal. Plus, anyone who has tried to manage the income and expenses of their own business knows that bookkeepers deserve some serious respect. A bookkeeper is someone who prepares your accounts, documenting daily https://www.kelleysbookkeeping.com/financial-forecasting-vs-financial-modeling/ financial transactions. Bookkeepers have been around as far back as 2600 BC—when records were tracked with a stylus on slabs of clay—making bookkeeping not the oldest profession, but pretty darn close. If you pursued a postsecondary degree or certificate, you will likely have career center resources to help you find a bookkeeping job.

You don’t need any special training to be a bookkeeper—you don’t even need a bachelor’s degree. If all your mental powers have been focused on getting your business off the ground, you might not yet fully understand what a bookkeeper does. In this guide we break down the day-to-day role of a bookkeeper, and why a good one is worth holding onto. Though bookkeepers don’t need to hold college degrees, some may see their salaries increase after completing an undergraduate degree. Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.

Not only are you entrusting your bookkeeper with sensitive data, you are relying on their accuracy to maintain the financial records for your business. A good bookkeeper never cuts corners, and they are indispensable to small business owners who want to spend time growing their business, instead of maintaining it. If you opt for bookkeeping software—like Quickbooks—keep in mind the time commitment required to learn how to properly use the program. And at a certain point, your time is better spent building your business than navigating DIY tutorial videos. That said, bookkeeping is more than just dropping numbers into a spreadsheet—it takes meticulous analysis and just enough legal know-how.

Bookkeeper Responsibilities

Financial institutions, investors, and the government need accurate bookkeeping accounting to make better lending and investing decisions. Bookkeeping accuracy and reliability are essential for businesses to succeed for staff, executives, customers, and partners. Bookkeepers are important professionals in today’s economic and financial fields.

  1. Still, completing one or both of the licensing processes demonstrates that job applicants possess skills and competencies employers need.
  2. Most employers prefer hiring new bookkeepers who will learn from more senior professionals.
  3. Watch the videos to find out what a day in the life is like for our Intuit bookkeeping experts.
  4. The core function of a bookkeeper is to ensure that all bills are paid on time, transactions are recorded correctly, payroll runs on time and taxes are filed correctly.
  5. Specializing in a career field can help to set you apart and lead to career stability and longevity.
  6. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

While they seem similar at first glance, bookkeeping and accounting are two very different mediums. Bookkeeping serves as more of a preliminary function through the what happens if you missed the tax deadline straightforward recording and organizing of financial information. Accounting takes that information and expands on it through analyzing and interpreting the data.

Becoming an accountant usually requires more training and education than bookkeeping but can be a good next step in your financial career. A business must have bookkeeping processes and policies that keep company records up-to-date and accurate. For example, business owners must be diligent about keeping personal and business finances separate.

Why Is Bookkeeping Important?

After working in the field for at least a year, CPAs also need to take an exam. To meet the requirements for the CPA exam, some professionals enroll in master’s in accounting programs. Some aspiring professionals may pursue internships or practicums while pursuing postsecondary degrees or certificate programs. This experience will help individuals reach hourly certification minimums efficiently.

The system you choose to use doesn’t need to be complicated and the ledgers should be straightforward, especially if you have just a few or no employees. The most important parts of doing your own bookkeeping are staying organized and keeping track of the details. Accountants on the other hand, go through rigorous training and standardized exams to become certified public accountants.

bookkeeper or book keeper

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Learn about bookkeeping, typical responsibilities, how to become a bookkeeper, and remote bookkeeping opportunities with Intuit’s QuickBooks Live in the U.S. Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more. Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets. However, you want to at least include education, experience and licensing requirements in your job description. When first starting out, market yourself as a professional who is well-versed in managing accounts, reconciling transactions, providing financial overviews and balancing budgets.

Client-Facing Expert Bookkeeper (Remote/ Year Round)

If you’re interested in being a freelance virtual bookkeeper, you can sign up for freelance marketplace websites to connect with potential clients. Freelance jobs can range from quick temporary projects to long-term employment. However, they may be less likely to offer training or educational opportunities.

Bookkeeping tasks provide the records necessary to understand a business’s finances as well as recognize any monetary issues that may need to be addressed. Proper planning and scheduling is key since staying on top of records on a weekly or monthly basis will provide a clear overview of an organization’s financial health. While any competent employee can handle bookkeeping, accounting is typically handled by a licensed professional.

However, it helps to have a two- or four-year degree in accounting, finance or related discipline. Responsibilities for bookkeepers can vary widely from business to business, though there are a number of very common bookkeeping responsibilities. Remember that you want to tailor the role’s responsibilities in the job description so that it’s not just aligned with the position but with your company. Online bookkeeping services might be the exact solution you need to save both time and money. The service you decide to use depends on the needs of your business and may include extra features such as payroll or tax documents.

Most businesses use an electronic method for their bookkeeping, whether it’s a simple spreadsheet or more advanced, specialized software. Bookkeeping is a crucial function of accounting, and earning a bookkeeping certification is a great way to show employers your expertise. While a certificate is not a requirement to become a bookkeeper, some professionals pursue certification to show their skills to employers and stand out in their job search. Professionals who are not interested in leadership may also prefer bookkeeping jobs over accounting roles. Bookkeepers focus on day-to-day transactions and operations, whereas accountants are called on to provide financial advice and strategy recommendations. Still, completing one or both of the licensing processes demonstrates that job applicants possess skills and competencies employers need.

CPAs have similar job responsibilities to bookkeepers, but must also analyze data, suggest best practices, and make predictions. Employers also prefer to hire bookkeepers who have taken some postsecondary courses. So, some professionals may pursue certificate programs in bookkeeping as a degree alternative. QuickBooks Live connects bookkeepers with small businesses that need help doing their books.

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