How to Become a Bookkeeper

 In Business

Adults know how important it is to keep track of where their money goes. It’s equally important for a business to keep track of their flow of money, which is why they hire a bookkeeper.

What does a bookkeeper do?

A bookkeeper is responsible for keeping track of an organization’s accounts. They make sure that the money being paid out is equal to the amount of money that is being spent, effectively balancing the organization’s budget. This may involve the use of a general ledger or a master sheet of all of an organization’s credits (income) and debits (payments). Bookkeepers may need to verify receipts and invoices in order to record the financial transactions accurately.1

A bookkeeper can have other duties within the company that involve the budget. They might prepare financial reports for supervisors and managers, or be responsible for payroll in smaller companies.1 Each individual bookkeeper’s job is a little bit different depending on where they work. They make take on multiple tasks or specialize in only one area.

What is the Difference Between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper?

The main difference between an accountant and a bookkeeper is that bookkeeper’s are primarily responsible for recording data, whereas accountants also have to interpret that data and sometimes give advice to a supervisor or manager.2
Bookkeepers and accountants often work together. The bookkeeper will record all of the information so that the accountant can review and then analyze it.

How Much do Bookkeepers Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage of bookkeepers was $36,430 in May of 2014.  The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,480, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $56,470.1

How do I become a bookkeeper?

Most bookkeeping jobs require that you have a high school diploma, as well as post-secondary education in a business administrative field.
Helpful courses might include:

  • Small business management
  • Accounting
  • Business communication
  • Computer software and applications

Most colleges will often offer these courses as part of their business administration program, but there are degree programs that offer bookkeeping specifically.

It is becoming especially important that bookkeepers are comfortable using computer software to keep records. Most jobs will offer training in the preferred software or application; however, it helps to have some basic computer skills–like using a word processor or creating a spreadsheet. There may also be programs used internally by the business or organization that you will need to learn on the job

To be a successful bookkeeper you will need to have good interpersonal, organizational, and communication skills.1 Accuracy is extremely important when you’re maintaining the records for a business so you should have a good attention to detail to avoid making mistakes or taking longer on tasks because you’re checking, and double-checking the numbers

Please keep in mind employment and income cannot be guaranteed by any educational institution for students or graduates. Additionally, salary data cited in this article is based on median data provided by the United States Department of Labor, does not reflect starting or entry level salaries, and can vary widely based on geographic location.

1. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/bookkeeping-accounting-and-auditing-clerks.htm#tab-1
2. http://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/bookkeeping/whats-the-difference-between-a-bookkeeper-and-an-accountant

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