Career Guide – Bookkeeper

Career Guide – Bookkeeper

Career Guide – Bookkeeper

The bookkeeper is often at the heart of the accounting department or of a business.  They are the people responsible for monitoring the day to day finances of a company or can work as a freelancer to offer their services to anyone who needs them.  But what does it take to become a bookkeeper?

The role of the bookkeeper

Career Guide – Bookkeeper

Every business is required by law to keep records of their financial transactions, often referred to as ‘keeping the books’ and the role of the bookkeeper is the person who is dedicated to this task.  Their role is principally around collecting and recording the transactions that the business is involved with, both incoming and outgoing.  This is usually done with sales and purchase receipts as well as other records of transactions such as bank transfers or online payment methods.

As well as creating a picture of what the business has spent and received at any time, the role of the bookkeeper may involve raising and processes invoices and processing payroll for staff.  They may be asked to manager ledgers such as petty cash and ensure all the ‘books’ balance.  They may also be responsible for estimating revenue and expenditure as well as calculating profit and loss.  You may also be in charge of completing VAT returns if the business is VAT registered.

Skill and qualifications

Career Guide – Bookkeeper

Bookkeepers are an example of accountant jobs where you can often start with little more than a good general education, without the need for specific accountant qualifications.  There are often starter roles available under apprenticeship schemes and for on the job training.  If you have an A Level qualification in subjects such as maths, economics or business studies, this will also help in getting started in this kind of accountant careers.  There are also specialist qualifications you can take including through the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers or the AAT.

In terms of skills useful for a bookkeeper, you need to have an organised and methodical approach to the tasks that you are responsible for and a strong attention to detail helps with the role.  You need to be computer literate as almost all bookkeeping is done on a computer system and you will often need to computerise physical records such as petty cash.  Good communication skills will also help with the role.

Career progression

Career Guide – Bookkeeper

The role of the bookkeeper is also a great one to use to move onto different accountant careers.  For example, becoming a full accountant is a logical career step and then even into accounting management roles.  You can also move into having your own accountancy firm or offer freelance services.  Bookkeeper roles start from a salary of around £17,000-19,000 depending on experience and area of the country, moving up to £25,000 for highly experienced, time served bookkeepers.

Conclusion

As with many accountancy jobs, being a bookkeeper is as much about attention to detail as the numbers – recognising information required, compiling reports and ensuring accuracy of transactions.  It is usually an office based job that may require a little travelling around different sites within the company and is generally an office hours’ job.

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