Bookkeepers are highly-organized and detailed. They put these skills as well as number-crunching skills to good use to keep track of a company’s finances. In this profession, your primary task is to maintain a company’s general ledger by recording all transactions made.
In a typical day, you will find yourself receiving invoices from suppliers and vendors and comparing these with the purchase orders made by the different departments to make sure that the right amount is paid to them. You will also be sending out invoices on a regular basis to your company’s customers so that they will be reminded to pay. If there are clients that have past due accounts, you will also be responsible for getting in touch with them and making arrangements with them regarding payment.
Many firms delegate the task of preparing payroll to bookkeepers. Thus, you will be responsible for collecting time cards of all employees so you will be able to record the hours and days worked and prepare their paychecks. You will also be keeping track of the pay of salaried workers and make sure that the figures are accurate. If there are employees who need to be paid commission, you will be getting hold of sales reports to make sure that they are given what is due them. You will also be responsible for giving reimbursements to employees who may have first used their personal funds to do company-related work such as traveling or taking out clients to dinner.
If the company you are working for is small, you will also be given the task of preparing its tax reports. This is usually done on a monthly and quarterly basis. You will also be responsible for depositing and withdrawing money from the bank as well as sending out wire transfers if necessary.
To aid you in doing your work, you will have to be familiar with accounting software such as spreadsheets and databases. You will have to be comfortable entering and reviewing figures and other financial information in these systems each day. You also need to be very good at math since you’ll be adding up and subtracting figures on a daily basis. Even if computers and calculators are able to automatically perform these calculations, your math skills are going to be necessary if you need to do things manually.
The ability to do quick mental computations will enable you to immediately spot if something is amiss in your records or if the computer software is malfunctioning. Since you will be dealing with numerous financial records and beating different deadliness, you also need to be highly-organized. Finally, you need to possess integrity and not be tempted to funnel the company’s money to your own account.
Why Become A Bookkeeper
A career as a bookkeeper would be an excellent choice for those who are very comfortable working for long hours with numbers, keeping financial records and balancing accounts. Although more and more firms are requiring applicants to have postsecondary education, bookkeeping is an occupation that can be entered into with just a high school diploma since training is typically done on the job.
On the practical side, a bookkeeping career is also one of the more promising jobs to train for since government data has projected a rosy employment outlook for occupation in the next several years. It also gives decent living wages, with the chance for employees to get promoted to higher positions, especially if they have years of experience and work towards obtaining their accounting degree.
Bookkeeper Work Environment
Bookkeepers work for most businesses, large and small. The top companies which engaged their services belong to the professional, scientific and technical services industries which include firms providing accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and related services. They may also work with companies engaged in retail or wholesale trading, healthcare and social assistance firms and finance and insurance firms.
Most bookkeepers work fulltime although there are those who also work part-time. If the bookkeeper is handling the accounts of various firms, he may have to travel to the company’s location to do the job. They usually work regular hours but may be required to put in overtime at certain times of the year, such as during accounting audits or tax season. They often do work alone, although they will be collaborating with accountants or members of other departments to get records especially if they are part of large organizations.
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wages of bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks is $37,250. This is one of the higher-paying positions among financial clerks. Bookkeepers receive higher pay than bill and account collectors ($34,650), billing and posting clerks ($34,940) and tellers ($26,260). However, payroll and timekeeping clerks and procurement clerks are paid higher at $39,850 and $38,840, respectively. Bookkeepers working in the professional, scientific and technical services industries are among the highest paid.
Bookkeeper Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the career outlook for bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks is quite good for the next few years. The employment rate for these occupations is set to grow 11 percent for the decade covering 2012 to 2022 which is similar to the national average of all job types. An estimated 204,600 workers will be added to their roster in this span of time resulting to 2,004,500 bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks in 2022.
The demand will come from the increase in the number of new companies that will be doing business as well as stricter policies from government regulators which will require firms to hire bookkeepers to maintain their financial records.
The entry point for this profession is a high school diploma since newly-hired workers are given training on the job. Under the supervision of more experienced bookkeepers or accountants, new employees are trained for about six months so they can do various tasks. They are also taught how to use the accounting software used by the company if they don’t know it yet but they need to already possess basic computer knowledge beforehand. However, more employers are hiring those who have taken postsecondary accounting courses so enrolling in these programs will also help increase one’s chances of getting hired.
Certification also enhances a bookkeeper’s credentials and signifies professionalism on the job. Those who have been working as bookkeepers for two years may be eligible to obtain the Certified Bookkeeper designation offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers by passing the exams and other requirements.