What Does A Bookkeeper Do?

Bookkeeping clerks, popularly known as bookkeepers, perform various tasks related to the recording and maintenance of a company’s financial records. Unlike accountants who have to finish a bachelor’s degree in accounting, many bookkeepers enter the profession with only a high school diploma or with some postsecondary accounting courses under their belt. This is because a bookkeeper is only responsible for the record-keeping part of the entire accounting process. They don’t interpret, analyze and present data. This does not mean that their job is not going to be exacting.

In a nutshell, bookkeepers keep track of the daily financial transactions of the company. They maintain the firm’s general ledger and see to it that all transactions are accurately recorded. One of the most common transactions that they will be responsible for is receiving invoices from the vendors and other suppliers that the company is doing business with. They will check these against the purchase orders the various departments in the company has made to ensure that the records are accurate before making the payments.

Another task of bookkeepers is to bill clients for services the company has rendered. They may have to send out customer invoices each month to collect from customers. If some clients have been remiss in their payments, they may have to get in touch with them to remind them of their obligations. Some bookkeepers may also be authorized to make arrangements with clients who are not able to pay the full amount at a particular time, although they may have to ask permission from supervisors if the amount owed is large or the customer has been delinquent in the past.

Preparing payroll is also another responsibility for bookkeepers. In order to get the pay of the employees ready by payday, they will have to get the daily time records of the employees to determine the number of hours and the days when they worked so that the proper wage calculations can be made. They will also have to factor in the items that will be taken from the employee’s pay, such as 401k contributions, taxes and loan payments. In the event that the employee is working on a commission basis, the bookkeepers will be responsible for checking the sales reports to determine the amount that will be added on top of the employee’s salary.

Bookkeepers are also tasked with depositing and withdrawing money from the company’s accounts. They also reconcile bank statements to ensure that all the deposits have been accurately recorded and no unauthorized withdrawals have been made. They are also responsible for preparing or in some cases, even filing tax returns.

Other tasks that bookkeepers see themselves doing in a typical workday include getting receipts for purchases made by employees for the company, giving reimbursements for employees’ work-related expenses and giving petty cash to workers for various needs. They also see to it that they record all transactions in the accounting software used by the company. This means that they will have to be adept at using spreadsheets, databases and other online bookkeeping tools.

A bookkeeper’s supervisor or manager may also ask him to come up with financial statements and other reports for the company. The bookkeeping clerk must always keep his records organized so that he can generate these reports any time they are needed.

Bookkeepers may also work with department heads to ensure that the company’s inventories of various products are well-stocked. They may be tasked with calling up suppliers to order more stock for items that are already in short supply. Bookkeepers, especially those working for small companies, also keep managers or owners updated on the status of the firm’s finances. If there is expenditure that needs to be made and the bookkeeper sees that it is going to deplete the company’s funds, it is his responsibility to inform the manager of the situation.

Like accountants and other occupations that handle money matters, bookkeepers need to maintain their credibility and integrity. They must never steal from the company funds. They must also inform their superiors right away if they notice that some employers are spending funds in a questionable manner so that the issue can be immediately addressed.

Career Spotlight: Bookkeeper



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[...]

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