Bookkeepers are accounting specialists trained to keep financial records for various business and organizations. Their primary responsibilities include maintaining, reviewing, organizing and updating numerous types of financial data, including: profits and losses, accounts payable and receivable, and expenditures and receipts.

Bookkeepers find work at a wide range of organizations, including: large public and private companies, nonprofit groups, education and civic organizations and small businesses. If you have an interest in numbers and finance, earning an online degree in accounting or business could help you advance your career goals.

To secure a position as a bookkeeper, individuals are advised to meet specific criteria, such as:

  • Supplement a high school diploma with an associate degree in accounting or business.
  • Receive on-the-job training as an entry-level bookkeeper from a supervisor or senior bookkeeping professional.
  • Possess strong computer skills and knowledge of industry-specific accounting software or bookkeeping programs.
  • Get experience working in professional office environments, or demonstrate an extreme attention to detail in related work.

Professional certification may help expand the number and variety of career opportunities for prospective and experienced bookkeepers. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers offers The Certified Bookkeeper (CB) designation for eligible professionals. To receive CB status a bookkeeper must pass a four-part exam, have a minimum of two years of related experience and agree to comply with a code of industry ethics. To maintain current certification, CBs must successfully complete continuing education courses once every three years.

Bookkeeper Job Description

Bookkeepers traditionally maintain financial records for business, institutions and organizations. They may also compile and present financial statements and reports as well as oversee payroll, invoicing, purchasing and other business-related activities.

Depending on the size and nature of their work environment, bookkeepers may have ongoing communication with clients or customers. For this reason, bookkeepers must maintain strict ethical standards while in the workplace.

Bookkeepers work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Public and private corporations
  • Local, state and federal government agencies
  • Nonprofit groups or organizations
  • Educational institutions

Although many bookkeepers work typical eight-hour days, some are required to commit to additional hours. Weekend and extended work hours are particularly common for bookkeepers during fiscal reporting periods or peak retail seasons.

Bookkeeper Salary

The number of job openings for this widespread profession is predicted to grow at an average rate. Demand is expected to be particularly strong for bookkeepers with expert knowledge of bookkeeping and accounting software.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, bookkeepers tend to earn an average annual salary of between $26,350 and $40,130. Professionals working in the top 10 percent of the industry’s wage scale earned around $49,260 annually.

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