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Bookkeeper


Description

Bookkeepers perform numerous financial-related tasks on a day-to-day basis. Assisting financial auditors and accountants, they maintain financial data according to established company procedures. Depending on the bookkeeper's level of experience, various responsibilities may include recording accounts payable and receivable, payroll, processing bills and invoices and preparing budgets and financial records. They may summarize spending habits and prepare reports for managers and supervisors. They may also prepare bank deposits by collecting cash and checks. Bookkeepers generally keep track of all financial transactions that pass through an organization and they serve as the backbone of many businesses and organizations.

Due to the administrative nature of the position, certain responsibilities assigned to the bookkeeper include maintaining extensive filing systems and performing data entry. With experience, the tasks taken upon by the clerk grow in importance and difficulty. Bookkeepers have superior interpersonal and social interaction skills because they frequently deal with the public and clients via email, in person and on the telephone.

The majority of daily work depends on the use of specific computer programs since most bookkeepers have extensive knowledge of industry-specific and general computer applications and programs. Bookkeepers are a vital and valuable component of the accounting and auditing sector.
 
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
n/a
 
Median Salary:
$27,372
 
Highest 10% of Earners:
n/a

  Interests and Skills  
Bookkeepers have strong interpersonal and communication skills, both on the computer and in person. They enjoy working with numbers quickly and accurately while paying strict attention to details. Bookkeepers must be able to multi-task, follow instructions and keep employer information confidential, since most financial information they work with is classified. Accordingly, updated, efficient computer skills are imperative along with the ability to work overtime and meet stringent deadlines, especially during peak periods. Most bookkeepers enjoy having clear, organized rules in their daily work.
 

  Typical Tasks  
  • Verify, balance and process business transactions and financial records
  • Post details of transactions, total accounts, and compute interest charges
  • Monitor loans and accounts, to ensure that payments are up to date and review invoices and statements to ensure that all information is accurate and complete
  • Ensure completeness and accuracy of data on accounts and code documents, according to company procedures
  • Post transactions in journals and on computer files and update these files
  • Compile budgets based on estimated revenues, expenses and previous budgets
  • Calculate material costs, overhead, inventory and other company expenses
  • Perform clerical duties such as filing, data entry and reception work
  • Bookkeepers typically work in a computerized office setting with regular weekday hours. Due to the nature of the business, longer hours may be required during seasonal peak months preceding the tax season and during the last week of each month.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Bookkeepers are usually employed in both the public and private sectors, including government services, business and consulting firms, retail and wholesale trade, health and social services, finance, insurance and real estate and the service industry. Wherever accounting and money management takes place, a bookkeeper is needed.

  Long Term Career Potential  
The potential for growth as a bookkeeper is encouraging. Job responsibilities are based upon levels of experience and education. While entry-level positions focus more on basic clerical and assistant work, senior bookkeepers take upon an active role in reviewing transactions, invoices and financial statements.

In larger organizations, there is the opportunity to become a specialized assistant; such as a payroll clerk, thereby learning a specific component of the industry and making you more marketable in a specialized area of accounting. Bookkeepers may also rise into related management positions from their experience and expertise in a specific role.

Some bookkeepers may aspire to become accountants while working alongside these professionals. In order to receive an accounting designation, either as a Chartered Accountant (CA), a Certified General Accountant (CGA), or a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), one must have a university degree along with taking further accounting certification courses and passing standardized tests. Advancement often depends on the bookkeeper's willingness to balance a job and school at the same time in order to attain their goals.
 

  Educational Paths  
The educational requirements for bookkeepers vary from one employer to another, generally depending on the responsibilities involved in the position. Bookkeepers demand the completion of secondary school and usually require completion of a related college certificate or diploma in accounting, bookkeeping or computer operation.
 

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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