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Career Story: Bookkeeper For A Private School

Bookkeeper For A Private School

Job Title: Full Charge Bookkeeper

Type of Company: I work for a school in Massachusetts.

Education: BA, Business Administration, UMass-Lowell

Previous Experience: I worked in the finance department at a hospital from 1968 until 1986. After that I worked at an accounting firm doing bookkeeping and eventually became a full-charge bookkeeper.

Job Tasks: I am responsible for Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Payroll, General Journal Entries, State Hot Lunch Program.

Accounts Receivable involves keying in billing information for school fees, tuition, lunch, daycare; processing invoices and sending them out. I usually spend about a week and a half to two weeks on billing each month, following up on those who are late, processing late fees, making calls to see when payments will be sent. I process checks daily as I receive them, bring deposit to the bank and post payments to accounts. I also have to contact parents for bounced checks and process fee for checks returned for insufficient funds.

Accounts Payable involves poring over invoices to make sure they are accurate and then entering them in the system for payment; paying invoices when due; calling vendors with questions or billing errors.

Payroll involves gathering time sheets for those who are not on contract; processing payroll, paying taxes, and doing required quarterly and yearly reports. It also involves reporting new hires to the state, handling health insurance, 401k deductions, etc.

Journal entries have to be made for depreciation, prepaid insurance, investment income, etc.

I have many other duties such as billing the state for the hot lunch program, checking on daycare and billing those who don't use it on a regular basis, etc.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is meeting new parents and dealing with parents from previous years' classes, as well as working with teachers and other employees.

The worst part of the job is when parents do not return calls and do not communicate with my office. Also, they make a promise to send a payment and it is never received when they say they will send it. Some have to be called constantly for them to make payments. The stress of getting reports, invoices, payroll, and paying invoices on time adds to the headache.

Job Tips: In order to do full-charge bookkeeping you must get on a schedule. You must be organized and do things in a certain order or something might be forgotten. Make a list of what needs to be done each month and each quarter and what is due by a certain date. Take a calendar, for example, and circle payroll dates, mark whatever you have to do by a certain date. Look at calendar daily to avoid overlooking something that has to be completed.

Take courses in accounting, computer courses such as Excel, Word, Access and any other courses that will help you advance your skills.

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