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Career Story: Self-Employed Bookkeeper

Self-Employed Bookkeeper

Job Title: Bookkeeper

Type of Company: I am a contract employee.

Education: BS, Business, Sierra Nevada College

Previous Experience: I have worked as an accounting clerk at three other companies.

Job Tasks: I help small business owners organize their bills and records and track their expenses and sales. Some assignments are ongoing while some are special projects. I generally verify and record sales and payroll amounts, receive, record and pay bills and track expenses such as depreciation. I also classify expenses and prepare reports for tax time. Sometimes I help the business owner set up a computerized accounting system or transfer data to a new accounting system. In a few cases I have helped businesses reorganize or recreate their records after a major event such as a change in ownership or a natural disaster.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of this job is that I work for and by myself. I am able to choose how much and when I work as well as who I work for. My hours can be very flexible and much of the work is done at home or off-site. The worst part of the job is it can be difficult to work with other small business owners. Some of my clients are very disorganized and do not understand the need to save all records. Some also want me to lie for them or record things incorrectly to save them money.

Job Tips: You need to have a natural ability to focus on details and catch small mistakes, and this kind of ability usually cannot be learned. Work with a more experienced bookkeeper or develop a relationship with mentor for the first few years. It is important to be able to solicit your own work for the first five years or so. Try hard to maintain a sense of professionalism at all times with your clients. Acting too casual will devalue your work. You must be able to be discreet with sensitive financial and business data. Do not compromise your ethics for anyone. If someone asks you to lie for them you should probably stop working for them.

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