Bookkeeping clerks (better known as "bookkeepers") produce, update and maintain financial records for companies and organizations. They work with expenditures, cash flow, profit and loss and other types of financial activities. Bookkeepers utilize special software and spreadsheets to perform record keeping procedures. Bookkeepers typically work in accounting departments. Large companies typically employ clerks that specialize in a specific area such as accounts receivable, accounts payable and auditing. Due to the capabilities of computers, bookkeepers sometimes handle additional tasks such as making phone calls to clients, making purchases and writing letters.
Small companies typically have one general bookkeeper who handles all of the general ledgers. The general ledger is the primary accounting record for companies that utilize double-entry bookkeeping. It includes accounts for various items such as fixed and current assets, revenues and expenses, liabilities as well as gains and losses. A general bookkeeper records all financial transactions, prepares financial statements and posts debits and credits. They also produce summaries and reports for managers. General bookkeepers often produce tax reports, prepare payrolls and invoice statements.
Bookkeepers are given the task of balancing the books. When the procedure is completed, the bookkeeper and management are provided with an understanding of the money spent/money received. They also learn their profit status and the money they owe and is owed to them.
- Verify and balance receipts
- Keep track of loans and accounts
- Prepare bank deposits
- Handle payroll
- Monitor overdue accounts
- Total accounts
- Code documents
- Prepare invoices
- Post transactions in computer files
- Compare computer printouts of financial information to manually maintained journals
- Advanced clerks total, balance and reconcile billing vouchers
- Advanced clerks ensure data in the accounts is accurate
Bookkeepers typically work in comfortable offices and spend a lot of time using computers. The majority of bookkeeping clerks have standard working hours. However, sometimes they may be required to work overtime to meet a deadline. In addition, some bookkeepers work on a part-time basis.
Bookkeepers need to be detailed-oriented, thorough and precise. They must avoid making mistakes and be skilled at catching errors made by others. They should also be proficient with numbers. They also benefit from having good communication skills since they may also work with customers. In addition, bookkeepers must be trustworthy due to working with confidential information.
The government reports the median wage and salary for bookkeepers and accounting and auditing clerks was $30,560 in 2006. The middle half earned from $24,540 to $37,789. The highest 10 percent were paid over $46,020 and the lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,760. Typically, bookkeepers receive benefits from their employers, however the benefits vary by the size and type of the company or organization.
During 2006 there were over 2.1 million jobs for bookkeepers, accounting and auditing clerks combined. According to government statistics, in 2006 approximately 1 out of 4 bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks worked on a part-time basis. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, projects the growth rate for bookkeepers will be about average through 2016. In general, the growth in the occupation follows the growth of the economy.
All of the industries hire bookkeepers. However, the advancements in office automation may reduce the number of bookkeeping clerk positions. Most of the opportunities for employment will occur due to the need of replacing workers who have changed jobs or leave the labor force.
The need for full-charge bookkeepers is projected to increase. They often perform a lot of the work done by accountants. Bookkeepers that have several years of accounting experience or have a bookkeeper certification have the best opportunities to acquire employment. In addition, the government projects there will be many opportunities for part-time and temporary jobs in the profession.
Bookkeeper Courses, Certification, and Licensing
The vast majority of bookkeepers have, at a minimum, a high school diploma. Often, some college course in bookkeeping or accounting are required for the positions. An associate degree in accounting or business is required for some jobs. Typically, a bachelor's degree is not necessary. However, some college graduates that have a bachelor's degree take positions in bookkeeping, accounting or auditing in order to gain employment with a specific company or as a way of beginning a career in finance or accounting.
For those seeking employment as a bookkeeping clerk, experience in a related field or prior work experience in an office setting is helpful. Employers typically prefer clerks who are proficient with computers and have a solid foundation with spreadsheets and word processing.
Bookkeepers, especially those who take care of all the record keeping duties for a business may benefit from acquiring the Certified Bookkeeper designation provided by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. The certificate indicates a bookkeeper has the knowledge and skills to handle all aspects of bookkeeping. In order to achieve the certification, an individual needs at least two years of bookkeeping experience, pass the examination and also abide by a code of ethics. Some colleges provide a preparatory course for certification and some colleges provide the courses online.
Bookkeepers often have opportunities to advance in their career by handling additional duties for higher pay or by moving up to a higher position in a related occupation. Experienced clerks, who gain additional skills have opportunities to advance into supervising and managerial jobs. Some bookkeepers who have the appropriate education may work as accountants or auditors.
- American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers
- Office and Professional Employees International Union
The primary employers are federal, state and local governments and bookkeeping, accounting, payroll and tax preparation services companies.
Schools for Bookkeeping And Accounting Clerks are listed in the Browse Schools Section.