Assistant Bookkeeper Job Description
Assistant bookkeepers handle the details of a company’s financial transactions, keeping accurate records and ensuring that payments are processed. A typical day of work includes processing invoices, filing tax forms, and making bank deposits from inside the office, with occasional trips outside. Full-time and part-time positions are available, usually under the supervision of a bookkeeper or working alongside an accountant. While the job is entry level, assistant bookkeepers juggle several tasks and learn on their feet, dealing not only with numbers but also administrative tasks and customer and vendor interactions.
Assistant Bookkeeper Duties and Responsibilities
Specific job duties for assistant bookkeepers vary based on their employer and the size and niche of the business. However, there are several core tasks common to all assistant bookkeepers, such as:
Manage Day-to-Day Payments
The primary responsibility of assistant bookkeepers is to process accounts receivable and payable, which includes regularly creating invoices, making bank deposits, producing checks, and preparing wire transfers. They work with the bookkeeper to ensure that clients are billed properly and vendors receive correct payment.
Record Monetary Transactions
Assistant bookkeepers track and monitor financial transactions, noting important details and integrating this information into the company’s records on a daily basis. This often involves meticulous data entry using accounting software.
Process the Payroll
A major part of an assistant bookkeeper’s job is to help with end-to-end payroll processing, which covers employee timekeeping, payroll balancing and distribution, and overall checking for accuracy. Assistant bookkeepers may also prepare and file company tax forms, such as Form W-2 and Form 1099.
Create Financial Reports
Assistant bookkeepers consolidate a company’s financial data and generate balance sheets, cash flow statements, profit and loss reports, and other summarizing documents. Analysis and forecasting may be part of the report, but the emphasis is on presenting a clear overview of previous transactions.
Perform Administrative Duties
Much of an assistant bookkeeper’s time is spent organizing data and dealing with paperwork. Aside from filling out forms, assistant bookkeepers also take on administrative tasks such as photocopying or scanning documents, keeping the company’s filing system organized, and buying supplies.
Handle Bank Reconciliations
Assistant bookkeepers perform bank reconciliations to check if a company’s financial records match up with the corresponding bank statement. They are responsible for ensuring the integrity of data and correcting discrepancies right away.
Assistant Bookkeeper Skills and Qualifications
Successful assistant bookkeepers combine a good understanding of finances with attention to detail and patience for processing a large amount of data. Employers typically hire applicants with a high school diploma at minimum and the following skills:
- Bookkeeping knowledge – they have a strong grasp of bookkeeping principles, capable of generating a company’s books both manually and through computerized methods
- Math skills – comfort with numbers is a core quality of successful assistant bookkeepers, who perform lengthy arithmetic calculations with ease and relentlessly double-check figures for accuracy
- Data entry – assistant bookkeepers efficiently input transaction information into spreadsheets or accounting software. Attention to detail is essential here, as is proficiency with technology
- Communication skills – assistant bookkeepers exhibit well-rounded communication skills, since the job involves creating reports from complex data, expressing their findings to others, and interacting with vendors and clients
- Multitasking – given the number of accounts that they handle, assistant bookkeepers must be excellent multitaskers who remain organized even when receiving data from various sources
Tools of the Trade
Assistant bookkeepers are comfortable using the following tools:
- Manual bookkeeping tools (10-key calculator, bookkeeping ledgers)
- Basic data entry software (Microsoft Word and Excel)
- Bookkeeping and payroll software (QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Xero, Datafaction)
Assistant Bookkeeper Education and Training
The minimum educational requirement for assistant bookkeepers is a high school diploma, although employers often require this to be supplemented with bookkeeping coursework or a certificate program, which takes one to two years. These programs typically cover job-relevant topics such as basic accounting, bank reconciliations, payroll processing, and financial reports. An associate or bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, business, or other related fields gives aspiring assistant bookkeepers an edge. One to two years of experience in data entry, bookkeeping, or payroll is also a major advantage.
Assistant Bookkeeper Salary and Outlook
The average annual salary for assistant bookkeepers is $33,000 per year, with a range of $23,000 as the minimum to $47,000 for the highest paid, according to Glassdoor. Assistant bookkeepers earn slightly less than bookkeepers, who receive around $35,000 per year on average.
In terms of job outlook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be little to no change in bookkeeping employment until 2026. As technology continues to develop, employers may increasingly automate bookkeeping.
There are several resources available on the web for exploring a career as an assistant bookkeeper, and we’ve come up with the following top-notch industry groups and books:
International Association of Bookkeepers – IAB offers extensive information about how to start and manage a bookkeeping career and how to turn it into a business, as well as about certifications and courses on bookkeeping. It claims to have over 10,000 members across 60 countries, with learning centers set up worldwide
Schaum’s Outline of Bookkeeping and Accounting – this guide is ideal for assistant bookkeepers who already have a solid grasp of the fundamentals and are looking for a summary reference book. Reviewers have described it as a good learning tool, since the content covers a wide sweep of bookkeeping principles supplemented with problem-solving exercises
National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers – described as among the best in America for bookkeeping education, NACPB offers trainings, certifications, and licenses to aspiring bookkeepers. Learning material is presented in diverse formats, from practice tests to training videos
Financial Statements: A Step-by-Step Guide for Understanding and Creating Financial Reports – aside from writing financial reports regularly, assistant bookkeepers also have to present them in layman’s terms to clients or colleagues. This book explains concepts in concise language, detailing how the balance sheet, cash flow statement, and income statement express a company’s overall financial picture
American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers – this all-in-one website aims to “recognize bookkeeping as a profession and bookkeepers as professionals.” It contains self-study workbooks, useful links to tax and accounting resources, a roster of bookkeeping jobs, and regular tips and updates in exchange for membership
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