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Bookkeeper Duties and Responsibilities
Bookkeepers find work in both big and small businesses across all industries, and their duties vary based on how many other employees are on staff and how much money the business spends and receives. But no matter the company or industry, the main responsibilities for bookkeepers include:
Process Payments Received Bookkeepers process payments received by the business, file invoices, and make bank deposits.
Generate Reports Bookkeepers create daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly financial reports. These include sales, deposit, and expenditure reports.
Balance Ledgers Bookkeepers verify all financial totals for income received and money spent by the business and balance all ledgers to ensure the numbers add up.
Make Payments In many companies, the bookkeeper is solely responsible for paying all the bills, processing employee payroll, and making sure there's enough money in the company's accounts to cover all these costs.
Maintain Financial Records Bookkeepers keep accurate financial records and file financial reports, including bank statements and credit card statements.
Prepare Tax Filings Bookkeepers prepare all company tax filings for the IRS and make tax payments as necessary. The bookkeeper also generates W2s and other tax documents to be given to employees annually.
Plan Budgets The bookkeeper plans monthly and yearly budgets for the company to keep costs down. They ensure that budgets are being followed and impose cuts when necessary.
Collect Debts Bookkeepers contact the holders of overdue accounts and collect payments that have not yet been received.
Assist with Office Tasks Sometimes bookkeepers must assist with general office and clerical tasks, such as answering incoming phone calls, tidying up office areas, and greeting clients who walk into the business.
Bookkeeper Skills and QualificationsBookkeepers are professionals who understand finances and work well with numbers to make quick calculations. Businesses looking for bookkeepers seek out individuals with the following essential job skills:
- Customer service - as bookkeepers contact customers about past debts, greet clients coming into the business, and speak frequently with vendors, bank officials, and other professionals, good customer service and people skills are an essential aspect of the job
- Math skills - bookkeepers work with numbers and finances all day, making calculations and organizing budgets, which requires a strong understanding of mathematics
- Organization skills - it's essential for bookkeepers to maintain accurate records and keep copies of paperwork, which requires good organization skills
- Data entry - bookkeepers need well-developed data entry skills to constantly key numbers and other information into digital systems and spreadsheets
- Communication skills - bookkeepers create detailed financial reports and relay these findings to managers, so people in this profession must have good verbal and written communication skills
Bookkeeper Education and TrainingEmployers look for bookkeepers who have an associate's degree in accounting or finance, though previous bookkeeping work experience can serve as a substitute for formal education. Bookkeepers receive on-the-job training from an office manager or another type of manager until they become familiar with filing systems, computer systems, and business practices used by the hiring company.
Bookkeeper Salary and OutlookBookkeepers earn a median annual income of $38,390, or $18.46 an hour. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be little to no change in the number of jobs for these professionals in the next decade, which is a slower than average job growth rate. Bookkeepers receive complete benefits packages that include health, dental, and vision insurance coverage. Retirement benefits, life insurance, vacation days, and sick days come standard as part of the benefits package. Some companies provide additional benefits, such as profit-sharing bonuses and continuing education reimbursement.
Build the skills needed to become a bookkeeper, find career opportunities, and learn strategies for success in this career path with these resources:
National Bookkeepers Association - bookkeepers will find certification programs, training courses, and other educational tools at the NBA website
Bookkeepers' Boot Camp: Get a Grip on Accounting Basics - learn the basic and beginning strategies for bookkeeping with this "boot camp" that covers the essentials of this job
American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers - visit this website for bookkeeping tips, career opportunities, a helpful hiring test, educational resources, and a chatroom where bookkeepers can connect with each other to share their stories and swap information
Bookkeeping Essentials: How to Succeed as a Bookkeeper - this book provides practical techniques and real-world examples for bookkeepers to find success in their chosen career path
International Association of Bookkeepers - visit the IAB website to find career opportunities, bookkeeping textbooks, information about certification and qualification programs, and lots of frequent content dedicated to bookkeeping and bookkeepers around the world
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