Bookkeeper Job Duties and Career Options

Bookkeepers, who can voluntarily become certified through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB), record an organization's financial transactions. Bookkeepers are tasked with writing daybooks, keeping track of credit lines, fixing accounting discrepancies and more.

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Bookkeeper Job Duties

Bookkeepers record financial transactions, such as revenues, expenses and costs. A bookkeeper must make sure all transactions are included in the accurate general ledger, customer ledger, suppliers ledger and daybook. Bookkeepers also prepare bank deposits, keep track of overdue accounts, prepare invoices, make purchases and handle payroll issues. Accountants use information prepared by the bookkeeper to produce balance sheets and income statements.

More experienced bookkeepers may also be asked to prepare reports or produce financial statements. In fact, is not uncommon for some bookkeepers to take on the role of accountants for smaller organizations that do not keep an accountant on staff. Bookkeepers should be knowledgeable in preparing income statements and balance sheets, fraud prevention, basic payroll procedures such as wages and taxes, correcting accounting errors, merchandise inventory and adjusting entries.

Career Options

Employment settings for bookkeepers vary greatly, from government agencies and educational services to restaurants and hotels. Organizations commonly offer bookkeepers room for advancement toward finance, accounting, managerial or supervisory positions. Bookkeepers also have the option to become certified through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB). Certification requires bookkeepers have two years of experience and pass a 4-part examination.

A number of colleges and technical schools offer programs preparing bookkeepers for certification, covering topics such as financial accounting, introductory auditing, principles of management and human resources management. Bookkeepers must renew certification every three years through continuing education courses and programs. Bookkeepers, along with accounting and auditing clerks, are expected to see employment growth of 10% between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reports these occupations had median annual earnings of $32,510 in 2008. Bookkeepers are only required to have high school degree. However, postsecondary education in areas such as accounting or business is often preferred.

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