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Bookkeeping Job Description

Bookkeeping Job Description

A bookkeeper is a financial record keeper and is responsible for the financial transactions of a business. Some companies employ a bookkeeper to keep track of all the financial issues, big and small; from accounting for the petty cash to making sure employees are paid on time. 

Other companies employ bookkeepers to oversee specific details, such as verifying expenditures and updating accounts payable and accounts receivable journals, also known as “the books.”

Bookkeepers are sometimes referred to as “financial clerks” or “bookkeeping clerks,” but the job responsibilities don’t necessarily vary by the title; they vary by the needs of the company. For instance, a small business is more likely to hire a bookkeeper for a comprehensive position, and large companies, who have many facets to their financial record keeping, may hire several bookkeepers to specialize in different jobs. 

For example, a large corporation may have one bookkeeper who oversees payroll, one who oversees daily expenditures and another whose job it is to do the banking.

Bookkeeping is done in virtually every well-run business; however, many small business owners learn to tend their own accounts without hiring a bookkeeper. Bookkeepers can be employed full-time at a large company where they go to work each day, or maintain their own office where they manage accounts for several different clients.  

Some bookkeepers work part-time from home and take on additional work during tax season preparing tax forms for businesses or private individuals.

The training requirements to become a bookkeeper vary greatly. Some bookkeepers have no formal training beyond a high-school diploma, but have many years of experience and expertise. An associate degree in accounting or business is increasingly required. Because bookkeepers need to be aware of constantly changing tax and small business laws, continuing education is expected.

A bookkeeper should be comfortable working with computers and software, spreadsheets, numbers, regulations and deadlines. However, whether employed by a large corporation or working out of their own basement, a bookkeeper must also be able to communicate effectively with people. 

It is often their responsibility to explain complicated financial details to people who aren’t experienced with the ins and outs of bookkeeping. Since those “people'' might be the bookkeeper’s employer or client, good people skills are an important part of the job.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that in 2008 there were approximately 2.1 million jobs available in the field of bookkeeping. Though software and other technologies make financial record keeping easier than it once was, opportunities for bookkeepers are expected to remain steady into the future. 

Certified bookkeepers and those with a wide range of experience may be offered more and higher paying positions. As an example, BLS lists the median annual wage of a bookkeeper at 32,510 dollars in 2008.

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