How to Become a Bookkeeper

It wouldn’t be wrong to state that bookkeeping is quite an acclaimed profession and with the influx of several entrepreneurial ventures into the global landscape, the role of bookkeepers is turning into an indispensible one. Needless to say, bookkeeping is a challenging profession but also comes with its set of rewards, provided individuals take the bookkeeping business seriously enough.

What does a bookkeeper do?

Firstly, it is important to note that bookkeepers are mostly hired by businesses that are looking to invest time and money into cash flow analysis and accounting of the existing financial transactions. Therefore, a bookkeeper is expected to be well-versed with the concepts of financing, including accounts receivable, accounts payable, bank reconciliations, and more.

The amount of tediousness, however, is determined by the size and spread of the organization in picture. While targeted financial activities are mostly initiated, a bookkeeper also needs to take care of the daily financial errands for the concerned organizations. Put simply, someone looking to get a fair idea reading bookkeeping 101 must understand that financial activities like maintaining sales ledgers, invoices, remittances, statements, purchase ledgers, journals, general ledgers, double entry bookkeeping, and even bank reconciliations are taken care of, by an experienced bookkeeper.

Who qualifies as a bookkeeper?

The first thing about bookkeeping is that it comes across primarily as a relationship business where the person in-charge is responsible for nurturing the financial whereabouts of the concerned organization between the business owners and the suppliers. However, there are average bookkeepers and then there are exceptional ones who are extremely proactive in nature.

Needless to say, a bookkeeper is the one who keeps a track of the company finances besides gathering information regarding the upcoming transactional activities. However, an exceptional and sought-after bookkeeper indulges himself or herself in a host of other activities which fall outside the financial purview. Unlike a freelancer or a bookkeeper who is meant to outsource the basic financial errands for an organization, an established professional is expected to fulfill three of the most essential company roles:

He or she is responsible for gathering every bit of financial information that concerns the organizational well-being.

The bookkeeper is also an intermediary interpreter who is capable of understanding the requirements of the business owner and translating the same across diverse platforms; in order to build lasting and rewarding relationships.

Lastly, a bookkeeper in most cases is given the responsibility of assisting businesses when it comes to making prudent decisions besides stopping clients from making financial errors in the process.

It wouldn’t be wrong to state that a good bookkeeper is less of an employee and more of a financial guide to the business owner. In the truest possible sense, it wouldn’t be wrong to consider him or her as the financial advisor of the concerned firm who is instrumental when it comes to making the business succeed beyond imagination.

How to start a bookkeeping venture

Before we start talking about the prospects of a futuristic bookkeeping venture, it is important to note that according to a survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment percentage in regard to bookkeeping are expected to drop by at least 8 percent by 2024, due to the emergence of automated software. However, despite this setback, bookkeeping will continue to a sought-after profession courtesy of the intuitiveness and other aspects associated with the same, in addition to typical financial accounting and management. That said, bookkeeping standards, if maintained by concerned businesses, can also help them acquire relevant ISO certifications as International Organization for Standardization takes a host of company functions into account with financial aspect being one of them. Even Nguyen Viet Tiep, Director, ISO CERT VN, believes that bookkeeping is one organizational tool that determines the credibility of international certifications for the concerned firms.

In the subsequent sections, we would throw some light on the best possible strategies to become a bookkeeper, besides targeting both the certified and uncertified techniques in play:

1. Pursue training.

Training to be a bookkeeper is something that cannot be ignored if an individual is seriously considering the same as a career option. The first priority for someone looking to be a bookkeeper is to opt for a certification or even an associate degree, focused at the concerned profession. Moreover, pursuing a specialized course at an auditing or accounting firm can also come in handy for the concerned individuals. Aspiring professionals, however, must make sure that the select courses include subjects like fraud prevention, inventory management, financial analysis, payroll management, and more. Certified training must also include familiarity with the concepts of Microsoft Excel and QuickBooks.

2. Obtain experience.

The best approach, in addition to bookkeeping certification, is to obtain relevant professional experience by working closely with firms of repute, either as a freelancer or a full-time trainee. Enrolling for relevant internships during the academic coursework is yet another approach that makes it easier for an individual to gather valuable, hands-on experience. Most importantly, a novice can easily evolve into a well-informed bookkeeper by working closely with firms that require proper handling of financial reports, invoices, balance sheets, and more.

3. Obtain certification.

Another way of proving authority in the bookkeeping domain is to get hold of professional certification. While there are quite a few certifying agencies spread far and wide across the globe, the most credible ones include AIPB which validates the credibility of the individual in the concerned domain. The best thing about getting certified is that it paves way for faster raises and promotions in the bookkeeping arena.

Accounting vs. bookkeeping

Firstly it is necessary to understand the accounting and bookkeeping are two of the most integral parts of a company’s financial landscape. However, the role of a bookkeeper supersedes the role of an accountant as initial information regarding the finances and other monetary aspects are first tabulated by the bookkeeping expert. This information is usually sent across to the accountant who then maintains the cash flow register for the business. However, a majority of startups hire only one individual for taking care of the bookkeeping and even the accounting requirements of the firm.

What are the associated bookkeeping rates?

For a freelancing individual, the bookkeeping rates depend on the intricacy of the work and even the frequency at which he or she needs to report to the concerned organization. Moreover, a full-time bookkeeper can charge quite exorbitantly as he or she is required to gather the financial whereabouts of the firm besides processing the same as a part of the overall cash flow management system. In case an accountant isn’t available, the bookkeeper can always quote a higher amount as he or she is then entrusted with additional responsibilities.


For an aspiring bookkeeper, it is important to note that the profession comes with a host of rewards even if the exterior looks way too demanding for an ordinary individual. While certification and training are the bookkeeping prerequisites, it eventually comes down to the real-time, hands-on experience for someone who is looking to pursue the concerned profession. At the end, it is the love for mathematics, accounts, and numbers that determine whether an individual will be an average or exceptional bookkeeper.

Last but not least, bookkeeping certification costs are always on the higher side given the popularity of the profession. This is why a company recruited bookkeeper or even a freelancer charges way more than an average accountant who is only in charge of the accounts, finances, and other simplistic aspects of the cash flow management.

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Written by WHS

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