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Becoming a Bookkeeper: A Job Profile

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A bookkeeper is responsible for maintaining and updating financial records of expenses, profits, losses, and accounts payable, as well as other paperwork involving finances. As such, the bookkeeper must work closely with paperwork regarding financial obligations and other records of a company in order to ensure proper computation and tracking of the transactions that are made. Unlike bookkeepers of the past, the skill set of today's bookkeeper also includes capacities that go beyond a paper ledger and a calculator. Instead, a bookkeeper must be proficient with computers, specifically spreadsheets and databases.

The Responsibilities of a Bookkeeper

The responsibilities of a bookkeeper tend to vary depending on the size of the company that employs the bookkeeper, as well as on the scope of the job responsibilities and the skills of the specific employee. In small companies, the bookkeeper tends to be responsible for the general ledger, which encompasses all of the financial transactions for the given company. Also, the bookkeeper often provides summaries of the general ledger’s details, such as what the company owes, what is owed to the company, as well as any information regarding the company’s profit margin. Furthermore, a bookkeeper with a job at a small company may also be responsible for payroll, customer invoices, and tax reports.

In larger companies and corporations, people with bookkeeping careers are often assigned to a specific task or specialized area. For example, one bookkeeper may be assigned the task of maintaining accounts receivable, while another bookkeeper maintains the accounts payable. The responsibilities of a bookkeeper within a large company vary depending upon experience and position. Furthermore, an entry-level bookkeeper may enter transactions, total accounts, monitor accounts, and calculate interest charges, while a more advance bookkeeper may reconcile vouchers, verify the accuracy of data, and review accounting journals.

Most people with bookkeeping careers work a standard forty hours per week within general office spaces. A bookkeeper may also work extended hours during peak times, however, such as during tax season, at the end of fiscal years, and during accounting audits. The pace of the work is generally steady and repetitive, and employees may sit for extended periods of time while reviewing or entering detailed data.

The Educational Requirements of a Bookkeeper

In general, a high school education and proficiency in business math or accounting is needed in order to get a job as a bookkeeper. An associate’s degree in business or accounting, however, is required for some bookkeeper careers. Aptitude in business concepts, including business software, accounting, and business math, are fundamental to one’s success as a bookkeeper. In addition, proficiency with computers, including spreadsheets, databases, and word processing, is essential due to the increased reliance on computerized tracking and computation.

For the most part, companies will provide on-the-job training that is specific to their software systems and company policies when they hire a bookkeeper. Still, there are a number of characteristics and skills that are desirable in all bookkeepers, regardless of the specific employer. For example, a bookkeeper must be detail-oriented and careful in order to avoid making errors and to be able to recognize the errors made by others.

To pursue a bookkeeping career, one must also be trustworthy and discreet while having a complete understanding of the company’s confidentiality policies, as the bookkeeper frequently comes in contact with a company’s proprietary information. Furthermore, bookkeepers must have interpersonal communication skills in order to effectively communicate both internally and externally, such as with clients or customers. Finally, an aptitude for numbers, calculations, and computing is necessary for successful performance of bookkeeping job duties.
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Popular tags:

 careers  tracking  taxes  expenses  computers  profits  responsibility  financial transactions  accounting

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