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An individual interested in pursuing an education in bookkeeping will need strong mathematical and analytical skills in order to perform the functions necessary as a bookkeeper. Degrees in bookkeeping are generally given at the associate level, though diplomas and certificates are also available. An education in bookkeeping will teach students the various terminologies and methodologies that are required in order to function as a bookkeeper in a work environment and to keep track of funds, both incoming and outgoing to ensure that a company's financial records are properly recorded through ledgers.
A curriculum in bookkeeping may include:
- Accounting Practices
A career in bookkeeping does not necessarily require an individual to have obtained a degree. Individuals may enter the field immediately and obtain on the job training, though one's responsibilities will be extremely limited. A degree in bookkeeping will make a candidate more desirable as he or she will require less training to perform the same duties, and may be more willing to pursue certification if so desired. Certification may be obtained by individuals who have at least two years work experience. The examination is in four parts, and if passed certifies that the individual demonstrates that individual has all the skills necessary to perform tasks required of a bookkeeper. Courses for preparation of the exam are offered at a colleges and universities. The exam and certification is administered through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeeping.
Another valuable resource for prospective and current bookkeepers is the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers. The NACPB is a portal for bookkeepers and provides a host of information from training to licensing. In terms of training, students can participate in test prep, video courses, continuing education courses, and receive instructor support as needed.
Top 5 Jobs of a Bookkeeper
In a recent survey by the United States Department of Labor, professional bookkeepers outlined the most common tasks they perform. In descending order, here is the list culled from that survey:
- Operating a computer equipped with accounting software to record, save, and find financial information.
- Verifying data and journal entries to ensure accuracy
- Properly classifying financial and numerical data using computers and journals
- Utilizing accounting software to manage debits, credits, and summary totals by general ledger accounts
- Operating ten-key calculators and computers to calculate information and produce reports.
Licensure and Certifications for Bookkeepers
Bookkeepers can obtain a trade license or certification within bookkeeping. Licensure in bookkeeping includes the following options:
- Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB)
- Certified Payroll Specialist (CPS)
- Certified QuickBooks Advisor (CQA)
- Certified Accounting Paraprofessional (CAP)
In terms of certification options for a bookkeeper, the list of alternatives below may help you enhance your resume and expand your skill set. While not as involved as earning a license in bookkeeping, certifications are great resume builders and may be required by certain employers to be hired or as a continuing education course requirement.
- Bookkeeper Certification
- Accounting Certification
- Payroll Certification
- QuickBooks Certification
- Tax Certification
- Excel Certification
- Certified Office Manager
Job Growth & Outlook for Bookkeepers
Work for bookkeepers is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade as the need for professionals in the field will remain constant. Some technological advancements have made the need for bookkeepers lower, though as an assurer of accuracy their roles have shifted rather than been eliminated.
The average salary of a bookkeeper is approximately $38,390 per year, though individuals with prior work experience or certification may expect in an overall increase in their pay. Individuals with an education in bookkeeping may also see an increase in starting pay over individuals in need of training.
States Employing the Most Bookkeepers
- California 187,550
- Texas 125,140
- New York 115,270
- Florida 94,170
- Ohio 61,590
Top 5 Best Paying States for Bookkeepers
- District of Columbia $55,820
- Alaska $47,320
- California $45,730
- Connecticut $45,550
- New Jersey $44,960