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Why Choose a Career in Bookkeeping?
You will find a broad array of reasons to consider a career in bookkeeping. Personal and professional reasons blend into a series of compelling reasons for a student to consider becoming a bookkeeper. The top 7 reasons to choose a career in bookkeeping:
- Job Demand - Regardless of how the economy is performing, the skills of a bookkeeper are in demand. The business critical tasks of auditing, financial accounting, data input, filing financial reports, bank reconciliation, and tax preparation are perpetual tasks in demand.
- Work Diversity - Accountants and bookkeepers work in a variety of settings. Employment arrangements can include working for a privately owned, small business owner to a large, multi-national corporation.
- Responsibility - Bookkeepers are charged with the responsibility to record, report, analyze, and plan financial matters for a business. They can help determine which financial practices survive and which perish.
- Expertise - In the financial world, accountants and bookkeepers are experts. As trusted financial professionals, they are able to see the details as well as the big picture.
- Job Stability - The skills, knowledge, and attributes of a bookkeeper help provide career stability for a job function that is in high demand. Mastering the financial accounting domain and communicating it with clarity will provide ample job opportunities in businesses of all types.
- Evolution - As the world of financial management continues to evolve, bookkeepers will have the opportunity to continue to learn. Learning new technology, accounting systems, and best practices by trade industry will be key to longevity.
- Career Mobility - Given the demand for bookkeepers coupled with their job responsibility and expertise, opportunities for advancement will exist. Hard work and a knack for communicating clearly will help propel careers near and far.
What Do Bookkeepers Study in School?
A student 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 conferred as associate degrees. The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) is a common 2-year degree program offered by a community college, trade school, or university for bookkeepers. Diplomas and certificate programs may also be available via online learning or at a physical campus location.
An online bookkeeping education will teach students the various financial terms and methods required to function in any business. They may be responsible for processing sales invoices, payroll, analyzing cash flow statements, accounts receivable, vendor invoices, procurement, accounts payable, auditing, cost management, expense management, and debits & credits. Given these job demands, it is no surprise courses in bookkeeping cover an array of financial and accounting courses in learning domains that include:
- Financial Accounting Principles
- Cost Accounting & Payroll Accounting
- Business Administration
- Data Processing
- Information Technology
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 their careers. In descending order, here is the list culled from the national survey:
- Operating a computer equipped with accounting software to record, save, and find financial information.
- Verifying data and journal entries to ensure accuracy
- Properly understanding financial statements and classifying 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.
Certifications for Bookkeepers
Bookkeepers can obtain a trade license or certification within bookkeeping. Popular certifications in bookkeeping include the following pathways:
- Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB)
- Certified Payroll Specialist (CPS)
- Certified QuickBooks Advisor (CQA)
- Certified Accounting Paraprofessional (CAP)
In terms of online accounting certificate programs, the list of alternatives below may help you enhance your resume and expand your skill set. While certificates may not be as involved as earning a license in bookkeeping, certifications are great resume builders. Accounting certificate programs may be required by certain employers as a condition of employment or as a mandatory continuing education course.
- Bookkeeper Certification
- Accounting Certification
- Payroll Certification
- QuickBooks Certification
- Tax Certification
- Excel Certification
- Certified Office Manager
Schools Other Students Requested Information From:
Employment Opportunities & Top Jobs in Bookkeeping
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 program 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 you demonstrate the necessary skills 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.
Career Growth & Income 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 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Individuals with valuable work experience and a recognized trade certification may expect 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
Resources for Bookkeepers
Students interested in bookkeeping may also be interested to learn more about accounting, business administration, finance, and auditing. National and regional organizations such as the AIPB, AAA, and NACPB may prove to be helpful for new and experienced bookkeepers alike. Such associations help support vocational goals and aspirations of bookkeepers nationwide with tools, resources, and insights dedicated to its members.