How to become a Bookkeeper

What is a bookkeeper?

A bookkeeper is responsible for recording and maintaining a business’ financial transactions, such as purchases, expenses, sales revenue, invoices, and payments. Their focus is on accurate record-keeping and less focused on interpreting the data and analytics.

How to become a bookkeeper?

You could take a recognised accounts or bookkeeping qualification while looking for work. These are widely available. They include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Bookkeeping
  • Level 2 Certificate in Accounting
  • Level 2 Certificate in Manual and Computerised Bookkeeping

The entry requirements you may need are 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course.

You could also do an accounts and finance assistant intermediate apprenticeship which typically takes around 12 months to complete.

Bookkeeper duties

Bookkeeper duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Recording transactions such as income and outgoings, and posting them to various accounts
  • Maintain an accurate record of financial transactions
  • Update and maintain the general ledger
  • Develops system to account for financial transactions by establishing a chart of accounts; defining bookkeeping policies and procedures
  • Complies with federal, state, and local legal requirements by studying requirements; enforcing adherence to requirements; filing reports; advising management on needed actions
  • Contributes to team effort by accomplishing related results as needed
  • Complete tax forms

Bookkeeper skills

To be an effective bookkeeper, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Data entry skills
  • Solid understanding of basic bookkeeping and accounting payable/receivable principles
  • Customer service orientation and negotiation skills
  • Accounting
  • Attention to detail
  • Hands-on experience with spreadsheets and proprietary software

How to find a bookkeeper job

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the bookkeeper jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for bookkeeper jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Bookkeeper Job Titles

When you search for bookkeeper jobs online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for bookkeeper jobs include;

  • Examiner
  • Auditing clerks
  • Accounts clerks

What does a bookkeeper do?

The job of a bookkeeper varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of bookkeeper job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a bookkeeper include;

  • Deal with sales invoices, income, receipts and payments
  • Prepare statements to show income and payments
  • Complete VAT returns
  • Check that accounts are accurate
  • Prepare wages and managing claims for expenses
  • Help to prepare annual accounts
  • Use computerised accounting systems
  • Handle commercially sensitive and valuable information

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