Bookkeeper Job Description
A Broad & Varied Role
Bookkeepers, or Accounting Technicians as they are also known, perform an important role within organisations; something we have discussed at length previous when writing about the importance of in-house accounting professionals.
As such Bookkeepers, as with other types of accountant, have great job prospects which can be seen in the continually high number of bookkeeper jobs there are available.
Bookkeepers are responsible for maintaining an organisation's key accounting records, known as ledgers.
Day-to-day activities include recording transactions such as sale and purchases, and posting them to various accounts; preparing the financial information which professional accountants or business managers use when making decisions.
A Bookkeeper will be organised, efficient and skilled at keeping track of the various types of spending by the company. The position involves using relevant accountancy software and, typically, a Bookkeeper will be tasked with managing the balancing of accounts.
It is a broad and varied role, and if given exposure to many aspects of the accounting function it can be a stepping stone to a more senior or specialised accounting position.
Depending on the size and structure of the business, a Bookkeeper could either report directly to the business owner or be managed by an Accountant / Finance Manager as part of a team.
Bookkeepers can be employed in industry, commerce or the public sector. Most people in this job start their careers in a finance support role.
What does a Bookkeeper do?
Accountable for delivering an accurate trail of company transactions, a Bookkeeper can be responsible for a variety of activities including:
- Balancing accounts (also known as 'double book keeping')
- Dealing with basic book keeping
- Processing and paying sales & purchase invoices
- Recording receipts and payments
- Preparing and checking ledger balances and other monthly and yearly accounts
- Completing and submitting VAT returns and PAYE & NIC P32 submissions.
- Handling company expenses and payroll systems
- Using computerised accounting systems.
- Reconciling company bank statements
- Preparing cash flow statements
Self-employed accounting technicians provide a range of accountancy services to businesses. These tend to be in a specialist area of accounting and may include:
- Advising on annual / project budgets
- Advising on taxation issues and ensuring compliance with HMRC legislation
- Preparing end-of-year accounts
What hours do Bookkeepers work?
Bookkeepers usually work standard office hours. Busy periods may occur when processing end of month accounts and at the beginning and end of the financial year.
Part-time work and career breaks are usually possible, as well as temporary and short-term contracts.
What skills Bookkeepers need to have?
- Possess excellent numerical skills
- Solid organisational skills and excellent attention to detail
- Excellent communication skills, including relationship building with individuals across the business
- Highly computer literate with knowledge/experience of accounting packages
- Ability to work quickly, accurately and to deadlines, using a logical and methodical approach
- Possess relevant NVQ qualifications or specialist qualifications such as AAT
- Knowledge of Excel
- To be honest, discreet and trustworthy
How much does a bookkeeper earn?
As a general guideline, as a new starter you can expect to earn between £16,000 and £20,000 a year. As you gain more experience your earning potential could rise to £30,000 a year
You can also learn more about Bookkeeper salaries here
How to become a bookkeeper
There are two main vocational qualification routes:
There are no specific minimum entry requirements to train with the AAT, although a reasonable level of literacy and numeracy is essential.
Many technicians train while on the job via part-time study or distance learning, or on apprenticeship schemes that may be on offer.
Some may also opt to take a route with the bookkeeping professional body IAB
IAB - International Association of Bookkeepers. In order to begin studying with the IAB, you need to complete the registration process. This will provide you with a year’s student membership. After that, every time you enrol for a further course or exam, your membership will be renewed for another year.
The AAT Accounting Qualification is currently split into three levels:
- Foundation Certificate and Foundation Diploma in Accounting
- Advanced Diploma in Accounting
- Professional Diploma in Accounting.
You'll have to complete at least one year's work experience to be able to apply for full AAT membership and use the letters MAAT after your name.
Many study the AAT qualifications as part of an apprenticeship programme, combining on-the-job training with studying for the qualification.
The options for career progression within bookkeeping is vast. With an AAT qualification under your belt for example, you could with experience, progress into a higher position such as a finance controller, payroll manager, or tax analyst.
You could also choose to progress into becoming a chartered accountant by taking further studies with examining bodies such as ACCA or CIMA.
Local Educational / Training Centres For AAT Courses
Diverse Employment work in partnership with many of the local Educational and Training Centres in which we have branches. Below is just an example of where you could find AAT courses locally:
- Wise Owl Training Ltd, Gainsborough & Wath upon Dearne.
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