bookkeeper job
26-Jun-2021 By - team

What does a bookkeeper do all day? The majority of the work revolves around numbers, mainly using various accounting principles and math skills to keep companies’ financial records. The job’s specifics depend primarily on the type of company you work for, but the daily bookkeeper routine’s basics are similar from one position to the next.

Maintain Financial Records

What’s a bookkeeper? The primary responsibility is maintaining and updating financial records for a company. This usually includes balancing and updating bank accounts to ensure that all payments and deposits have been accurately reported.

 

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Part of a bookkeeper’s daily responsibilities includes figuring out which payments need to be remitted, if any, then submitting the payments and recording them in the financial ledger. Many bookkeepers also receive payments from clients, patients or customers. They make the deposits at the company’s financial institution and record them in the financial ledger.

Communicate daily

Maintaining financial records is often a time-consuming task because it requires extreme accuracy across every single financial transaction. Part of being accurate is communicating with colleagues or clients. Bookkeepers must maintain and balance financial records daily, including transactions from coworkers. It can be challenging to record those daily transactions without solid communication.

Bookkeepers often need to get receipts for company purchases made by coworkers, reimburse employees for expenditures, create travel vouchers, disperse petty cash and record receipts for all transactions. An organised system of receipt submission, expense account reimbursement and cash distribution can improve communication lines. Organisation and communication help to ensure no transactions get missed, so the financial records stay current and accurate.

Inventory and Budget Needs

As a liaison between departments, a bookkeeper interacts with department heads daily to discuss inventory needs. If merchandise, products or office supplies are running low, the bookkeeper must order more. If the company doesn’t have department heads or employees responsible for tracking and maintaining inventory, it might be the bookkeeper’s job to record these inventory levels.

Many bookkeepers also meet with department managers to discuss budget needs and budget constraints. Because a significant part of the job is balancing the books, the bookkeeper must make sure funds are appropriately allocated for each expenditure.

Job Opportunities

Larger companies often hire one or more in-house bookkeepers and accountants to handle all the financial records. If you work for a corporation, you’ll likely be one of a team in the accounting department daily. Smaller companies may hire a single bookkeeper to do all of the work.

Another option is to run your own bookkeeping company where you work for several smaller clients. Some small companies can’t justify hiring a full-time bookkeeper, so they outsource the job to an independent bookkeeper. Being a bookkeeper from home and working with multiple companies gives you more flexibility to work with different clients and schedule your work. But you do lose the stability and benefits that come with working for a larger company.

Education and Salary

Bookkeepers aren’t required to obtain certification through an organisation or institution. Some bookkeepers may land a job with only a high school diploma. Still, many employers prefer to hire bookkeepers with at least some postsecondary work or a college degree in finance, record-keeping or business.

Most companies rely on accounting software to handle daily bookkeeping. Having experience in those software programs makes you a more attractive candidate for a company hiring a bookkeeper.

As of May 2017, the median annual salary for a bookkeeper was $39,240. The median wage is the halfway point, with half of the bookkeepers making less and half making more.

Duties and responsibilities of a Bookkeeper

You’re daily ‘to make’ list will generally look something like this:

  • Balancing accounts (also known as ‘double bookkeeping’)
  • Processing sales invoices, receipts and payments
  • Completing VAT returns
  • Preparing invoices for the Inland Revenue
  • Checking company bank statements
  • Repairing cash flow statements
  • Dealing with financial paperwork and filing

You’ll also help prepare the profit and loss sheets for the annual accounts.

If you work in a big company, a team of you will share the workload. If you work for a smaller organisation, you might be responsible for all of those tasks along with some payroll duties too.

Bookkeeper working hours

The job offers good work/life balance as most of the time you’ll work 9 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. There may be the odd time when it’s hectic, and you need to perform a few extra hours.

Most of your time will be spent answering enquiries and processing requests from your desk.

There are opportunities for part-time and job sharing. Temporary work is often available too. You could also work freelance to work the hours that suit you. 

There are positions across a wide range of organisations, so it’s best you chose an industry you are interested in – health, public sector, charities, for example. The larger your company, the more progression opportunities there will be. With experience and qualifications, you could choose to be self-employed, supporting several smaller businesses. If you’re looking for long-term opportunities, finance clerks can quickly move into payroll administration or further study move into accountancy.

Reasons for becoming a Bookkeeper

bookkeeping job

The regular 9-5 hours mean you can still have an active social life after work and finally see your mates on a weeknight.

The most challenging part of being a Bookkeeper

In your early years as a bookkeeper, you won’t be rolling in cash as the salary isn’t huge.

What qualifications do you need to be a Bookkeeper?

Although there are no minimum entry requirements, it will help if you have GCSEs, especially in maths and English. Any computer skills you can play up will also boost your CV.

It’s most likely you’ll learn many of your skills on the job, starting as a junior. You’ll be taught computer skills, general office procedures etc., by more experienced colleagues. You should also be sent on an in-house training course or be encouraged to take professional qualifications on day release, part-time or via distance learning.

When you have reached NVQ Level 4 or AAT Technician level, you will be a qualified accounting technician. This means you’ll be able to produce financial reports and help accountants with audits.

Several valuable qualifications show employers that you are serious about a career in bookkeeping. These include NVQs/SVQs or specialist qualifications from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), specialist courses from The International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB), LCCI Practical Bookkeeping, SQA National Units in accounting and Pitman qualifications in bookkeeping, accounts and computerised accounts.

Skills needed to be a Bookkeeper

Apart from a natural flair with numbers, other skills that will help you become a good accounts clerk include:

  • An ability to work quickly and accurately
  • Good concentration
  • An eye for detail
  • An ability to work to deadlines
  • Good computer skills (especially with databases and financial software)
  • To be honest, discreet and trustworthy

When I speak to different business owners, they are confused about the differences between a bookkeeper and an accountant and how they can work together to help you keep on top of your businesses finances.  So I thought as we have just opened our bookkeeping arm, now would be an excellent time to shed some light on the differences.

Accountants help keep your finances in order, but bookkeepers play an essential role too. So what’s the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant? And how can a bookkeeper help you run your business?

If you’re a small business owner, you’ll be familiar with juggling several tasks at once. As well as keeping things running, you need to generate income, keep your customers happy and look after financial information. Tracking the financials can be a chore, though, and one of the biggest questions you might have is who you get to help with your accounts. Do you need an accountant, a bookkeeper or both? Let’s demystify things.

Accountants and bookkeepers have different jobs and responsibilities. An accountant’s primary focus is:

  • the preparation and lodgment of statutory returns
  • advising on legal entity structures
  • giving general business and financial advice.

Accountants are usually members of a statutory association. Qualified and registered accountants might call themselves CPAs (Certified Public Accountants), CAs (Chartered Accountants) or other titles, depending on the country they’re working in.

Bookkeepers can manage lots of different responsibilities within a small business. But the main focus is the organisation, recording and reporting financial transactions as part of a small business’s operational life. In more recent times, some bookkeepers have extended their range of duties to include:

  • training clients to use accounting software
  • implementation of document management and inventory control processes to create efficiencies within the business
  • implementation of POS (point of sale) systems that capture the daily transactions in a retail environment.
  • Develop, implement, maintain and review internal business processes.

You will often find that a bookkeeper has an area of specialisation, and it’s a great idea to ask them more about this when you are looking at hiring them for services.

What do bookkeepers do? 

Here are some of the tasks of a bookkeeper that will help to keep your business running smoothly:

  • Keeping track of daily transactions
    A bookkeeper can handle the recording of day-to-day bank transactions. If the accounting software you use has daily automatic bank feeds, this is an excellent tool for your bookkeeper to use. When your bank statement lines are fed into your accounting software, it’s much easier to keep an eye on cash flow, and it also saves on data entry time.
  • Sending out invoices and managing the accounts receivable ledger
    Preparing invoices and sending them to clients is usually the bookkeeper’s responsibility. Managing the accounts receivable ledger – and chasing late payment– is also likely to be done by a bookkeeper.
  • Handling the accounts payable ledger
    Up to a specific dollar amount, it’s usually bookkeepers who will make payments on behalf of the business. This includes payment of supplier invoices, expenses and petty cash.
  • Keeping an eye on cashflow
    One of the most critical tasks for a bookkeeper is making sure the company doesn’t run out of day-to-day money. They can do this by watching the balance of revenues to expenses. Then they can take action or offer advice if it looks like the company needs more ready cash.
  • Preparing the books for the accountant
    It’s the bookkeeper’s job to ensure that the accounts are valid and up to date when the accountant needs them. This allows the accountant to use their skills and knowledge to make business recommendations, report to the board and complete company tax returns.

In summary, it’s the bookkeeper who does the day-to-day work so that the accountant can concentrate on strategic financial operations. So bookkeepers play an important role – without them, accountants can’t do their jobs.

What Does a Bookkeeper Do?

Are you tired of doing your books?

Try Bench.

Whether you sell handmade alpaca socks, enterprise software, or legal advice, there are two things we can guarantee about your business: you earn money, and you spend it. Bookkeepers are the ones who help you keep track of all that.

If all your mental powers have been focused on getting your business off the ground, you might not fully understand what a bookkeeper does. This guide breaks down the bookkeeper’s day-to-day role and why a good one is worth holding onto.

Bookkeepers, defined

A bookkeeper is someone who prepares your accounts, documenting daily financial transactions. Bookkeepers have been around as far back as 2600 BC—when records were tracked with a stylus on slabs of clay—doing bookkeeping, not the oldest profession, but pretty darn close.

A (very) brief history of bookkeepers

In colonial America, bookkeepers would record transactions in a “waste book”—so-called because the data would eventually find its way into an official ledger. The original book would go into the trash.

Today any bookkeeper worth their beans uses some kind of software platform to track finances. But like those old waste book days, bookkeepers typically hand off their records to an accountant come tax time or when big decisions need to be made.

Bookkeepers vs. Accountants

bookkeeping tips

There are some financial tasks that bookkeepers aren’t equipped for; that’s where accountants come in. While bookkeepers record daily transactions, accountants use the information compiled by a bookkeeper to produce financial models. Bookkeeping is straightforward and transactional, while accounting is more subjective and calls for skilled interpretation—like helping you understand when it’s time to incorporate or filing your taxes to get the best return possible.

Bookkeepers offer a literal look at where you stand financially at the moment, and accountants help you see the bigger picture and the path your business is on.

You don’t need any special training to be a bookkeeper—you don’t even need a bachelor’s degree.

​On the other hand, accountants go through rigorous training and standardised exams to become certified public accountants.

But what does a bookkeeper do all day?

A bookkeeper’s duties will always include a fair bit of data entry and receipt wrangling. They’re responsible for recording every financial transaction in your general ledger using double-entry bookkeeping—usually called recording journal entries. That sounds like a mouthful, but often that just looks like inputting all your transactions into accounting software.

That said, bookkeeping is more than just dropping numbers into a spreadsheet—it takes meticulous analysis and just enough legal know-how. After all, bookkeepers will help you survive an audit by ensuring your records are in order, and your deductions are legal.

Let’s break it down further. Typically bookkeepers are responsible for preparing four critical financial statements:

  • Income statement (also called a Profit & Loss), which shows your revenue and your expenses over a specified period
  • Balance sheet, which is just a snapshot of your financial position at one point in time
  • Cash flow statement, which is a record of the cash and cash-like equivalents entering and leaving your company
  • Statement of changes in equity (also called a statement of retained earnings) which shows how your share of capital, reserves, and retained earnings have changed in a reporting period

Some other essential things they can do to help your business run like a well-oiled machine:

  • Manage accounts receivable and accounts payable (make sure you get paid on time, and pay your bills on time)
  • Collect and remit sales tax to the government
  • Monitor debt levels and apply the payment to any debt as it comes up for payment
  • Record incoming cash and deposit at the bank
  • Handle bank reconciliations every month
  • Equip your CPA with accurate financial statements to come tax time
  • Maintain your annual budget
  • Report on issues and variances when they pop up
  • Process payroll

They can also usually take care of some of the tax preparation so that your accountant has less to do (which is a good thing because bookkeepers are less expensive than a CPA). But they won’t be able to help you with tax planning or handling your tax return.

What a bookkeeper can do for your business

Why do you need a bookkeeper? If you have a top-notch bookkeeper, you’ll reap some of the following benefits:

  • Better budgeting decisions, knowing exactly where your money is going
  • Peace of mind knowing your books are in order and tax season won’t be a scramble
  • Audit-proof business with detailed documentation
  • More hours in your day to focus on your business
  • Understand the seasonal flow of your business
  • Understand the key metrics in your business: revenue, costs, profitability, etc.

If you run a small business, you won’t need a full-time bookkeeper. You can either get some bookkeeping software and do it yourself, or you can outsource your bookkeeping to a part-time, virtual bookkeeping service like Bench.

Somehow “bean counter” has become a derogatory term. But anyone who has tried to manage the income and expenses of their own business knows that bookkeepers deserve some profound respect.

It’s a role that takes the curiosity and drives to always get to the bottom of unresolved questions—and the willingness to do a little sleuthing when numbers don’t add up. It also involves a great deal of trust. Not only are you entrusting your bookkeeper with sensitive data, but you are also relying on their accuracy. A good bookkeeper never cuts corners, and they are indispensable to business owners who want to spend time growing their business instead of maintaining it.

Guest post by : team Form -

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