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What is Bookkeeping

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

A Job That's Right on the Money

Are you the one who always figures out how to split the restaurant check down to the last penny or who secretly loves it when your child asks for help on his math homework? If so, a detail-oriented job, such as financial record-keeping, known as bookkeeping, might pay off.

Job Description

Bookkeeping jobs can vary considerably across companies, but most bookkeepers use a software program to post transactions and enter debits and payments. They scour records and postings for errors and reconcile or report any discrepancies. These financial professionals, also called bookkeeping clerks, create financial statements and reports, and get deposits ready for the bank. Some bookkeepers prepare invoices, assist with payroll and make purchases for the company.

Professional, scientific and technical services employ the most bookkeepers, followed by retail businesses, wholesale businesses, health care and social assistance, and finance and insurance, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. About one-quarter of bookkeepers work part-time, making it a career path that allows for flexibility. But be aware that you might need to work long hours to meet deadlines at tax time or toward the end of a fiscal year.

Educational Requirements

Bookkeepers should have an aptitude for figures, like to ferret out financial mistakes, have an eye for detail and be scrupulously honest. If you find yourself looking forward to balancing your checking account or paying bills online, accounting for a company's money might be a rewarding career pursuit. While some people are hired as bookkeepers with just a high school education, most have at least some college classes in accounting as well as training in how to use bookkeeping software and spreadsheets.

To augment education, some bookkeepers choose to become certified. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers offers certification for those who have at least two years of experience and can pass a four-part examination. They must also sign a code of ethics. If you pass, you're designated a Certified Bookkeeper (CB). An alternate certification is offered by the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers. Requirements are similar to the CB certification, including taking and passing a four-part exam. Those who are licensed as Certified Public Bookkeepers (CPB) must also maintain 24 hours of continuing education hours each year.

Salary Considerations

The median salary for a bookkeeper is $38,390; the lowest 10 percent of bookkeepers make less than $23,880 a year, while those in the top 10 percent can expect their salaries to exceed $59,630, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those in professional, scientific and technical services can earn the highest pay, followed by bookkeepers in financial and insurance fields.

If you enjoy the challenges of bookkeeping, you may want to continue your education with a four-year degree in accounting or a master's degree. This advanced training also comes with a higher paycheck: an accountant's median salary is $68,150.

Job Growth Trend

The number of bookkeepers may drop slightly through 2026 as technological advances render some of a bookkeeper's duties, such as manually entering data, obsolete. Because of this, the role of bookkeepers may evolve to become more analytical, advising their companies on cost-cutting measures and efficiencies, for example, rather than some of the nitty-gritty tasks of financial reporting done today. Nevertheless, the overall profession is projected to shrink by just 1 percent, making it a job that you can count on.