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What Do Bookkeepers Do?

Job Descriptions September 24, 2013

Bookkeepers are, generally speaking, the ones who record all financial transactions for companies. Companies can be large corporate giants or smaller mom and pop stores. Thus, the activities of a bookkeeper can vary greatly.

Usually, the most fundamental duties involved in business transactions include purchasing for the business, sales income, receipts, payments received and payments made. Note that bookkeeping is not the same thing as accounting, since the latter involves more intricate work besides just bookkeeping.

What Will You Be Doing?

In theory, anyone could work as a bookkeeper if it’s just a small-store-operating business. However, with larger companies more experience and education is typically required.

Transactions will be recorded with the company’s own software, or general ledger, unless they are counting on you to have your own system or organization. One of the most commonly used software programs is QuickBooks, which allows for online interaction, storing all accounting and bank transactions, and scheduling events.

Above all else, these workers are expected to report accurate information. They will not be expected to plan or economize the company, since they are not involved in CFO work, nor do they even work in an official accounting position.

Still, knowledge of debit and credit is important, not to mention working experience with accounts receivable and accounts payable. Larger firms will be interested in bookkeepers that can work with charts of accounts, payroll and tax reporting for the end of the year filing.

You are not only going to be recording transactions but also adjusting entries and finding discrepancies so as to protect your client. Mathematical skills are a must, even though the computer does basic accounting work for you. You must still oversee the reporting and discover any mistakes that do not mathematically add up.

Working with Various Programs and Companies

You can decide whether you want just one primary client or a variety of clients. Depending on what your clients prefer, you may work with a single-entry system or a double-entry system. The trial balance stage refers to a list of all the general ledger accounts with a debit or credit balance value. From there, an accountant will likely prepare the income statement.

Bookkeepers will often confess that the most trying part of the job is not the numbers but the people they have to work with on a daily basis. You must not only keep perfect records but be able to quickly explain them and discern information directly coming from company employees, who are not always clear about financial data. For example, you may have to get receipts from co-workers, or disperse petty cash, that sort of thing.

You will also have to report to multiple department heads if you work for a larger company and may need to discuss inventory, perhaps even placing orders for new products. The bookkeeper must stay flexible, since he or she will have to cover for inventory managers if a company does not employ them as their own position.

The good news is that you probably don’t need certification. However, seeking higher education from a trusted college, and pursuing finance, accounting or a related field is a shrewd move. This is a rewarding and fairly straightforward career that is relatively low stress. Make the move today!

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