How to Become a Bookkeeper
Becoming a bookkeeper can be a great career choice if you have an interest in finance and attention to detail. Here are the steps to becoming a bookkeeper:
- Earn a High School Diploma: Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks usually need at least a high school diploma, although some positions may require postsecondary education.
- Get Postsecondary Education (optional): While it’s possible to enter this field with only a high school diploma, some employers prefer candidates who have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a related field. These programs will provide a deeper understanding of accounting principles, taxes, and other relevant knowledge.
- Gain Experience: Many bookkeepers learn their duties on the job. Starting in roles such as a clerk or receptionist can provide this valuable experience. You can also gain experience through internships or part-time work.
- Consider Certification: Although not mandatory, certification can increase your job prospects. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers and the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers are two organizations that provide certification. Certification usually requires some experience, education, and passing an examination.
- Develop Relevant Skills: Bookkeepers need to be detail-oriented, have strong math skills, and be able to use bookkeeping software. They should also have strong organizational skills and integrity, as they will often be handling sensitive financial information.
- Stay Current with Continuing Education: As laws and regulations change, you’ll need to keep your skills and knowledge current. This can be achieved through regular professional development and continuing education courses.
- Networking: Joining professional organizations can also be beneficial for networking opportunities and staying informed about industry trends and job opportunities.
Remember, becoming a proficient bookkeeper takes time and experience, but with dedication and the right skills, it can be a rewarding profession. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, the trend towards software and platforms automating some aspects of bookkeeping is on the rise, which might affect the future landscape of this profession. Therefore, keeping up-to-date with technology and industry trends is highly recommended.
Example of How to Become a Bookkeeper
Let’s illustrate the process of becoming a bookkeeper with an example:
Meet Maria: Maria just graduated from high school. She has always been good with numbers and is interested in a career in finance. After doing some research, she decides to become a bookkeeper. Here’s how she could achieve this goal:
- Earn a High School Diploma: Maria has already completed this step.
- Get Postsecondary Education: After graduation, Maria enrolls in a local community college and earns an associate’s degree in accounting. This program gives her a good understanding of accounting principles and practices.
- Gain Experience: Maria finds a part-time job at a small local business, working as an administrative assistant. This position gives her some hands-on experience with basic bookkeeping tasks, such as data entry and invoice processing.
- Consider Certification: After a couple of years, Maria feels ready to take her career to the next level. She decides to earn a certification from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. To prepare for the exam, she takes an online review course.
- Develop Relevant Skills: Throughout her education and early career, Maria has developed strong skills in math and organization. She’s also learned how to use various bookkeeping software programs, which are commonly used in her field.
- Stay Current with Continuing Education: After becoming certified, Maria keeps her knowledge current by taking continuing education courses and attending industry workshops.
- Networking: Maria joins a professional bookkeeping association to network with other professionals in her field and to stay up to date with industry trends and changes.
Over time, Maria builds up a solid client base and gains a reputation as a reliable, proficient bookkeeper. She even decides to further her career by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in accounting, with the eventual goal of becoming a certified public accountant (CPA). Maria’s path highlights one of many routes you can take to become a bookkeeper, tailored to your individual circumstances and career goals.