Bookkeepers enter, maintain, and assess the financial records of a company. Bookkeeper jobs may entail performing a wide range of accounting duties, such as managing payroll, billing, invoices, accounts payable and accounts receivable. In larger companies, bookkeepers tend to specialize in certain aspects of financial management. Since businesses of all types require careful record keeping, there is a constant demand for qualified persons to fill an array of different bookkeeper jobs.
Large corporations tend to employ several bookkeepers to handle specific accounting and auditing duties. Accounts payable bookkeeping clerks are in charge of paying bills and fulfilling purchase orders on behalf of the company. Accounts receivable clerks make sure that customers are properly billed and that they pay in a timely manner. Payroll bookkeepers ensure that all employees of a company are properly compensated for their time worked. Other bookkeeper jobs at a large company may entail tracking fixed assets, entering financial data into a computer system, and auditing multiple accounts.
In small company, a bookkeeper may assume all accounting duties. A bookkeeper often keeps a general ledger, which includes all of the financial records of the company. Most bookkeepers work exclusively with electronic records, though some small companies still maintain physical records and receipts. Employees must be skilled at efficient and accurate data entry when managing electronic records, and display strong organizational skills when filing paper records and receipts.
Some bookkeepers choose work for private accounting firms, which handle the accounts and financial matters outsourced by various companies. Such firms usually stress that bookkeepers be extremely careful to keep multiple financial account numbers and information confidential. Many experienced bookkeepers offer their services on a freelance basis, doing contract work from home for various businesses. In addition to standard accounting duties, freelance bookkeepers must manage all aspects of their own home businesses.
To be eligible for employment in most bookkeeper jobs, a person must have at least a high school diploma, though many employers prefer applicants with college degrees in accounting, business administration, mathematics, or other related fields. Although certification is not typically required, some individuals choose to become certified to improve their chances of finding bookkeeper jobs. In the United States, the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) offers a Certified Bookkeeper program, which requires individuals to pass a comprehensive exam about accounting and ethics. Many other countries have organizations similar to the AIPB which offer certification programs for financial experts.