How long does it take to become a Bookkeeper?
Feb 28, 2015 | 9:00 am
Skilled bookkeepers come in all shapes and sizes. From stay-at-home bookkeepers to those who work in professional office environments, bookkeepers provide a high demand service for a variety of clients and employers. Businesses and individual clients rely heavily on bookkeepers to keep their financial records in order. A qualified, experienced bookkeeper is a virtual gold mine of organization and money management skills.
Becoming a Bookkeeper
Bookkeeping is not a career choice that requires extensive time spent gaining a college degree. Most bookkeepers have only a high school diploma, although some employers prefer or require at least some college courses such as accounting or finance. Most of the education a bookkeeper receives comes in the form of on-the-job training while working with more experienced bookkeepers or accountants.
While there is no set time frame to becoming a bookkeeper, there is a standard amount of time needed to become a certified bookkeeper. There are two certifications available for bookkeepers, but at least 2 years of full-time experience working as a bookkeeper is required before a candidate is allowed to take either certification exam.
One certification available is the CB (Certified Bookkeeper) designation and is given by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. The second certification (Uniform Bookkeeper Certification) is offered by the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers.
Of course, certifications aren’t the only measure of a knowledgeable bookkeeper, but clients and employers often see them as validation of the bookkeeper’s ability to competently do the job. Therefore, it is safe to say two years is an acceptable amount of time to become a bookkeeper.
Basic job responsibilities for bookkeepers include the use of computer software to post and edit financial transactions as well as check for accuracy in reports and figure postings. Bookkeeping software is also used to create and edit spreadsheets and databases as well as produce reports, balance sheets, and income statements.
Job Outlook, Salary & Work Environment
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a projected 11% increase in bookkeeping jobs is expected through the year 2022. As technology advances, so will the need for experienced, tech-savvy bookkeepers. Currently, there are roughly 1,800,000 bookkeepers employed in the profession. That number should increase to over 2,004,500 by the year 2022.
The average salary for a general bookkeeper is around $35,000 with top earners bringing in more than $54,000 per year. As with all financial occupations, experience and reputation go a long way toward earning a higher salary. Bookkeepers who take the time to truly learn all they can about their profession will have no trouble earning top salaries.
Bookkeepers work in a variety of environments as either independent contractors or company employees. They are not asked to perform any kind of hard, physical labor. Instead, bookkeepers are generally desk workers, but may have to work long, demanding hours to satisfy deadlines or meet client needs.
Working as a bookkeeper can be both rewarding and satisfying. With only a two year commitment to becoming certified, bookkeepers can be off the ground and running with a promising career in a short time.