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What entails Bookkeeping

Updated on December 11, 2016

What is the job role of a bookkeeper?

Bookkeepers maintain the data going into a company’s financial systems that record financial transactions. They will often input all the invoices for costs and sales into the financial system, so that the accountants can summarise the information into financial accounts.

Bookkeepers are also reconcilers of financial information, so they will frequently check that the data input into a system reconcile to another source of information.

Realities of book-keeping

You would expect people working in bookkeeping to be well versed in both using database and spreadsheet systems. In short, they record the flow of all transactions to and from a business. The bookkeeper may actually raise all invoices and issue cheques to pay bills.

Bookkeepers also may run a company’s payroll and create some key reports for investors and management. Some of these reports will include balance sheet, cash flow managements and more. Bookkeeper roles will vary substantially between large companies and small companies. In a large company, bookkeeper roles can be narrow, as they may be responsible for certain types of data input or reconciliation. Meanwhile, in smaller companies a bookkeeper may provide many services which more senior staff in a larger organisation will hold the responsibility. Therefore small business bookkeepers will often have a wider skill set.

Bookkeepers qualifications can be attained from schools and colleges and do not carry the certification that an accountant holds. Bookkeepers are not permitted to sign off on financial accounts in the way that an accountant will be allowed to provide a company with sign off. The skills required for a bookkeeper are highly practical, so the courses will be geared around real life examples. There is also likely to be a substantial amount of on the job experience that is needed to gain your qualification.

Smaller companies often use freelance workers to provide bookkeeping. This allows some bookkeepers to work for themselves as self-employed bookkeepers.

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