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How to become a Bookkeeper

by Chloe Baird
Posted: November 29, 2020

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Bookkeeping is a time-honoured profession. Did you know that the history of bookkeeping dates back thousands of years? In fact, the profession of bookkeeping is as old as the abacus, which dates back beyond ancient Egypt to Sumeria and Babylon. 

Today, Bookkeepers make use of much more modern technology than the humble abacus in their day-to-day roles.

Becoming a Bookkeeper is a great career choice for anyone who has a love of numbers, a keen eye for detail, and is looking for a career that can offer both stability and growth. 

Read on to find out what the main responsibilities of a Bookkeeper is and how you can begin a career in bookkeeping.

Bookkeeping Meeting

What does a Bookkeeper do?

A Bookkeeper is someone who oversees and maintains a company’s financial books. This may involve data entry, running reports, reconciliation, paying bills, and any other daily financial tasks that help a business’s finance operations run smoothly. The way cloud accounting software giant Xero puts it, Bookkeepers are always “taking the pulse of a business.”

These are some of the tasks a Bookkeeper might perform in their day-to-day:

  • Recording financial transactions and making sure the books are balanced properly
  • Bank reconciliation
  • Expense tracking
  • Running financial reports
  • Accounts payable and receivable
  • Managing payroll duties 

People sometimes confuse bookkeeping with accounting. While the two roles are similar, they are not the same.

A Bookkeeper’s role involves assisting a business with its ongoing finances. An Accountant, on the other hand, often has more to do with interpreting and analysing data. An Accountant’s role involves helping businesses to better understand their finances and what they can do to improve their financial position. 

This is where the two roles may intersect, as an Accountant may rely on the work of a Bookkeeper to gather some of this data. 

Is Bookkeeping a good career choice?

The average salary for a Bookkeeper is $1,234 a week, according to the government’s Job Outlook website.

Currently, there are around 100,200 people employed as Bookkeepers in Australia. This is a large industry with stable future growth predicted. 

One of the other benefits of a career in Bookkeeping is that it’s easy to do from home. With many businesses shifting away from the traditional office space, many employees are working from home. This has benefits for employees, as it means that many people are no longer impacted by area or a long commuting time when it comes to pursuing the job of their dreams.

Bookkeeper Working

What skills do I need to become a Bookkeeper?

1. A keen eye for detail

When you’re working with numbers and data, it’s important that you’re always focused and nothing slips by you. A small miscalculation could lead to bigger problems down the road. 

2. Analytical thinking skills

Sometimes when you spot an error or something simply doesn’t add up, it will be up to you to discover why. The answer may not be immediately obvious, and you’ll need to put your analytical thinking skills to work to solve the problem.

3. Communication and interpersonal skills

Bookkeepers need to report on the financial goings-on of a business. This means communicating numbers-driven information to people who may not have your financial expertise. You’ll need to relay information plainly and help people get a clear understanding of their finances and what’s happening with the business. 

4. A love of numbers

While you don’t have to be a maths wizard, you need to at least enjoy working with numbers and data. Are your Excel spreadsheets a thing of beauty? Do you have multiple puzzle-solving apps installed on your phone? Does completing a tricky maths problem give you a real sense of satisfaction? Then a career as a Bookkeeper could be the right choice for you.

How do I start a career in Bookkeeping?

Not all careers in finance require a university degree. 

To become a Bookkeeper, you don’t need a formal qualification. However, if you’re applying for jobs in this competitive industry, then a VET Certificate will help you get a foot in the door. This is especially true if you don’t have much prior experience working in finance. 

By studying the FNS40217 Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping, you’ll learn the fundamentals of accounting and bookkeeping, how to manage payroll, what’s expected when preparing financial reports and more. Having a Certificate IV on your resumé will help you to stand out from the crowd and prove to employers that you already know a thing or two about the industry. 

You can also build on your skills and experience by studying short courses—like the Certificate in Xero online short course

Are you ready to take the first step towards a career in finance? Enrol with OC today and start studying. 


Chloe Baird

Chloe is an Open Colleges alumnus who now works full time for OC as a Content and Copywriting Specialist. She is passionate about encouraging others to pursue their goals through education.

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