How to Become a Bookkeeper

Bookkeepers play an important role in supporting small and medium-sized businesses. They are responsible for maintaining financial records of a business. This involves administrative and accounting tasks. In some business they do this by hand in a ledger. However, in today’s world computer software rules. 

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Whether by hand or with the help of technology, the basic system of double entry bookkeeping is used. This method allows bookkeeping to cross borders. For that reason, it is considered an international profession.

Bookkeepers are expected to maintain accurate records and to provide financial info to management. This can assist in good decision-making for the business. The first step to gain the proper skills is to complete a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping.

What tasks can you expect as a bookkeeper?

  • Recording financial transactions of a business including purchases, sales, receipts and payments. This can be done manually or by using accounting software.
  • Preparing and sending invoices and/or purchase orders.
  • Monitoring cash flow and debts.
  • Processing payroll and maintaining employee records, including entitlements.
  • Bank reconciliation with accounts.
  • Producing reports for management. These include balance sheets, income statements and other financial documents. If the business employs an accountant, these will go to that person as well.
  • Reporting any data irregularities to management.
  • Making suggestions for process improvements to management.

Please note that expectations will vary from business to business. Some of the tasks above may not be the responsibility of the bookkeeper, depending on the size of the operation.

Becoming a BAS Agent

Some bookkeepers may also be expected to prepare and lodge Business Activity Statements (BAS) for taxation purposes. In order to do so in an official capacity, BAS agent registration is required. This is because there is complexity involved with the obligations of GST, PAYG Withholding (payroll), PAYG Instalment Payments, FBT Payments, WET, Fuel Tax, LCT, etc. Interested persons need to have completed at least a Certificate IV level qualification in Accounting and Bookkeeping to apply for registration. They will also have to complete many hours of relevant work experience.

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What skills are employers looking for?

  • Strong organisational skills
  • Good attention to detail
  • Great data entry skills
  • Ability to maintain records
  • Knowledge of bookkeeping principles
  • Good communication skills
  • Honesty & integrity
  • Self-motivation & discipline
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Interest in numbers
  • Computer skills / Microsoft Office proficiency

If this sounds like you, search our latest bookkeeper jobs.

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written by alison starratt