What is a Bookkeeper?

What is a Bookkeeper?

Every business is required to keep a record on the series of transactions and activities it undertakes, for a given period of time. The purpose of record keeping is to be able to keep track and report the business financial conditions and performances. The act of record keeping is referred to as bookkeeping and it is done by what we call a bookkeeper.

In this article, you will learn what a bookkeeper is, the nature of its work, its role and work responsibility, career options, qualifications and certifications, and lastly, its estimated service fees/rates, salaries and benefits.

What is a Bookkeeper?

A bookkeeper is an individual, group of individuals or organization who is responsible in recording the financial transactions and activities of a business or entity. It is also commonly referred to as Accounting Clerk.

Bookkeepers or Accounting Clerk are liable and accountable in keeping the business book of records accurate and complete. They ensure that all business transactions are recorded in the accounting books, in chronological order, with sufficient evidences and supporting documents.

Role of Bookkeepers in Business

Bookkeepers play a very important role in a business entity. In fact, every business needs a bookkeeper which makes this job or profession as one of the most in demand careers and professional services.

The role and work responsibility of a bookkeeper in a business organization are the following:

  • Collect, identify, analyze and file documents supporting business transactions and activities.
  • Record valid business transactions in the book of accounts, in order of occurrence.
  • Responsible in ensuring accurate and complete records of business financial transactions.
  • Provide summary reports of the business transactions to facilitate professional accountants in preparing financial statements. In small businesses, some book keepers are the one who prepares the financial statement.
  • Provides necessary financial records to assist in preparation and filing of tax returns. In small business, bookkeepers are the one who prepares the tax returns.
  • Facilitate and answer queries in times of audit by internal auditors, external auditors or tax auditors.

Career as a Bookkeeper

Bookkeeping is one of the most profitable career or business since most businesses are in need of its service.  As a bookkeeper, you have two different career options to pursue. You can either be employed as bookkeeper or accounting clerk in a business entity or is self-employed providing bookkeeping services to different business entity or clients.

When you are employed by a business entity as a bookkeeper or accounting clerk, you are paid with a fixed monthly salary in performing the bookkeeping job. You will expect to receive other benefits such as allowances and bonuses. You are expected to report to work during usual business day operation. On the other hand, when you are self-employed or freelance bookkeeper, who provides your bookkeeping service to various business entity or clients, you are able to charge an agreed fixed rate for providing bookkeeping services. You are not expected to report daily to work, instead, you will only visit the business entity or client once or twice a month, depending on the size and nature of its business.

Bookkeeper Job Qualifications and Requirements

Bookkeeper job is one of the easiest careers to pursue and enter because the qualifications and requirements are not that hard to comply. College accounting students can perform freelance bookkeeping services even before they graduate. Even non-accounting students or professionals, who were able to attend bookkeeping courses, training or certification, can offer and perform bookkeeping services,

To give you a better idea, here are the basic qualifications and requirements of a bookkeeper or accounting clerk:

  • Technical knowledge in bookkeeping supported by diploma, course certificates or membership in a recognized bookkeeping association.
  • Relevant working experience in bookkeeping services.
  • Relevant number of hours of training in bookkeeping and basic accounting.
  • Detail-oriented and highly organized.
  • Computer literate and can operator basic computing software such as Microsoft Excel.
  • Knowledgeable on accounting and bookkeeping system or software such QuickBooksPeachtree, MYOB, , etc.
  • Effective in commutation, both written and verbal.

Bookkeeper Salary or Service Fee

Bookkeeping services fees, for self-employed or freelancers, ranges from $10 to $100 per hour, as of this date of publication. The bookkeeping fee or rate depends on the size and nature of the work, as well as the bookkeeper’s qualifications and expertise.

For employed bookkeepers or accounting clerk, the average annual salary ranges from $30,000 to $50,000.

Recommended Readings:

To learn more about bookkeeper’s job responsibility and bookkeeping process, you may refer to these books:

1. Secrets to Starting & Running Your Own Bookkeeping Business

This book will help you start setting-up and operating your own bookkeeping business.  You will learn how to choose the right equipment, find good client, compute your service fee rates, manage your time, set-up a system or business model, market your business or freelance service, and many more.  Read more here.


2. Bookkeeping Essentials: How to Succeed as a Bookkeeper

This book is a handy problem-solver that gives today’s busy bookkeepers and accountants the helpful information they need in a quick-reference format. Packed with practical techniques and rules of thumb for analyzing, evaluating, and solving the day-to-day problems every accountant faces. Read more here.




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  1. […] accounting process. The person responsible on the bookkeeping process is often referred to as bookkeeper or accounting clerk. They are the one who ensures the recording of business transactions in the book of accounts, such […]

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