Bookkeepers manage, sort, and analyze financial data for businesses. Accuracy is key to the position. As such, bookkeepers must be well-versed in spreadsheet and database analysis programs including Excel, QuickBooks, and other payroll software. They must practice sound accounting principles and know how to produce accounts receivable and payable, cash flow, balance sheets, profit statements, receipts, and invoices. Some bookkeepers may travel, and many work overtime, especially during the busy holiday seasons and the weeks leading to quarter close.
While many bookkeeping positions require a high school diploma, obtaining a professional certification can open up more opportunities and better demonstrate ability to potential employers. Formal training options include an Associate's Degree program or a certification from an accredited school. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers offers certification for bookkeepers who meet the qualifications. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states that a bookkeeping certification demonstrates a bookkeeper's skills and knowledge of financial principles. Applicants must have at least two years of on-the-job experience to qualify for the certification exam.
High School Coursework
A high school diploma can provide a valuable introduction to bookkeeping. Students should take advantage of courses such as English, algebra, computer applications, and accounting. Familiarity with these subjects will give aspiring bookkeepers a solid starting point from which they can gain job experience or enroll in a fast track training program.
Bookkeeping Certification Programs
Schools such as the CCI Training Center offer flexible bookkeeping course programs that can help you earn a certification or begin a career in accounting or finance. The courses teach vital bookkeeping skills including inventory valuation, financial statement analysis, asset depreciation, and essential software. Students will gain experience working with QuickBooks, Peachtree, and other office applications. They will also learn about broader business topics such as partnerships, and corporate accounting to achieve a well-rounded education. The CCI Training Center focuses on teaching students the tools they need to begin a rewarding career in a short span of time.
Entry-level bookkeeping positions are open to applicants who have completed a bookkeeping program. There, employees will gain the necessary experience to proceed to the next step: earning a professional bookkeeping certification. Under the guidance of a senior bookkeeper, employees will learn how to generate financial reports, collaborate with other departments, and various other office skills. Because each company has its own way of performing and managing tasks, new hires should pay close attention in order to be able to adapt their knowledge to future roles.
Obtaining the Certified Bookkeeper Designation
With a solid foundation of high school coursework, completion of a bookkeeping training program, and two years of job experience, bookkeepers can then apply for the prestigious certified designation offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. The certification process consists of two segments. First, applicants must pass a four-part exam that tests their knowledge of various bookkeeping topics. This is where bookkeepers can put what they learned at the CCI Training Center or other fast track school to good use. Next, applicants must agree to abide by a strict code of ethics that define how to behave in a professional setting and things to avoid. The code is designed to protect bookkeepers, employers, and clients from unfavorable outcomes.