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What is a bookkeeper?

Author:
Harold Averkamp, CPA, MBA

Definition of Bookkeeper

A bookkeeper is usually employed by a small to mid-size company (or other organization) to process and record the large volume of transactions involving sales, purchases, payroll, collection of accounts receivable, payment of bills, and more. After the recording of the transactions, an accountant or the business owner will review the bookkeeper’s work and make the required adjusting entries before the company’s financial statements are distributed.

(Larger companies are likely to have accounts payable clerks, payroll clerks, cost accounting clerks, etc. instead of bookkeepers.)

Related: What is the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?

What a Bookkeeper Should Know

Bookkeepers are not expected to have a four-year or five-year college degree in accounting. However, the bookkeeper must be able to work quickly and accurately. Today’s bookkeeper must be comfortable with accounting software such as QuickBooks and electronic worksheets. Being proficient with accounting software allows a bookkeeper to stand out from the others.

Salary Range for a Bookkeeper

The annual salary for a bookkeeper could range from $18,000 to more than $40,000. Some reasons for the wide salary range include the size and location of the company, the bookkeeper’s responsibilities, the bookkeeper’s experience with accounting and other software, the ability to get things done without supervision, etc. (In terms of an hourly wage, the bookkeeper’s pay could range from $9 to $20 per hour.)

How to Become a Bookkeeper

My suggestion is to first read our free 13-part Bookkeeping Explanation and take our Bookkeeping Practice Quiz. Next, you can start studying each of the bookkeeping-related topics found on our Bookkeeping training page.

As mentioned above, being proficient in accounting software such as QuickBooks will increase your value. You can find online video instruction at lynda.com or you may also find courses on QuickBooks being taught at a local technical school near you.

Did you know? To make the topic of Bookkeeping even easier to understand, we created a collection of premium materials called AccountingCoach PRO. Our PRO users get lifetime access to our bookkeeping training videos, cheat sheet, flashcards, quick tests, tests for prospective employees, guide to bookkeeping concepts, and more.

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About the Author

Harold Averkamp

For the past 52 years, Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has
worked as an accounting supervisor, manager, consultant, university instructor, and innovator in teaching accounting online. He is the sole author of all the materials on AccountingCoach.com.

Learn More About Harold

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