While accounting is a more senior organizational function, bookkeeping is more associated with small and medium businesses. This is one of the main differences between these two functions.
To help you know what to expect from a bookkeeping role, I have compiled a full list of the roles, education, and competencies of a typical bookkeeper.
If you intend to engage a bookkeeper or you already have one, you might want to keep this as a checklist.
The minimum academic and professional qualifications of a bookkeeper include but are not limited to:
Knowledge of bookkeeping practices
Knowledge of generally accepted accounting principles and procedures
Knowledge of relevant legislation and regulatory requirements
Working knowledge of relevant computer applications such as QuickBooks, Sage, and Xero
Knowledge of data management and financial data analysis
An associate degree in accounting, finance or business an advantage
Bookkeeping certification from a recognized institution
A member of a recognized professional body
Away from their educational background, they should be able to perform the tasks listed below.
Note that depending on what you agree upon, the tasks may be less or more than the highlighted one. But generally, here’s what to expect from a bookkeeper.
Bookkeeping Tasks and Responsibilities
Check and verify source documents such as invoices, receipts, computer printouts
Allocate and post financial transaction details to subsidiary books
Transfer data to the general ledger and reconcile and balance all accounts
Prepare financial statements (trial balance, income statement, balance sheet)
Collate and analyze account data and generate financial reports
Keep track and maintain inventory records
Maintain internal control systems
Prepare checks, payments and bank deposits
Manage accounts payable and accounts receivable
Prepare and process payroll and comply with relevant reporting requirements
Calculate and prepare tax payments on a timely basis
Assist with audits
Assist with budget preparation
Maintain a complete filing system (soft and hard) to support financial records
Lastly, a qualified bookkeeper should have certain key skills and competencies.
Planning and organizing
Attention to detail
Information collection and monitoring
Problem analysis and solving
Confidentiality, integrity, and independence
The Bottom Line
In summary, prior to engaging a bookkeeper, ensure that you bring them up to speed with what you expect from them. If for some reason, they are not able to meet some of the roles or qualifications highlighted above, you may need to think twice about their suitability.
But while this post provides a description of the bookkeeping role, as I mentioned earlier, you may need to tweak it to fit your business setup.
Having trouble getting a qualified bookkeeper using this coveted checklist? Talk to us today…