How to Become a Certified Bookkeeper

By | August 17, 2016
How to become a bookkeeper

Bookkeepers play vital roles in ensuring effective recording of a company’s financial transactions.

How to Become a Certified Bookkeeper

Are you thinking of becoming a bookkeeper and would want to have detailed information about bookkeeping? If yes is your answer, then this post is for you.

You will discover what you need to do to achieve your goal of becoming a certified bookkeeper, including the training to complete and the necessary certification program to take to develop the required skills and competence to succeed on the job.

Keep reading …

What is bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping is the recording of financial transaction, and is an integral aspect of accounting in any business.

A bookkeeper while being tasked with recording financial transactions handles the writing of daybooks, fixing discrepancies in accounting, and keeping records of the credit lines of the business.

Educational Requirements and Certification

While a high school diploma may be the minimum requirement to assume the position of a bookkeeper, especially as an entry level into the career, some organizations may want to hire persons with some formal education; certification, or associate degrees, which are basic foundations for many bookkeepers.

Experience may be required if the bookkeeper has no formal training except training will be provided by the organization, and the knowledge of certain data processing and accounting programs and software such as Microsoft excel may also be required.

Most employers may also require that the bookkeeper possess a college degree, and depending on the size of the company, they may require that bookkeepers have a two year accounting degree, although very few may require a Bachelor’s degree.

Those who wish to seek advanced trainings may enroll in courses like accounting or have a business associate degree.
Certificate programs will require an associate degree, with a high school diploma or equivalent as prerequisite, and can run from between a year and two years.

A bookkeeper should have a strong mathematical background and be well organized.

Bookkeeper Certifications

Certificate programs exist in both classroom and online settings since bookkeepers are not required to have a license.

The certification exposes students to the basics of bookkeeping, computerized accounting; payroll, tax accounting, and business spread sheet analysis.

They also learn about computerized bookkeeping, sales and payroll, as well as business mathematics during the certificate program.

A couple of topics which the individual is likely to come in contact with during the certification includes: business tax accounting, excel in business, introduction to accounting, using computers in business, and not-for-profit financial management.

Bookkeepers can earn certifications from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, (AIPB) which provides evidence of skills and competency.

The certificate provides the individual the required ability to handle bookkeeping duties for organizations with as much as 100 employees, and requires that the applicant possesses at least 2 years’ experience on the job, signs a code of ethics, and passes a national exam and qualification.

Obtaining the certificate allows the bookkeeper to be designated a Certified Bookkeeper (CB).

This certification has a 4-part test.

Another body that offers certification programs is the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers.

Bookkeepers can participate in industrial conferences such as those sponsored by the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers, which typically lasts for two days.

Additionally, various colleges offer workshops and training for bookkeepers on common accounting practises.

Schools for Bookkeeper Training

A number of colleges and technical institutions offer programs that prepare individuals for bookkeeping certifications, exposing them to areas such as financial accounting, introductory auditing, principles of management, and human resource management.

The certification is renewed every three years by means of continuing education programs and courses.

Such institutions include:

  • Herzing University, which asides from offering MBAs and BS in Accounting also offers a Diploma in bookkeeping and Payroll accounting.
  • Remington College offers an Associate degree in Bookkeeping.

Should the bookkeeper be seeking advanced degrees or looking to boost his/her career in the future, institutions like Kaplan University, South New Hampshire University, Ashford University, and Virginia College offer programs which may upgrade the status and make room for better opportunities in the future.

Roles, Duties, and Responsibilities of a Bookkeeper

Since the bookkeeper handles financial transactions of any business or organization, his/her responsibilities will include:

  • Handling accounts and financial reports of a business
  • Making deposits, issuing receipts, and performing payroll duties
  • Preparing checks and handling of cash and bank transactions.

Bookkeeper Skills

Bookkeepers need to have a strong foundation in mathematics, organizational skills, and a working knowledge of the computer.

They also need to have ability to perform calculations, problem solving skills, knowledge of the use of business machines, and the ability to pay attention to detail and remain focused so as not to make mistakes.

Bookkeeper Career Opportunities

Bookkeepers have a wide range of career and job options to choose from. They can work in manufacturing, government, non-profit organizations, individual offices and businesses, educational facilities, and even in the hospitality industry like hotels and restaurants.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, career growth is expected to up by 11% in the period between 2011 and 2022 because of the growth in the general economy and the need for accurate accounting practices.

Salary Expectation for Bookkeepers

Bookkeeping, as well as auditing and accounting clerks have median annual earnings of about $35,750 depending on the location and business organization they are involved in.


There are training and certification that can help you to become a bookkeeper, to develop needed skills to be able to help businesses to effectively record their financial transactions, as well as to handle other accounting functions.

Becoming a certified bookkeeper will give you the opportunity to carve a career in various sectors and earn a good salary.

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