Bookkeeping refers to the process of financial record-keeping. Accurate financial record-keeping helps organisations to keep track of their income and expenditure, and to make sure that they stay within budget.
The role of a bookkeeper within an organisation is therefore to maintain the financial records of an organisation by recording transactions on a daily basis. He or she does this by performing the following tasks and assuming the following responsibilities:
- Making journal entries for all receipts, payments, and other financial transactions.
- Filing source documents for all journal entries recorded.
- Posting journal entries to ledger accounts.
- Preparing trial balances.
- Performing bank reconciliations.
- Preparing cash flow statements.
- Preparing financial reports.
- Depositing money received by the organisation.
- Issuing invoices for money that is owed to the organisation.
- Paying accounts on behalf of the organisation.
- Performing payroll administration duties.
- Filing tax returns.
- Performing other duties as required.
What about working as a freelance bookkeeper?
A bookkeeper can perform his or her role either as an employee of an organisation, or as an outsourced consultant or freelance bookkeeper. While all types of organisations require the services of a bookkeeper to make sure that their finances are in order, they may not all see the need to employ a bookkeeper on a full-time basis. This is where the services of an outsourced bookkeeping company or a freelance bookkeeper come in.
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What is the role of a bookkeeper in different types of organisations?
The role of a bookkeeper may vary from one organisation to another. In a large organisation, a bookkeeper will usually have clearly defined duties with a limited scope, while in a smaller organisation, a bookkeeper may be required to take on additional duties, including some that are usually performed by accountants in larger organisations.
What training and skills do bookkeepers need to be able to perform their roles effectively?
Bookkeepers can usually start working without having earned any specific qualifications. However, most employers look for candidates who have completed at least a certificate or diploma course in bookkeeping, and some employers will only hire candidates with bookkeeping certification.
That being said, there are numerous opportunities for school-leavers who are interested in pursuing bookkeeping careers to gain on-the-job experience by starting out in entry-level bookkeeping positions.
To find out more about the various bookkeeping training options, click here.
Bookkeepers can study further to improve their qualifications and to advance their careers. It is not unusual for bookkeepers to obtain additional qualifications in accounting, and to move into more senior roles within their organisations.
Bookkeepers should have the following skills and abilities in order to fulfil their roles efficiently and effectively:
- Numerical skills
- Communication skills
- Analytical thinking skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Computer skills (including competency in the relevant software programs)
- Time management skills
- High levels of accuracy and attention to detail
- High levels of concentration
- High ethical standards
- Honesty and integrity