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Why a Career in Bookkeeping?

bookkeeper Mar 06, 2018

Bookkeeping doesn’t require selling stuff to friends, having parties, buying inventory or recruiting others.  

It is a career that has been around for generations, one that thanks to modern technology you can now do from anywhere, for anyone, at any time.

Every business needs a bookkeeper!   And there are literally millions of small businesses across the country.  Growing more and more each day during this gig economy.

All it requires to become a bookkeeper are some basic computer skills, an interest in numbers, a passion for helping others and some basic training.

In return, you’ll find it to be a very rewarding career as you help small businesses (your clients) succeed!

According to a US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor statistics, the average bookkeeper in the US makes nearly $40,000 per year,  and likely works only 25-30 hours a week.

So how do you get started?

Well, first lets talk about what equipment you will need?
  • a reliable computer and if you want to get technical…
  • preferably a laptop with a ten key
  • or a desktop setup with two monitors
  • A secure high speed internet connection


Need help securing your wi-fi?  Check out our tech resources here!

You’re likely thinking to yourself right about now, wait I have those things!  And if you’re reading this post, that’s likely true.

But you’re also likely thinking that can’t be all?!  And ok, if you want to get technical some confidence in yourself and a positive attitude will help a lot too!

But, what if you don’t know a thing about bookkeeping?   You probably have more relevant skills than you realize.

So what skills DO you need?  

You should be really comfortable with computers.  Nearly everything you will be doing will be done on the computer.  

You should be organized.  Do you enjoy organizing drawers, closets, the pantry, whatever?  This is the field for you! Or maybe you like to organize things in a more indirect way, like you organize and manage your family’s complicated calendar getting people to doctor’s appointments, soccer practice, piano lessons, play dates and dinners.

Also, it helps if you are comfortable with numbers. But this does NOT mean math.  It just means you notice patterns in numbers like when the date is a palindrome, or the tip is already included in the bill, or there are a series of numbers in a phone number.  And to be honest a comfort with numbers isn’t even required. We have trained “word people” into great “number people”, because they showed an interest and put in the work.

Speaking of work….  We still haven’t answered the question of how you actually learn how to become a bookkeeper?  The simple answer is….. you’ll need to take a class. But probably not the type of class you’re thinking of… We’re not talking about a college class full of lots of accounting theory.  

Because, to be a great bookkeeper, you need real-life skills. But to get real-life skills, you need experience.   And to get experience you need skills. Feels like a bit of vicious cycle doesn’t it? Don’t worry, we’re sharing our favorite practical, bookkeeping courses here. Most courses are 20-40 hours and will provide you with the practical tools you need to start helping people with their books.

And that’s it! Be diligent with your classes, study hard, do your homework and congratulations, you are a bookkeeper!

Simple right?!  

You are probably a little skeptical that surely it takes more than just having the right equipment and taking a few classes to really become a bookkeeper?  But, this is where the self-confidence comes it.

Sure it’s something new and different.  But with the proper training and tools, you will be successful!

You don’t need to be a CPA or have a background in accounting to be a good bookkeeper.  In fact, in our experience, CPAs make terrible bookkeepers. Wait, what?! Lets talk about that for a minute.  What is the difference between a bookkeeper and a CPA?

A Bookkeeper is responsible for accurately recording transactions to keep the financial books for a company.  They will track your finances and provide you with informative reports on a regular basis. A CPA is an accountant who has passed rigorous exams and met licensing and statuatory requirements to be certified in a given state.  In addition to preparing and reviewing a company’s financial statements they often also prepare tax returns.

The bookkeeper will know a company’s books and behaviors far better than a CPA, because the CPA is only interested in the big picture at a given point in time, while the bookkeeper is involved in the day to day details of a business.  Both the bookkeeper and the accountant play an integral part in your company’s accounting team.

And as we’ve mentioned before, being a bookkeeper requires very little formal education, but some important training and practical experience.  It is an incredibly acheivable and rewarding profession.

So, you are now a bookkeeper.  Then what?

Well, now you need to decide how you want to apply your new skills.  

Do you want to go work for someone else as a remote bookkeeper?  There are many online sites offering virtual bookkeeping positions.  Beware of degree and experience requirements when applying. Also know the earning potential isn’t quite as high when working for someone else.  

Or do you want to start your own bookkeeping business?  

If that’s the case, then you’ll need to start a business.  Check out our “How to start your own virtual bookkeeping business” here.

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