Question and Answer: A Bookkeeper
Q: What does a bookkeeper do?
A bookkeeper’s daily job duties require strong accounting and mathematical skills. The level of difficulty and the amount of responsibility often depends on the size and structure of the company or organization. For most bookkeepers, there are several procedures and accounting tasks that are typically performed on a daily base.
Maintain Financial Records
Maintaining and updating financial records is a daily task for most bookkeepers. This usually includes balancing and updating bank accounts to ensure that all payments and deposits have been accurately reported. Part of a bookkeeper’s daily responsibilities include figuring out which payments need to be remitted, if any, then submitting the payments and recording them in the financial ledger. Many bookkeepers also receive payments from clients, patients or customers. They make the deposits at the company’s financial institution and record them in the financial ledger.
- Communicate with Coworkers
Maintaining financial records is often a time-consuming task. Bookkeepers interviewed by Durham Technical Community College reported that the most difficult part of their job was not maintaining financial records, which accounted for 50 percent of their time. It was communicating with colleagues. Bookkeepers must maintain and balance financial records daily, including transactions from coworkers. It can be difficult to record those daily transactions if they don’t communicate well with staff. Most bookkeepers need to get receipts for company purchases made by coworkers, reimburse employees for expenditures, create travel vouchers, disperse petty cash and record receipts for all transactions. An organized system of receipt submission, expense account reimbursement and cash distribution can improve the lines of communication.
Inventory and Budget Needs
As a liaison between departments, a bookkeeper interacts with department heads on a daily basis to discuss inventory needs. If merchandise, products or office supplies are running low, the bookkeeper must order more. If the company doesn’t have department heads or employees who are responsible for tracking and maintaining inventory, it might be the bookkeeper’s job to record these inventory levels. Many bookkeepers also meet with department managers to discuss budget needs and budget constraints. Since a bookkeeper is responsible for balancing the books, she must make sure funds are appropriately allocated for each expenditure.
Education & Salary
The Princeton Review reports that even though bookkeepers are financial record keepers, they aren’t required to obtain certification through any organization or institution. However, some employers prefer to hire bookkeepers with a college degree in finance, record-keeping or business. In addition, the increasing simplicity and availability of accounting software has made formal accounting training less significant to employers. Familiarity with the double-entry accounting procedure might be required for a bookkeeping job.