How to become a bookkeeper

Do you enjoy working with numbers? Are you looking for a finance role with an excellent work-life balance? A career in bookkeeping could be ideal for you.

What does a bookkeeper do?

A bookkeeper is responsible for the day-to-day financial aspects of a business. Usually working 9-5, bookkeeping is a respected and stable profession.

Some of your everyday duties would be:

  • Processing and recording financial transactions
  • Producing reports such as annual tax returns
  • Checking figures, records and reports for accuracy, and correcting any differences
  • Communicating with individuals to ensure invoices are paid and received on time.

Where can I work?

Every profession needs a bookkeeper, so you’ll have the freedom to work in the industry of your choice, from fashion to technology, or the nonprofit sector.

Bookkeepers can choose to work in a large company, handling specific sections of the finances, or even heading up a team of bookkeepers.

Alternatively, you could work in a smaller business and be in charge of all of the finances. If you want a more flexible approach, you could become your own boss and work with clients across multiple industries.

How much could I earn?

If you’re employed by a business, you can expect to earn between £18,000 to £25,000 depending on location and experience. However, if you become a self-employed bookkeeper, this could vary greatly depending on the type and number of clients you work with.

Career opportunities in bookkeeping

Bookkeeping roles

  • Clerical Assistant

    Coordinate the office functions including any paperwork, records and data management.

  • Accounts Clerk

    Perform general accounting support tasks in an accounting department including updating and maintaining accounting journals, ledgers and other records detailing financial business transactions.

  • Finance Assistant

    Assist the Finance Director in managing, processing and troubleshooting different accounts and transactions.

  • Accounts Administrator

    Provide administrative support to accountants, such as preparing statutory accounts and checking to make sure payments, amounts and records are correct.

Advanced bookkeeping roles

  • Professional Bookkeeper

    Manage all aspects of the general ledger, accounts receivable, and accounts payable, as well as handling payroll information, credit card statements, and cash flow.

  • Accounts Manager

    Responsible for all areas relating to financial reporting. You’ll be responsible for developing and maintaining accounting principles, practices and procedures for accurate and timely financial statements.

  • Ledger Manager

    Proving an indispensable service to the finance team, accountable for the whole purchase ledger process, from purchase orders through to invoices and reconciliation.

What skills does a bookkeeper need?

You might be surprised but it’s not just a head for numbers that you need to be a bookkeeper – you need to be able to spot mistakes and talk to people. We think the essential skills for a bookkeeper are:

  • Keen eye for detail
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Good with numbers
  • Self-motivation
  • Excellent communication skills

How to get qualified as a bookkeeper

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualification covers bookkeeping alongside all the other subjects. So by doing AAT you’ll be qualified to be a bookkeeper. At Foundation level you’ll cover Bookkeeping Transactions and Bookkeeping Controls, and then at the next level, you’ll cover Advanced Bookkeeping.

Learn more about AAT