Complete Bookkeeper Salary Guide
One of the most overlooked positions within any business is that of the bookkeeper. These individuals, while not the most visible members of an organization, are a key component to the continuation of a company’s smooth and profitable operations.
Whether it’s because they’re consistently keeping track of finances and posting transactions, or because they’re charged with recording virtually every financial activity that takes place within an organization, it’s pretty accurate to assume that most businesses would be far less efficient, and almost excessively chaotic, without a reliable and well-educated bookkeeper to organize tasks, finances, and meetings, and keep everything on track.
While this position might sound expensive – and it can be, in some cases – it’s actually a relatively enjoyable and rewarding position within a company of any size. It offers the right combination of daily tasks, individual and team-based work and interaction and the occasional challenging situation to be the right fit for a wide variety of personalities. With the right educational training and professional experience, it’s also low-stress and pretty easy to master.
Job Description and Outlook
Bookkeeping is becoming less about books and more about computer software applications. While the profession was originally designed to update and maintain financial and official record books for companies and organizations, it has now moved firmly into an era dominated by spreadsheets, databases, and applications like the popular software QuickBooks. This has actually increased the productivity of most professionals, which has, in turn, widened their relative scope of responsibility.
In the 21st century, they are charged with operating and navigating the company’s records via the software application the company uses. They use this software to enter financial transactions made by the business and to post those transactions to the company log after they have cleared.
They receive cash and checks from clients or company employees and properly log the transactions for the company’s reference. Their scope of financial responsibility also includes logging all company credits and debits into the software application and producing balance sheets or income statements that help keep the company’s budget on track. They may also manage payroll and billing, keep track of overdue accounts, prepare invoices and make purchases.read review here!
The software can also be used to produce a variety of reports, documenting anything from company finances to meetings and other uses of company time. These reports can be compared and contrasted, and they are checked for discrepancies.
This kind of double-checking can account for misplaced checks or cash, missed meetings or client interactions, and can help to keep a company accountable for its finances and interactions.
Education and Training Requirements
Despite the great number of responsibilities taken on by the average corporate bookkeeper, the educational requirements for this job are relatively low when compared to positions like those in accounting or for administrative assistants. Many companies require only a high school diploma for entry-level positions. Additionally, most companies are now requiring, at least, a basic knowledge of the Microsoft Office suite and popular applications like Quick Books and Time Matters.
While a high school diploma will work in many instances, a small number of companies do prefer their bookkeepers to have at least some post secondary education. Whether that’s in the form of an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree is up to the particular company. Companies typically prefer applicants who have degrees in accounting or business administration. As of 2009, 3 out of every 4 had some form of post secondary training.
However, a post secondary education is not the only way to land a job in the field. A specialized certification program exists to help train aspiring individuals in both the software they’ll be using as well as the best practices and procedures for the profession. This certification program, known as the Certified Bookkeeper designation, is administered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. It requires two years of experience, a four-part exam, and knowledge of an extensive code of ethics for those in the profession.
A second certification, known as the Uniform Bookkeeper Certification, is administered by the National Bookkeepers Association. It involves a 50-question online examination, and those who take the exam must get 80 percent of those questions correct in order to pass.
Salary Facts and Statistics
The United States Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that there are just over 1.6 million professionals currently employed throughout the country. The mean hourly wage among all of these professionals is just over seventeen dollars per hour, at $17.37. That adds up to a mean annual wage of $36,120 for the profession.
Entry-level professionals who are just beginning their career can expect a relatively low starting salary, with the national average coming out to $21,450 per year. Midway through their careers, the middle 50 percent of earners in the profession earn $34,740 year.see post from http://www.bdonline.co.uk/article-25-bookkeeper-gets-four-years/5079400.article
That’s a relatively solid record of raises and experience-based rises in income, and it continues as those who reach their top salary and become among the most experienced professionals in their organization. At the top of the income scale, the most seasoned and experienced individuals in the country earn more than the median American wage per capita. The top ten percent earn $53,250 on average annually.
As noted earlier, one of the best degrees a potential bookkeeper can pursue is an Associate’s degree, or a Bachelor’s degree, in accounting. That’s not a meaningless requirement according to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics. The Bureau notes that the highest levels of employment are found within a niche that it labels “Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services.”
These professionals are directly responsible for the business’ finances, and they often work directly with accountants within the organization. Being able to understand accounting practices leads to the best chance for both employment and advancement once a job has been secured.
Beyond the accounting roles enjoyed by the vast majority, others find themselves in management positions within organizations or working in government positions. Approximately 3 percent of them working in the United States work in depository credit intermediation while a small minority work for primarily and secondary educational institutions.
Among the states with the largest number of bookkeepers, California ranks the highest. Other major centers are closely aligned with large cities and areas that hold many major corporations. That includes the northeast corridor – states like Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – as well as Illinois, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Texas. Nationwide, the profession is growing at the rate of 1.4% per year (about as fast as average). It is expected to continue doing so for the foreseeable future, much to the delight of those engaged in educational programs or certification examinations.