A Career in Bookkeeping06/05/2015 18:40:21

Careers in Bookkeeping


  • Work is relatively secure (competent bookkeepers are in demand)
  • It can pay very well
  • It takes a particular personality to succeed (many people find bookkeeping boring…which is a good thing for bookkeepers: that’s why they are employed by others to do it)
  • For the best chance of success in this profession you need to be good with figures, able to focus well and have a natural ability to be well organised

Typical jobs or career paths

Many bookkeepers are self employed, running a small business and sub contracting services to regular clients. Working on an hourly rate that can be more than double an average wage, this type of bookkeeper can earn a very good living with relatively little capital outlay.

Some self employed bookkeepers will build up their clientele to a point where they start employing other bookkeepers, or even accountants and other financial services professionals. It is possible from a small start as an independent bookkeeper, to build a substantial business, though this is generally the exception rather than the rule.

Skilled bookkeepers may also find employment in other small businesses or larger organisations in finance (eg. Banking) or just about any other industry.

Remuneration and Advancement Opportunities

Bookkeeping is only one aspect of the broad range of activity which makes up the finance industry.

Bookkeepers have a capacity to earn very good money if self employed; but when employed in another organisation, the opportunity for advancement may be more limited as they compete with graduates from accountancy and finance degrees.

Nevertheless, an outstanding bookkeeper may sometimes be offered opportunities to undertake further studies and advance into managerial positions, ahead of a less practical university graduate.

A degree can help, but in the world of money, an ability to manage money for better profit is always going to be more impressive than a formal qualification.


Stress & Responsibility

Dealing with money weighs heavier on some people than others.

Bookkeepers must be honest, ethical and take their job seriously. Despite the responsibility, they must also be able to keep a balanced perspective on life. The job should never overwhelm them.



If you are going to establish a business as a bookkeeper; talk to an insurance agent before starting. Ask about Professional Indemnity Insurance, sickness cover (to provide an income if you are sick) and anything else.



Different types of bookkeeping businesses will have different legal obligations, depending on your country (or state), scope of activity, office location, etc. Consider if any of the following apply:

  • Trading hours
  • Staff employment (wages and conditions)
  • Consumer protection
  • Legislation re: sale of goods
  • Health laws
  • Town Planning requirements
  • Weights and measures laws
  • Uncollected goods laws
  • Sales tax
  • Lay-by regulations
  • Laws relating to shoplifting
  • Restrictive trade practice laws
  • Prices justification legislation

Be sure you know the implications of these laws on your proposed business before commencing or committing yourself. 


Recommended Courses

Basic bookkeeping skills can be acquired through as little as a 100 hour course such as Bookkeeping Foundations, offered by ACS Distance Education (either by Correspondence, as an online course, or on CD)

See http://www.thecareersguide.com/product.aspx?id=395

ACS is an Accredited Training Centre” by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers. Students who complete Bookkeeping I course are eligible to join this institute See www.icb.org.au

For a more thorough training,

you might consider also undertaking Bookkeeping for Trading Businesses

See http://www.thecareersguide.com/product.aspx?id=396


For an even more thorough profession, you might consider a more substantial course such as a Certificate in Financial Management (ACS provides options to construct such a certificate using your own choice of electives, for example:

  • Bookkeeping Foundations
  • Bookkeeping for Trading Businesses
  • Financial Management
  • Starting a Small Business
  • E Commerce
  • Professional Practice for Consultants

Other combinations are also possible  Use our Careers Counselling service for more advice