Be a Bookkeeper

Every business must have a bookkeeper. For small businesses, the bookkeeper may be the proprietor, but the larger the business is, the more a dedicated bookkeeper--or a staff of bookkeepers--is needed. Bookkeepers track all the money that comes into a business and all that goes out to determine whether the business is making a profit. Bookkeepers are responsible for a number of tasks, including handling payroll, monitoring loans and preparing tax returns.


  1. Take relevant classes in high school if they are offered. Many schools offer elective courses in accounting, which will teach you the basic principles and how to use accounting software. Classes in keyboarding, math and other office skills are also helpful.
  2. Enroll in a vocational school, community college or university and earn an associate's degree in bookkeeping or accounting. While bookkeepers could once learn on the job, these days 2 years of higher education are required by almost all employers.
  3. Take advantage of computer labs to increase your proficiency with accounting software, keyboarding and a 10-key number pad. Speed at entering numbers using a 10-key number pad is a critical skill for bookkeepers.
  4. Ask for an internship as a bookkeeper with a local business to gain work experience that, combined with your degree, will make you competitive in the job market. It will also help you find an area that you're interested in.
  5. Accept an entry level job and learn as much as you can. You will probably be given a job as a clerk handling just one portion of the employer's books. As you gain experience, you will be assigned more responsibilities and will eventually supervise others.
  6. Earn a certification by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. Being a certified bookkeeper assures employers that you have a thorough knowledge of bookkeeping.
  7. To qualify, you need 2 years of work experience. You must also pass a written exam and agree to adhere to a code of ethics. You can prepare for the exam by taking online courses.
  8. Keep learning. The more skills you acquire, the more you will be sought after by employers looking for competent bookkeepers. You may even choose to return to school and earn your bachelor's degree in accounting.


  • Many bookkeepers find work with accounting firms. They handle the bookkeeping duties of several small firms who don't need a full-time bookkeeper on staff.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, because every business needs bookkeepers, there will always be plenty of jobs available.


  • Bookkeepers commonly complain that other staff members don't keep them apprised of their activities so they can maintain an accurate picture of the company's financial status. For this reason, many employers require all staff members to use accounting software to account for their activities, and the bookkeeper assembles the staff's reports for analysis.

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