When I first started working from home, I began as a remote bookkeeper working for a few small businesses.
I thoroughly enjoyed having the freedom and the security of working for these companies from home.
Bookkeepers play an essential role in any business; they are responsible for recording daily financial transactions and generating reports for management.
They have an incredible amount of knowledge about the financial records of a business and are responsible for recording purchases, receipts, sales, and payments.
What Does A Bookkeeper Do?
Depending on the size of the client, an at-home bookkeeper could be accountable for any of these tasks.
The bookkeeper must record every expense.
- Bookkeepers are responsible for recording and reconciling expenses to their purchase order and on receipt of delivery.
- They pay suppliers on receipt of invoices ensuring receipt of discounts.
- Managing the petty cash and credit card purchases and log them into the system.
- Bookkeepers also track who is spending on what, so any potential additional expenditure is monitored.
Invoicing and Collection of Receipts
When people order goods or services from the company, the bookkeeper is responsible for managing and recording the collection of money from customers.
- Bookkeepers send invoices in a timely fashion.
- They ensure debtors are managed appropriately, so follow up on late payments and manage the company’s cash flow.
- Bookkeepers monitor the debtor’s payment terms and bad debts.
If the company the bookkeeper works for is large enough to employ staff, they will need to manage payroll.
- They check timesheets and ensure they are approved by management.
- Calculate Payroll tax and superannuation each month.
- Bookkeepers keep accurate employee records and personal information, including bank details.
- They process salary payments on a weekly, fortnightly, or monthly basis.
Bookkeepers manage banking information.
- Bookkeepers download banking information directly into the accounting system used.
- They reconcile the bank account to the general ledger to ensure all transactions are recorded.
- Bookkeepers also allocate payments and receipts into the accounting system
Small businesses use their bookkeeper to provide regular financial reports.
- Bookkeepers prepare the profit and loss, balance sheet budget, and cash flow forecasts to management.
- You will need the skills to review the accounts to advise on what areas need improving in the business and what areas are doing particularly well.
As a bookkeeper, you will ensure accurate calculation of all tax in a timely fashion; you will also need to ensure you follow all taxation guidelines and pay taxes to the government.
- Calculate variances from budget and report issues
- Comply with local, state, and central government reporting guidelines.
Bookkeeping Vs Accounting
Accounting and bookkeeping roles are often confused, with people thinking they are the same.
There are, however, many differences, but with both being equally as important to the business.
The bookkeeper is responsible for the ongoing recording and monitoring of financial transactions to ensure the business continues to run efficiently.
Accountants are responsible for analyzing and reporting on the data produced by the bookkeeper.
They usually have an advisory and analytical role in the company.
Bookkeeping Jobs Skills Required
There are several essential skills Bookkeepers require:
Strong Attention To Detail
As a bookkeeper, you must enjoy checking, checking again, and even checking again.
Bookkeepers reconcile the books of an organization regularly, all invoices are sent to customers, and payment is collected promptly. All suppliers are paid on time, so ensuring they check every aspect is essential to ensuring the company maintains its cash flow.
Making a mistake, as a bookkeeper will result in more significant problems down the track, so attention to detail is a skill you must possess.
If you make a mistake, however simple it may seem at the time could result in hours of extra work for yourself.
Great Communication Skills
You will need excellent communication skills as you will need to work closely with a range of accountants and non-accountants from across the business.
Bookkeepers need to be able to speak clearly and politely with customers, suppliers, and other external bodies to promote the company positively.
They also need to be able to turn accounting jargon into easy to understand information for non-accountants.
Bookkeepers usually are incredibly organized; there can be numerous deadlines requiring their attention, so being able to organize and maintain their workspace is essential to this position.
Data Entry Skills
Being able to record data accurately is an essential factor as a bookkeeper.
You must be able to record data in an accurate and timely fashion for inclusion in financial reports.
As nearly all companies manage their accounts online, excellent data entry skills are required. You should be able to input data in an accurate and timely fashion.
Businesses depend on their bookkeepers, so you will show commitment and be trustworthy.
They are relatively busy throughout the month, but at month-end, Bookkeepers prepare financial statements, reconciliations, and other tasks, which requires a commitment to ensure they are completed on time.
Understanding of Business and Financial Impacts of Decisions
Bookkeepers require the essential skill of understanding the impact of business and financial decisions to be successful. You need to know how decisions made now will affect the company in the future.
Bookkeepers complete projections of the future, so understanding the business is a crucial skill.
Excellent Time Management Skills
Business owners rely heavily on their bookkeepers, especially around the month-end.
If bookkeepers do not have excellent time management skills, it means they could miss important deadlines, which may be costly to the business.
What Will Small Businesses Look For When Hiring A Freelance Bookkeeper?
Business owners require a bookkeeper, which they can trust. They must be an expert in all things finance-related and be able to communicate acronyms and legislation to business owners in a way that makes sense.
To be successful in freelance bookkeeping, companies will look for the following skills.
Great Communication Skills
You must talk to your clients in a way that they understand, so breaking down all the accounting jargon into layman terms.
As a bookkeeper, you need to be able to communicate effectively to a range of stakeholders, including managers, customers, suppliers, and other employees.
You must also be able to ask questions. If you don’t understand something, then you must be able to be confident to ask why? What? How?
Software Management Skills
As a work from home bookkeeper, you will be expected to have a well-known software package.
Most companies will have a preference for software, so you must be appropriately trained in several accounting software packages.
You Need To Add Value
Businesses want to employ individuals who are interested in learning about the company, who want to be part of the team and share their ideas about how to improve aspects, and this is no different when employing bookkeepers.
The number one trait that employers will look for in their bookkeeper is whether they are trustworthy.
What Qualifications Do I Need To Become A Bookkeeper?
There are a variety of ways to become a bookkeeper from home.
Option 1 – Gain an education relating to bookkeeping.
The minimum educational requirement of becoming an entry-level bookkeeper is a high school diploma. I would recommend studying mathematics, accounting, English, and computer studies.
You can then attend a bookkeeping course at a local college, which will take you approximately a year to complete.
Many employers require their bookkeepers to have an associate degree in business, although this is not mandated.
An associate degree in accounting will take you two years of full-time study. Having this degree will open a variety of doors in your future in bookkeeping.
Option 2 – Gain Bookkeeping experience on the job.
If you are beginning your career in bookkeeping, some employees provide on the job training packages.
You will work closely with experienced accounting staff, who will teach you everything there is to know.
Many bookkeepers gain experience carrying out accounts receivable, accounts payable, or other financial, administrative roles.
Bookkeeper Continued Development
After you have gained a few years of experience as a bookkeeper, I recommend you attain a bookkeeping Certification designation.
A bookkeeping certification demonstrates to employers that you have the professional knowledge and qualifications to become a successful bookkeeper.
The certification is acquired through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers.
There are several steps you must achieve to collect the certification:
- You must have two years in bookkeeping experience.
- Following the code of bookkeeping, ethics is essential.
- You will need to pass an examination.
After obtaining the AIPB certification, the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers will continue to provide you with updates on current rules, regulations, and procedures in addition to offering professional education to further your skills.
They will also provide you with job opportunities and give you access to a forum, which will allow you to share knowledge and experiences.
Online Bookkeepers salary
The salary you can earn as a freelance bookkeeper varies with the complexity of the work, your experience, and the size of the company employing you.
An entry-level bookkeeper will earn approximately $19 per hour, but with experience, this will hourly rate will grow significantly.
If you plan to become a freelance remote bookkeeper, then you can set your rates and can often charge double, even triple that amount.
Several excellent courses will assist you in your bookkeeping career:
A great website which provides lots of free information about bookkeeping in addition to their training information.
DWM Bean Counter provides you with tutorials, courses, lessons, tests, quizzes, eBooks, and video tutorials to extend your knowledge.
This website has a great practice course, which offers individuals the chance to learn about bookkeeping in a mock business.
Incorporated in 2009, Illumeo provides a full cycle package of professional development.
They offer on-demand, webinars, and full certification programs covering audit, accounting, and corporate finance.
You can sign up for a free individual trial, then if you are happy, the subscription will cost from $299 per year.
This website specializes in QuickBooks courses for non-profit groups, churches, and small businesses.
The company also offers courses covering basic bookkeeping skills and provide some free charts and checklists that I have found to be useful.
A great free website, which gives you a wealth of information about all aspects of bookkeeping.future
The information is presented in a free bookkeeping styled course; this contains 20 modules covering every aspect of bookkeeping.
They provide a certificate after the course, but you must sign up for the PRO+ membership.
Future learn offer the bookkeeping for personal business accounting course which will give you the skills to become a bookkeeper.
You have three options when signing up for the course:
- Receive the course for free and have access for six weeks.
- Upgrade for $84 and obtain access for as long as it's on the website, you will also get access to the course's test and a digital certificate of achievement.
- Receive unlimited access to the course and the flexibility to complete several other short courses of your choosing with a year for $389.
The open learn website offers a free Introduction to bookkeeping and accounting course that will take you approximately 8 hours.
You can download the written course and complete it at a time convenient to you.
Remote Bookkeeping Jobs
A great website to find a full-time job at home with benefits.
They only offer remote bookkeeping and accounting positions to residents of the U.S.
The accounting department provides you with the security of a full benefits package if you are employed full time.
Belay was founded on the simple idea that all employees should be able to work from home while choosing how much they work.
Their contractors must be able to work at least 10 hours per work, but can work up to 40 hours per week.
They specialize in recruiting bookkeepers and virtual assistants.
ClickAccounts offers accounting and bookkeeping services to small and medium-sized businesses and has offices in California and Asia.
To apply for a role with ClickAccounts, you must send a cover letter and resume.
Founded in 2000, ClickNwork manages hundreds of people across the world that provides high-quality services.
They hire professionals for a variety of roles, including bookkeeping.
Two Roads is a bookkeeping firm that hires flexible remote bookkeepers.
They encourage their employees to work flexibly, organizing their schedules while working from home.
To be employed by Two Roads, you will need 4+ years of bookkeeping or accounting experience, excellent organization and decision making skills, and the ability to work 30+ hours per week.
SmartBooks is an accountancy firm that specializes in assisting small and medium-sized businesses.
They offer the opportunity to work full or part-time in their offices, but also provide the flexibility to work mostly remotely.
If you have decided working as a freelancer is more your style, then review the positions available on flexjobs.
Again another generic job search website great for looking for freelance, contract, or part-time remote bookkeeping positions.
You will need to develop a profile for potential clients to view.
People per hour advertise short term contract based positions.
You need to advertise yourself by writing proposals and setting a pay rate to pitch for the positions you wish to apply.
About The Author
Susan is a stay at home mum of three young girls. Originally a chartered Accountant, but moved into content writing so she could have flexibility.