How to become bookkeeper

What does a bookkeeper do?

Bookkeepers record the financial transactions of a business. They file receipts, petty cash vouchers, VAT slips, bank statements and keep records of payments.
In addition to this their responsibilities also include:

  • issue invoices
  • receipts and debit/credit notes
  • check bank statements against records
  • balance accounts including year-end accounts for the Inland Revenue
  • complete VAT returns
  • keeping stock records
  • preparing cash-flow statements
  • calculating product costs.

Bookkeepers may also calculate wages - including PAYE, national insurance and other deductions - and make up pay packets. They may be expected to answer customers' enquiries by telephone and mail, and may perform general secretarial duties. 

What's the working environment like?

Bookkeepers work Monday to Friday, typically between 9am to 5pm. There are opportunities to work part-time and even job share within this line of work. Working freelance will also allow you to structure your working day around times that suit you best. Bookkeepers aren't just based in businesses. There are sometimes opportunities for bookkeepers across the health, public sector and charity sectors too. 

What does it take to become a bookkeeper?

Bookkeepers need a strong interest in figures and finance. They should be able to think clearly and produce consistently accurate work as well as be computer literate. Patience and the ability to concentrate for long periods of time are important given the scope of responsibilities. 

If you work in a fairly large company then you will most likely work as part of a team sharing the workload. A small company will likely result in you managing the bulk of responsibilities as well as taking on some payroll duties too. 

Bookkeepers should be discreet and trustworthy as they deal with confidential information and money. The work can be stressful, particularly when it comes to stocktaking or at the end of the quarter/financial year. There can be opportunities for progression, especially if you work in a large company. Opting to be self-employed can even put you in a position to work with several smaller businesses. 

For long term opportunities, financial clerks are able to move into roles within payroll administration or with additional studying, into accountancy. 

Further information

If you would like to know more about careers in bookkeeping, further information can be found below.

International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB)
Burford House
44 London Road
Kent TN13 1AS
Tel: 01732 458080.

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Examinations Board
Athena House
112 Station Road
Kent DA15 7BJ
Tel: 020 8302 0261
Web site:

1 Regent Street)
Tel: 01223 552552
Fax: 01223 552553

Pitman Qualifications
Giltspur Street
West Smithfield
Tel: 020 7294 2798.
Web site:



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