So, you want to be a bookkeeper?

The profession – what’s a bookkeeper?

The dictionary defines a bookkeeper as a person whose job is to keep the financial records of a business. These days, however, being a bookkeeper involves much more than that. Whilst entering data and reconciling the financials is still paramount, a good bookkeeper will have an understanding of business. Helping a business owner get the best from their business should be priority one.


There is currently no requirement to have a formal qualification to work as a bookkeeper in Australia. However, without the minimum requirements of Cert IV in Accounting or Bookkeeping, you cannot legally perform BAS Agent or Tax Agent Services.

TAFE in Australia offers a variety of bookkeeping courses.

A typical day …

Bookkeepers should be well organised and great at working with systems. Most bookkeepers use cloud based accounting systems, such as Xero, MYOB or Reckon, to name a few, so being computer literate is essential.

A typical day involves reconciling transactions, preparing invoices, payments to suppliers, tracking inventory, and data entry. Business reporting and general business monitoring are also part and parcel of the role. As the bookkeeper, it’s also important to keep an eye on the overall business. A good bookkeeper will look at business performance and assist the business owners is identifying ways to improve.

The best part …

Most professional bookkeepers will tell you that the best part of their job is working collaboratively with their clients to help them improve their business. A good bookkeeper knows how to use the latest technology and systems to improve a client’s business. “The highlight is definitely seeing an improvement in a client’s business”, says Nicolle a bookkeeping professional, “Ensuring that we have good cash flow and seeing how that can benefit a small business is the best part of the job for me”.

The biggest misconception about the job …

Whilst it’s true that some small business owners neglect the financial side of their business, collecting receipts in a shoebox and then handing these to a bookkeeper to sort out, it’s fair to say that it’s not the norm these days. With the introduction of cloud based accounting and apps that now do the day to day heavy lifting, bookkeepers are free to do other things. Most bookkeepers spend time in their week looking at the overall business, how to improve it and add value through reporting to business owners.

Try a career as a bookkeeper if …

  • You are well organised and have an eye for detail;
  • Like working with numbers and have an interest in small business;
  • Problem solving is your thing;
  • Enjoy technology and putting that into practice;
  • Want a flexible, family friendly career.



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