Inside Bookkeeper Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Meeting Other Clients For Fun...
Several people think that being a bookkeeper is boring, but it is very interesting. Not only are you responsible for handling the books, you get to meet with most clients that other roles do not meet." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Business Admin at Daytona State in Florida; completed Associate degree in 2007

"Many Accounting Skills Are Needed...
I was surprised at how different accounts payable is from the other side of the ledger -- accounts receivable. While most conceptions are they are the same, they are completely different in the aspect that they post to opposite sides of a general ledger. Most smaller companies have one employee fill both jobs." (Accounts Payable; 2014)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Journalism, Data Processing at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas in 1989

"Accounting Shows You What It Takes To Run A Business...
Given that my degree is in finance, I'm surprised that I ended up in accounting. Accounting is pretty straightforward; crunching numbers and making sure everything adds up and is accurate. It does give you valuable insight into what it takes to keep a business running." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, male
School: Studied Finance at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis in Indiana; completed Bachelor degree in 2004

"Everyday Is Different...
I have been surprised at how much I actually enjoy office work. And for some reason, I really enjoy data entry and keeping things organized." (Administrative Assistant; 2013)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in South Carolina, female
School: Studied Office Systems Technology at Aiken Technical College in South Carolina; completed Certificate degree in 1999

"Business Skills More Important Than Math Skills...
I was surprised that dealing with all these numbers all day dose not give me a headache like it used to." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Accounting at Fccj in Florida; completed Diploma degree in 2007

"Variety In Career Options...
The notion that people in accounting positions lead boring lives and sit behind a desk all day are not true, many professionals go into careers where they are also in a position to travel and engage in various other business activities. I myself take four to five trips to various states each year and have had the chance to meet a lot of new and fascinating people." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in South Carolina, female
School: Studied Accounting at Capella University in Minnesota; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Prepare For Work To Be Different Than Theory...
I was surprised about how what I learned is applied in the real world. In school, you learn a lot of details about what is happening overall, but in a company, a lot of this is unnecessary for you to understand personally, as you perform a specific function. It is most important to have general skills and understand the general flow of tasks." (Accounts Receivable Clerk; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, male
School: Studied Finance at University Of Massachusetts Lowell in Massachusetts; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Assisting Individuals In Other Countries...
There are so many uncertainties. Nothing is ever straight forward. Having to work with people from other countries consistently is frustrating" (Accountant; 2014)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, female
School: Studied Economics at University Of Missouri in Missouri; completed Bachelor degree in 2008

"Bookkeeping Is Actually Entertaining...
Honestly, I wasn't planning on going into bookkeeping, and when the job was offered to me I was a bit wary, as the name itself implies boredom, long days staring at ledgers, etc etc, but I've found that I love it. It's easy work, it's peaceful and not hectic, and I get lost in my books quite a bit." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, male
School: Studied English at Parkland College in Illinois; completed Associate degree in 2007

"Job Brings Entertainment...
My current job isn't what people usually want to be. However, it is actually a really entertaining job." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Finance at SFSU in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2008

"Accounting Is Boring...
Accounting is the least respected area in our company." (Payroll Specialist; 2014)

Career: 19 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, female
School: Studied Payroll at George Mason University in Virginia; completed Certificate degree in 1994

"Make An Impression...
Being a bookkeeper kind of makes me feel isolated from others on my team. I often times get excited about projects but do not have any one to share in my excitement. I have made some good friends who are also accountants and we get along really well. It is important to make sure you can make an impression because of peoples preconceived notions about book keepers." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, male
School: Studied Accounting at New Hampshire Technical Institute in New Hampshire; completed Bachelor degree in 2006

"Hard To Change Careers From The Service Industry To Accounting With Limited Experience...
My profession is not a boring job just sitting behind a desk all day looking at numbers. There are many more interesting people who I interact with on a daily basis learning something new about the accounting industry everyday." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Louisiana, female
School: Studied Accounting at Everest College Phoenix in Arizona; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Details Are Very Important...
I was surprised on how much detail was in my work. and I was surprise on how much you can to make sure everything was correct, it is more stressful than I thought it would be." (Bookkeeper; 2014)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Louisiana, female
School: Studied Accounting at Oakdale Technical College in Louisiana; completed Associate degree in 2009

"Everything Is Done On The Computer...
I was surprised about how easy it was. I truly believe a person without accounting degree could do this job. You just have to type numbers into the computer and the computer does the work for you." (Accounts Payable; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Accounting at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Technology Changes Rapidly...
I am surprised more work from home opportunities aren't available. I thought in this day and age, we would have a forum setup for businesses to log in their work for bookkeepers to work remotely." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Accounting at Santa Monica College in California; completed Associate degree

"The Accounting Field Offers Great Job Opportunities...
What surprised me the most about the profession the amount of jobs available. There are plenty of job opportunities in the accounting field for example as an auditor, bookkeeper, and plenty more. In addition, you can choose to go into public accounting or private. The reason I believe there are many job opportunities in the accounting field is because people have the perception that accounting is boring, however if you like numbers and do not like to deal with people, then you should" (Accountant; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Accounting at Dowling College in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Variations In Job Tasks...
I was surprised that this job is not as monotonous as I thought it was going to be. It is interesting to learn the different types of accounts and have a behind-the-scenes look at how much work it takes to run a business. It is not just addition and subtraction with a calculator in an office." (Accountant; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in South Dakota, female
School: Studied Accounting at National American University in South Dakota; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Entry Level Pay Is Low...
I was surprised at the entry level pay. Most companies require experience, and your entry level pay until you get some experience is surprisingly low. If you were able to get an internship while in school, this may not be a surprise at all." (Accountant; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, male
School: Studied Accounting at Liberty University in Virginia; completed Master degree in 2012

"Interesting Job That Keeps You Focused...
Being in accounting is an interesting experience because even though you deal with the same types of calculations, you get to see how different companies generate their income in very unique ways. People would find bookkeeping to keep you very busy and you must be very focused because businesses are dependent upon your accuracy." (Bookkeeper; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Accounting at Brown Mackey College in Indiana; completed Associate degree in 2011

"Accounting Isn't As Boring As It Seems...
I was very surprised at accounting, mostly because I was never very good at math. For some reason, however, once I started taking accounting classes, my skills got better and I understood easily." (Accounting/Bookkeeping; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied Administrative Assistant/Accounts Payable at University Of Tennessee in Tennessee; completed Bachelor degree in 2011

"I was surprised to learn that there is a large amount of communication required between myself and my clients for me to do my work properly. I was also surprised to learn that each bookkeeping job takes more time than the scenarios did in school." (Bookeeper; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Maryland, male
School: Studied Bookkeeping at Accounting And Bookkeeping Center Of Towson in Maryland; completed Diploma degree in 2012

I am surprised how disorganized a major company can be. No one keeps track of their own schedule and always relies on other people do it. Insane." (Bookkeeper/Admin Assistant; 2012)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Communications at UT Austin in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2006

"I was surprised to discover how little practical application that most of the classes I took during my undergraduate education were to my career. Classes which taught skills such as using a ten-key adding machine, computer skills, and "soft skills" such as professional interaction and time management would have been more useful on a day to day basis." (Bookkeeper; 2012)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Economics at SUNY College At Potsdam in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 1975

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Accounts Payable Clerk: "As a business/accounting "person" the best part of the job is when things are in balance! Of course, the worst part of the job is when numbers DON'T balance. I also enjoy learning new things, and finding ways for our company to save money. The officers at the company where I work have mentored me in many areas, and I am amazed at how they examine and react to different business propositions. I wish there was more time to watch and learn more about their business plan. I find it quite interesting." (2011)

Bookkeeper: "The best part of my job is that all of the employees are like friends and family. Because we are a small private company, we have a casual atmosphere and an office dog who greets visitors like a receptionist. It's a fun place to work. There is not really any part of my job that I dislike. If I had to pick a worst part, I guess it would be at month-end when I have a lot of reports to run and more things to do so that I can close out the month for bookkeeping purposes." (2010)

Bookkeeper: "I have complete autonomy over my hours. Also all of my part-time jobs are within a couple of miles of my home. Some negative aspects are doing personal jobs that are out of my comfort zone. I have had to tackle many jobs that I have had no experience with. Many require research online to figure out -- great learning experience, though, I suppose. Working on PC's when I'm used to Macs has been challenging as well." (2010)

Accounting Assistant: "I love the people and Girl Scouting. I was a scout as a girl, and still am! Sometimes I have the chance to volunteer at a Girl Scout event, and I enjoy the children. They remind me of why we do what we do! I hate tax time and audit time. I like doing my job, but having someone come in and look over my shoulder for a week checking over a year's worth of work is not pleasant. Cookie sale time is a HUGE sale. We have more than 15,000 girls selling cookies, and all of the tracking of bank deposits and cases of cookies is a huge undertaking." (2010)

Career Background


  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Accuracy Equals Sustained Business...
A good bookkeeper is focused on accuracy because your client's business depends upon it." (Bookkeeper; 2014)

"Attention To Detail, Staying Focused...
Study very hard. It takes a lot of practice to know the differences between where to credit or debit an account. Having a good eye for detail is also a must. As with any job, working hard and being dedicated to your job is important. Being able to stay on task is a good quality too." (Accountant; 2014)

"Accounting Can Be A Satisfying Career...
If you are interested in accounting and want to be successful, I would advise paying attention in all of your classes and insuring your personal understanding so you never get lost. It can get scary when you drift and start drowning in numbers that are important to someone." (Accounting/Bookkeeping; 2014)

"Tax Preparing Is A Good Start...
If you wish to work in the accounting field, becoming a tax preparer is a great way to begin. You will learn a practical skill that can also become a part time job. You will also learn people skills to gain the information you need to complete your job." (Accounts Payable; 2014)

"Get Your Degree...
Get your degree in accounting and become a CPA or tax preparer." (Payroll Specialist; 2014)

"Being Detail Oriented Is An Important Skill To Have In Accounting...
In order to be good at accounting, you have to be pay attention to detail. One little mistake can changer everything, however the good thing about accounting you can always fix your work if you know what you are doing." (Accountant; 2014)

"Inside View On Accounting...
A lot of accounting work is outsourced so be ready to help people from other countries. It gives you an opportunity to learn about other countries and learn how to deal with others whose first language isn't English." (Accountant; 2014)

"Detail Is Key...
Pay attention to details while learning it in school. Make sure you learn everything and remember it while in school." (Bookkeeper; 2014)

"Have Positive Energy...
It is an understatement when people mention put your energy into it. It will really help you as a person." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

"Easier Career Transition...
One of the most beneficial career paths in accounting when changing from one career to another career is to start with internships to gain on the job experience to add to your resume while attending school. It will make the career transition easier in the future once graduated." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

"Learn As Much As You Can As Quickly As You Can...
Learn as much as you can in all areas of the office. When you run out of things to do, learn how to do something else." (Administrative Assistant; 2013)

"An Internship Will Help You...
If you want to get a good job out of the gate, focus on getting some work experience while in school. The best thing you can do is attempt to get an internship either paid or unpaid during the summers, so that you graduate with the degree and real world experience." (Accountant; 2013)

"CPA's Make More Money...
If you are looking for to earn a hefty salary after graduation then you will need to become a CPA. Just a bachelors in accounting will get you nice pay, but it is not where the big dollars are." (Accounts Payable; 2013)

"Knowledge Of Numbers...
Make sure you can deal with numbers all day everyday or you'll get really bored." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

"If You're On The Fence Give It A Shot...
If you are on the fence about a career in bookkeeping, give it a shot, or do some actual research on the job, you might be surprised. It's not nearly as boring as it sounds." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

"Take Time To Learn The Story Behind The Numbers...
Pay close attention to details. It's more than accuracy, but that's very important. Learn the story behind the numbers and you'll do your best." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

"Know The Basics...
A vital part of becoming a professional in the accounting field is being constantly aware of the most fundamental rules and regulations. It is critical for accounting professionals to know what is acceptable in terms of reporting decisions and how to find out the correct ways to do things if they ever have questions." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

"Bookkeeping Skills And Tips...
Working with a clear mind is the key to working with numbers. If you have a lot of commotion going on in your life, it will be hard to do the math problems required for bookkeeping" (Bookkeeper; 2013)

"Internships Are More Important Than Work Experience...
One tip I would say would be to pursue an internship, and maybe consider reducing paid hours at other jobs to do so. Unless you really need the money to pay for school, you will have an easier time finding a job and ultimately make a lot money working for free for a few months instead of working a meaningless retail job. Don't feel bad about taking loans in this situation." (Accounts Receivable Clerk; 2013)

"Volunteering To Succeed...
Always volunteer to work on extra projects to gain experience. Never feel ashamed when double checking your work." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

"Get Out From Behind The Desk...
Make sure to give yourself time away from the desk to get involved with your co-workers at all costs. It will be imperative to your likeness of the job." (Bookkeeper; 2013)

"Need Thick Skin...
If you decide to work in an office or business environment, you need to be thick skinned. Sometimes co-workers can get on your nerves. Don't bother getting into little tiffs with your co-workers; you are all on the same team! Just remember to do an honest day's work for your employer, and be willing to take on more responsibility. I think that earns you a great amount of respect. There is a lot to be said for loyalty, also. Buy the products that the business you work for sells. Don't be adversarial. Be kind to customers and to coworkers." (Accounts Payable Clerk; 2011)

"Good 9-5 Job...
I would recommend this type of job for anyone who doesn't mind working indoors and is comfortable with a 9 to 5 schedule. Not having to work weekends is a plus for me. You need to be organized and detail-oriented. I spend a lot of my time making and labeling folders and have a precise filing system, so I can find anything on a moment's notice. Taking a lot of business courses helped a whole lot." (Bookkeeper; 2010)

"Keep Your Nose To The Grindstone...
Don't be afraid to start at the bottom. My first job after college was an entry-level billing clerk job. I worked extremely hard and was promoted to manager within a few years. At the first convention we had, I got the award called "nose to the grindstone" for sitting at my desk for hours without moving. I was reconciling accounts which I found very satisfying and I still enjoy the reconciliation aspect of my jobs today." (Bookkeeper; 2010)

"Some Bits Of Advice For Bookkeepers...
Get up-to-date training on Excel spreadsheets, or any other kind of accounting software to be used at your place of employment. Take classes to get an understanding of basic accounting. Take customer service training. Have good typing and basic computer skills." (Accounting Assistant; 2010)