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How to be a Better Bookkeeper

By: Ronda Payne

Published On: April 23, 2019

Bookkeeper is a valuable part of any business, but if you`re a manager or a business owner, picking up bookkeeping skills can benefit you as well.

If you just graduated with a certificate in bookkeeping or accountant, you may be contemplating whether it’s better to work as an employee for a company or to start your own business serving just one or multiple clients. Your bookkeeping certification has prepared you for both of these paths. Let`s look at them in more detail.

Joining an Organization

Perhaps the easiest option would be to take up a job with an organization looking for a bookkeeper. It will help you learn the business from the ground up. There are numerous jobs on online job sites like seeking entry-level bookkeepers and while most note they want some formal education or practical experience in bookkeeping, few ask for a bookkeeping certification. By having one already, you will have an edge over other candidates who don’t.

Be thorough while checking job postings as some could be multi-function jobs and may include other roles like receptionist and/or office administrator and clerical duties. If this isn’t for you and you’d rather only focus on bookkeeping, look for firms where the openings line up with your expectations.

Being Your Own Boss

If you would like to run your own bookkeeping firm, it’s advisable to get some business and entrepreneurial knowledge to mesh with a professional bookkeeping certification or accounting program. Running a business is very different from working for someone else, as being an entrepreneur requires you to look at every aspect of your business. But don`t worry there`s always help if you need it.

Look for a good mentor to guide you along the way, someone who understands your situation and wants to see the next generation of bookkeepers succeed in their businesses. You can even join your local chamber of commerce or other business-oriented groups to network with other business owners. While you may be able to find clients here but that shouldn’t be your focus. The goal is to learn from others; how did they begin; what were the challenges they faced; how did they get around those challenges and so on. Find like-minded people, other bookkeepers who have been running a successful business for years. Being a part of an association like the Canadian Bookkeepers Association might be helpful.

Through a professional association you will also find information about a number of seminars, workshops and courses that you can add on top of your bookkeeping certification. Some of these may be about building a thriving business while others may be about dealing with challenging clients. You’ll also find that some sessions will be geared towards those new to the field and others maybe of a more advanced nature. The point is that an association will only deliver field-specific content.

Becoming Your Own Bookkeeper

If you`re running your own business, it’s highly unlikely that you have a certificate in bookkeeping unless your business is being a bookkeeper. Let’s look at an example. Suppose someone runs a concrete company, let`s call him Jason. He’s managing his employees, marketing, sales, distribution, supplies and more. He’s not an expert in managing his paperwork, but Jason can certainly make things easier for his bookkeeper or accountant.

Introductory bookkeeping or accounting courses will go a long way in helping Jason. Learning about accounting tools such as QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Sage 50cloud, Wave or Zoho, will also help. Moreover, it does not require too much time away from the office. By better understanding how to input some of that financial data and doing so correctly will reduce a lot of work for his bookkeeper, therefore saving time and money. By knowing how to use the accounting tool, Jason will be able to access information he may have had to ask his bookkeeper in the past.

You can turn to your bookkeeper or accountant for advice on which program to use and how to create a more collaborative process that gives you more control over the books. Once you are set up, you may want to allocate time to do the books each week.

Keeping Finances Separate

Additionally, as a solopreneur, it may be hard for you to keep your personal finances separate from your business finances, yet doing so is essential. By setting up a system that only shows the inflow and outflow of the business, you’ll know exactly what your business activities were for the year.

Bookkeeping is about accurately recording financial transactions and by knowing how to do it right, you’ll become a valuable member of the team as a business’s bookkeeper, or you’ll be making strides as a business owner by having your books in shape.


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  1. nina says:

    I am looking for job as Bookkeeper.
    If you have some advice for me from your practice I’ll be greatly appreciate.
    Thank you.

    • Maria Bychkova says:

      Hi Nina,

      Looking for a job takes a lot of time and effort. Please use different job boards and social media to look for job openings. Also, consider attending networking events to explore new opportunities and build your professional network.

      If you have limited work experience in the field, you can take on volunteering projects or work on temporary assignments for the sake of developing your skills and knowledge.

      Looking for a mentor who works in bookkeeping is also a good opportunity to gain experience and receive career advice.

      Hope it helps! Good luck with your job search!

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