Job descriptions & duties of a bookkeeper

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Job descriptions & duties of a bookkeeper
A book-keeper performs routine calculations. (Calculator image by Alhazm Salemi from

A book-keeper maintains financial records by computing, classifying and recording numbers. A book-keeper may also double check the accuracy of numbers from transactions recorded by other employees. A book-keeper works with this collected data, providing owners, managers and accountants with information they can use when making business decisions. According to the Occupational Information Network, book-keepers are also known as bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks.

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A book-keeper calculates spending, profit and loss; verifies and balances receipts; prepares invoices; makes purchases; posts transactions; totals accounts; and computes interest charges. A book-keeper or auditing clerk makes calculations using computers and calculators and may post information in a database. In a large corporation, a book-keeper may conduct specialised tasks, such as accounts receivable or accounts payable. Book-keepers in smaller businesses may be responsible for all financial record-keeping.


Book-keepers work in an office setting and spend long hours in front of a computer. Many book-keepers work a standard 40-hour workweek. Some may work overtime on evenings and weekends.


Most book-keepers have earned at least a high school degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Some employers seek an associate's degree. According to, a non-profit that connects students with educational opportunities, an associate's degree in accounting technology and bookkeeping covers the following areas of study: basic accounting; business math; income tax fundamentals; computerised bookkeeping; introduction to business; payroll accounting; principles of financial accounting; principles of managerial accounting; and spreadsheet applications.


According to the BLS May 2009 Occupational Employment Statistics Survey Program, the national average hourly rate of a book-keeper was £10.80 and the national average salary was £22,587. The industry that employed the highest number of bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks was accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services with an average salary of £22,165. The next highest levels of employment were in these areas: management of companies and enterprises (average salary, £23,380); local government ($35,830); depository credit intermediation ($32,840); and elementary and secondary schools ($35,540).


According to the BLS National Employment Matrix, employment for bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks is expected to grow by 10 per cent through 2018, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job growth is projected based on the need to replace workers who leave the occupation.

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