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Have you dreamed of being your own boss and like to work your own hours? Love numbers and are proficient with computer applications? Enjoy working with clients in a corporate and administrative capacity? Well, becoming a Bookkeeper may be a perfect fit!

Bookkeepers do much more than crunch numbers, from understanding tax law, legal obligations and working with accounting software are some of the skills required to be successful at the job.

Is a Bookkeeper the same as an Accountant?

Although it may seem that Bookkeepers are Accountants, their functions are quite different though highly complimentary.

What does a Bookkeeper do?

  • Bank Reconciliations and ensure data entry is correct
  • Setup and maintain accounting software such as Xero and MYOB.
  • Manage Accounts Receivable and Payable and recording transactions
  • Manage day to day Payroll
  • Business Reporting Functions such as preparing Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet
  • Maintain Fixed Asset Register
  • Budgets, cash flow and other forecasting reports 

What does an Accountant do?

  • Verify Bookkeeping entries
  • Verify classifications of transactions
  • Consult and assist with legal structures such as Sole Trader, Companies and Trusts
  • Prepare and Lodge Tax Returns
  • Meet tax obligations and ensure compliance with relevant solvency and legal obligations
  • Help on business practices and strategies

Pay rates as a Bookkeeper are generally very good and depend on experience and role. Getting started is easy, there is not a lot of setup or capital that is required, just hard work getting through the course and learning the essential tasks. 

If you plan on becoming self-employed as a Bookkeeper, you will need to meet the Tax Practitioners Board obligations to register as a bookkeeper. This will involve working under the supervision of another bookkeeper. Applied Education offers students complimentary membership to the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, with regular meetings in most cities. This is an excellent way to network and meet other bookkeepers and start your career.

If bookkeeping sounds like it would be a desirable job for you — here’s what you need to know.

What Qualifications Do You Need?

Suppose you want to work as a Bookkeeper as an employee of a company or small business in the role of accounts type position. In that case, generally, there are no special qualifications you must hold, there are exceptions to this rule such as responsibility for who can lodge documents such as a Business Activity Statement. 

If you want to be self-employed as a Bookkeeper, there are some critical education and legal requirements. You need to have a primary academic qualification in bookkeeping or accounting that is Certificate IV level or higher, issued from a registered training organisation. For example, a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping offered by Applied Education.

Depending on your experience, you can complete these courses in as little as 6 months. If you are new to the field, then it is essential you also have an understanding of MYOB and Xero in Accounting and Payroll. These courses are included with our Cert IV course to help you prepare and have real-world skills to practice bookkeeping. 

How Much Do Bookkeepers Earn?

According to the Federal Government, the earnings of a full time bookkeeper are $1,234 per week. This is below the average weekly wage of $1,460, however earnings start out low and rise with experience. Hourly rates of $38.42

Bookkeeping jobs are a large employer in Australia with 100,200 workers identifying as Bookkeepers in 2019 for both full-time and part-time.

Where to Start with Your Own Bookkeeping Business?

  1. Consider your timeline and budgeting - It can take several years to complete these steps.
  2. Ensure you have the passion for accounting, if you are new to accounting software, consider taking a short course in Xero or MYOB first. This can be an easy, inexpensive way to test the waters.
  3. Meet education requirements - As listed above, ensure you have the TPB Education requirements and experience. Study, at a minimum, the Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping with a reputable organisation 
  4. Stay up to date. Go to ICB conferences and meetings to network (included with your enrolment with Applied Education), look at other professional bodies like Bookkeepers Network as well. You will need the experience to meet the TPB requirements.
  5. Talk to your accountant about a suitable business structure. It may be cheaper to start as a sole trader but get some advice first.
  6. Set a budget. How much do you want to invest and what is your timeline for a return on this investment? There is no point rushing out and buying the latest computer equipment if this leaves no budget for marketing and other expenses.
  7. Build a marketing plan. You will need to consider things like building a website, business name, how big do you really want the business to be, and how much time do you want to work each week?

Summing-up

Bookkeeping is a great work-at-home career option with a lot of career opportunities. It is a substantial occupation sector in the workforce so relatively easy to find work and transfer your skills to other areas within finance.

Enjoy this topic? Study the Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping to learn more

If you are looking to re-skill or up-skill but unsure of which course best suits you, get in touch with one of our consultants today and we will endeavour to help you.

How to Work form home as a Bookkeeper

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