Career Guide: What Can I Do With An Accounting Degree?

Bookkeeper

Job Description:

Bookeepers produce and maintain financial records for businesses and organizations. They record transactions, update statements, and check financial records for accuracy and report any discrepancies. A bookkeeper may be trusted with the books for an entire organization or instead handle specific and particular accounting tasks. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks may also be responsible for payroll, billing, purchasing, and tracking overdue invoices.

Requirements:
Bookkeepers need at least a high school diploma, though many employers will favor a candidate with some post-secondary education that includes coursework in accounting. The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers awards a Certified Bookkeeper designation for individuals with two years of bookkeeping experience who pass a four-part exam. Certified bookkeepers must meet a continuing education requirement every three years or else risk losing their certification. Certification is also offered by The National Bookkeepers Association.
Median Salary:
$36,640
In May 2012, California, Texas, and New York had the highest number of employed bookkeepers, while the District of Columbia, Connecticut, and Alaska offered the highest mean wages. The median annual wage for bookkeepers employed in accounting, tax preparation, and payroll services, industries with the highest concentration for employed bookkeepers, was $36,130, all according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Bookkeepers may work extended hours in order to meet end of the fiscal year and tax season deadlines or when monthly or annual accounting audits are done.
Job Outlook:
Projected to grow 14% between 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS.

Job growth for bookkeeping personnel continues to be proportionate to changes in overall economic growth. Qualified bookkeepers are expected to be in high-demand during the next decade, as stricter regulations are being imposed on corporations and organizations which require the careful expertise of those in this profession. Although with the advent of technology it may seem like the need for real live bookkeepers has given way to automated systems, companies still require bookkeeping staff to review figures and finalize transactions. Most bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks in 2010 worked in the professional, scientific, and technical services industries, followed closely by the retail trade, then financial and insurance-related fields, all according to the BLS. Because this tends to be an occupation sought-after by a broad range of industries, job growth through the year 2020 is expected to reflect frequent turnover and high demand.

Continuing Education:

Organizations like the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) manage certification requirements for bookkeepers to practice professionally. Through continuing education courses including bookkeeping and financial records, accounting, Quick Books Pro software, and understanding business tax forms, students not only improve their overall skills but are also prepared to take the bookkeeping certification exam administered by the AIPB. Accredited schools like the University of New Mexico and Austin Community College offer continuing education credits in bookkeeping, accounting, and finance. Graduates of a continuing education program are able to demonstrate extensive knowledge and expertise in their field, which may help further their career opportunities in this industry.