A Revolutionized Career in Bookkeeping

Most bookkeeping clerks are required to have at least a high school degree. However, having some college is often helpful, and an associate degree in business or accounting is required for some positions. These careers can be major stepping-stones for accounting or managerial positions. Employers prefer workers who are computer-literate; knowledge of word processing and spreadsheet software is especially valuable.�¯�¿�½

Once hired, bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks usually receive on-the-job training. Under the guidance of a supervisor or other senior worker, new employees learn company procedures. Some formal classroom training also may be necessary, such as training in specific computer software. Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks must be careful, orderly, and detail-oriented in order to avoid making errors and to recognize errors made by others. These workers also should be discreet and trustworthy, because they frequently come in contact with confidential material. In addition, all bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks should have a strong aptitude for numbers.�¯�¿�½

Bookkeepers, particularly those who handle all the record keeping for companies, may find it beneficial to become certified. The Certified Bookkeeper designation, awarded by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (www.aipb.com/), assures employers that individuals have the skills and knowledge required to carry out all the bookkeeping and accounting functions up through the adjusted trial balance, including payroll functions. For certification, candidates must have at least 2 years of bookkeeping experience, pass three tests, and adhere to a code of ethics. More than 100 colleges, universities, and trade schools offer a preparatory course for certification and another 150 offer a course online. The Universal Accounting Center (www.universalaccounting.com) offers the Professional Bookkeeper designation.�¯�¿�½

Bookkeeping clerks held more than 1.5 million jobs in 2005. They are found in all industries and at all levels of government. Local government and the accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services industry are among the individual industries employing the largest numbers of these clerks.�¯�¿�½

Employment of bookkeeping clerks is projected to continue its growth, though more job openings will stem from replacement needs than from job growth. Each year, hundreds of jobs will become available as existing clerks transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. The large size of this occupation ensures plentiful job openings, including many opportunities for temporary and part-time work.

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