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Is Bookkeeping Hard to Learn? All your Questions Answered

August 1, 2023
Bill Kimball

You need to also understand that bookkeeping isn’t just something easy that you can do without any training or experience. Not necessarily because bookkeeping itself is difficult, but because we are working with clients whose books are usually not very clean. Bookkeepers usually deal with the recording of transactions in a company’s financial records. When something is purchased for a business, for example, the person who made the purchase usually gives the bookkeeper a purchase order that includes the details of the transaction. The bookkeeper makes sure the transaction is properly categorized and then records it in the accounting information system.

This is a valuable resource where you can ask questions and get responses from people who are already running their own successful virtual bookkeeping businesses. The objective of bookkeeping is to summarize the effect of all financial transactions that occurred in a company for a given period of time. Accounting requires the skills of an accountant and knowledge of various accounting practices and policies.

If you own a virtual bookkeeping business and you take on a new client, the client will create a new user profile and password you can use to access their accounting system remotely. You can then communicate with your clients via email and telephone. If you live close to some of your clients, you can meet with them if you want, but it isn’t necessary.

Meanwhile, accountants analyze the data from these records to provide sound tax advice. So while accountants occasionally tackle bookkeeping tasks, remember that this is not their primary role. If you are proficient and comfortable using mathematics and computing figures, plus punctual, organized, and detail-oriented, it is not hard to learn how to be a bookkeeper. Of course, a background in accounting practices will help you ride out a learning curve as a new bookkeeper.

Since bookkeepers don’t require special skills to do their job, their responsibilities are relatively more straightforward. In contrast, accountants need specialized skills due to the complexity involved in their line of work. Aside from needing a professional degree in accounting, they also need relevant work experience. Bookkeepers who are interested in switching jobs but do not have a college degree might consider becoming an EA after a stint with the IRS.

Bookkeeping for Beginners: 6 Basic Concepts to Get You Started

Yes, it’s possible to get raises, but for the most part, you are paid the same regardless of how hard you work or how many hours you devote to your job. When starting a business, it’s important to understand all the expenses you’ll potentially be making. One category of expenses is the business overhead expense, which covers the costs of doing business that doesn’t directly relate to producing your product or service. With discipline, you’ll be able to soldier on as a bookkeeper even during challenging moments, meeting deadlines, providing accurate reports, and more.

is bookeeping hard

The BLS notes that job growth for accountants should track fairly closely with the broader economy. However, bookkeepers will face pressure from automation and technology that will reduce the demand for such workers. Bookkeepers may start working for a small business to gain experience and then go back to school for a degree in accounting or finance. Enrolling in one of the best online bookkeeping classes is a smart way for those interested in this career to bolster their existing financial knowledge. Accountants work with numbers and financial details all day long. Therefore, those who do not like math, get confused easily when making simple calculations, or are generally opposed to number crunching should not apply.

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Some of the key tasks for accountants include tax return preparation, conducting routine reviews of various financial statements, and performing account analysis. Another key responsibility for accountants includes conducting routine audits to ensure that statements and the books are following ethical and industry standards. There’s a little bit of learning involved that will make getting to grips with bookkeeping much easier in the long run. To help, we’ve listed the most basic types of bookkeeping you should know below. On the other hand, the purpose of accounting is o report the financial strength and obtain the results of the operating activity of a business. The financial statements are not a part of the bookkeeping process.

is bookeeping hard

Careless mistakes that seem inconsequential at the time can lead to bigger, costlier, more time-consuming problems down the road. Rarely does a bookkeeper work on one big project for an eight-hour shift; instead, a typical workday involves juggling five or six smaller jobs. Nearly all bookkeeping is done using computerized accounting software and programs, so bookkeepers should be comfortable learning new technology if not proficient in it. Bookkeepers usually deal with the recording of transactions in a company’s financial records. When something is purchased for a business, the bookkeeper makes sure the transaction is properly categorized and then records it in the accounting information system. Bookkeepers also record inbound payments, the money an organization receives from clients and other businesses.

Financial Decision-Making Powers

The education required to be competitive in the field is greater, but the payoff down the road can be considerably higher. How much you make as a first-year accountant depends mainly on the specific career path you pursue. While accounting can be a lucrative long-term career, most accountants, unlike corporate attorneys or investment bankers, do not command huge salaries during the first few years. There are various career paths for accountants (and some for bookkeepers), from working as a forensic accountant to becoming a financial auditor or an enrolled agent.

Check out Bookkeeper Launch to learn more about starting and growing a virtual bookkeeping business. Many companies hire bookkeepers to take care of their financial records for them so they can concentrate on other things – like growing their businesses. Bookkeeping isn’t hard, but it can be time-consuming for many business owners.

is bookeeping hard

You work hard for your money so the last thing you want is giving a big chunk to the taxman and then another hefty slice to a bookkeeper for tasks you can do by yourself. So, to access the company’s accounting system, they had to do so from a company computer within the computer on the company premises. Instead, they hire a bookkeeper or outsource the job to a professional firm. Many people who intend to start a new business sometimes overlook the importance of matters like maintaining a record of every penny spent. Some bookkeepers in larger organizations or firms are called accounts payable bookkeepers.

Bookkeeping Vs. Accounting

As mentioned earlier, you don’t need formal degrees or qualifications when it comes to doing the books. Many do not like the answer to the above question, but the answer is both yes and no. This might sound confusing at first but, it will make sense when you further learn about it. Many bookkeepers are able to work from home or from wherever they happen to be thanks to modern technology.

  • Those are all things that you need to think about as you think about setting up your bookkeeping business.
  • These include good typing skills, the ability to add in data accurately and promptly, and the ability to keep up with the latest bookkeeping software and technology.
  • For any beginner, bookkeeping can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be.
  • Growth for accountants and auditors is expected to continue for the next several years.
  • Start by creating to-do lists; this will help you focus on specific important tasks for the day.

One of the main reasons why it’s possible to work remotely as a bookkeeper is because many accounting information systems are now cloud-based. You can log on to a company’s accounting system remotely and update information from home, a coffee shop, or from somewhere else. The great thing about bookkeeping is that you can learn how to do the work on-the-job. While there are schools that offer two-year degree programs in accounting or bookkeeping, there is no formal requirement that you have a degree to work in the field. A bookkeeper may reconcile credit card and bank accounts, record bills as they are received for later payment, make sure payments are processed in a timely manner, and other things.

What does it take to become a bookkeeper

Moreover, it will help you build new habits that will prove valuable in your bookkeeping career, particularly the skills on this list. There are specific skills aspiring bookkeepers need to develop to achieve success in bookkeeping. Learning about these traits prepares you for a successful career ahead. In contrast, accountants can make proposals and suggestions to help improve or maintain a company’s financial health.

Reasons Why Bookkeeping is Important for Your Business

Part of Xero’s popularity is due to the fact that it integrates with over 800 business apps including PayPal, Stripe, Shopify, Bill.com, and many others. Let’s go ahead now and take a deep dive into getting started as a bookkeeper and find out what some of their most common duties are. An enrolled agent (EA) is a tax professional authorized by the United States government.