Is it hard to become a bookkeeper?

Bookkeeping is needed in every business in Australia, but very few business owners have the desire or time to complete these essential tasks. The earlier a business financial ledger is set and committed to, the more value and accuracy business owners gain from financial reports and advice from accountants. Rather than sticking your head in the sand, it’s time to take a closer look at bookkeeping responsibilities to see just how easy it can be to learn to become a booker and either look after your own business accounts or pick up some of the high volumes of outsourced work available.

Qualifications needed to become a bookkeeper

Becoming a bookkeeper doesn’t require any specific credentials like accounting does, you can begin straight out of high school if you like, however, the more training you do the better prepared you will be for what is required and how to effectively complete tasks and manage workloads.

It is highly recommended that you obtain certification to give you the most professional and profitable approach. Courses are light and available through TAFE where you can complete a certificate IV or higher in bookkeeping and accounting.

The certification course will teach you:

  • Report preparation

  • Accounting programs

  • Records maintenance

Completing GST and BAS units as part of your certificate will enable you to register as a certified BAS agent.

Bookkeeping technology and software

Bookkeeping is relying on technology more and more, especially as paperless offices require software to store, find and retrieve invoices and receipts. Bookkeeping software also helps with maintaining records in an organised, logical and consistent way.

Learning the most frequently used software platforms in the industry you are working in and keeping up to date with updates is highly rewarding as part of your booking certification to allow you to work with confidence and accuracy.

The right software training can also increase your skills allowing you to assist with payroll, invoicing, purchase orders and lodging BAS alongside bookkeeping duties.

Skills needed to become a bookkeeper

A number of skills are needed to become a bookkeeper including solid computing skills, an interest in numbers and a willingness to assist in organising and maintaining business finances.

Bookkeeping only holds value when the records are accurate, up-to-date and reliable. Entering financial transactions and checking them for accuracy promptly is key, as well as consistent record-keeping processes that allow reports and analysis to be extracted.

The right skills will make bookkeeping easier and more enjoyable. Because bookkeeping requires a lot of repetitive work, having an eye for detail and numerical accuracy is a big bonus.

Starting a bookkeeping business

When it comes to starting your own business you need to consider what level of responsibility you are taking on and how varied your workload will be. Different businesses will require different levels of work from their bookkeeping staff.

For example to be eligible to lodge Business Activity Statements (BAS) you need to undertake work experience to the tune of 1400 hours.

Consider if you want your workload to include purchasing, payroll and invoicing and search for opportunities to practise in the fields you want to succeed in to gain references and experience before you can get started as your own business.

You might also like to look at opportunities such as joining the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) or Australian Bookkeepers Association (ABA) who set and maintain education, experience and professional development standards.

While bookkeeping might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it can be very rewarding for those with the right skill set and willingness to learn. Once the correct bookkeeping system has been established, maintaining the ledger becomes much simpler. You can get a customised solution based on your business needs installed by experienced professionals and take the rest from there.


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