Bookkeeper

Bookkeeper

Bookkeepers are responsible for maintaining accurate records of financial transactions.

The specific duties of a Bookkeeper may vary depending on the type and size of the business, but will generally include preparing reports, data entry, payroll processing and banking reconciliation. The average salary of a Bookkeeper is $55,033 per annum.

Salary range
Average salary $55,033
salary range
$49,492
$55,033
$60,574
Source: SEEK
Projected job growth
-11% by 2020
-11%
2015
2020
Source: joboutlook.gov.au
Employment by region
The top three regions for employment as a Bookkeeper are:
NSW
NSW 24.9%
VIC
VIC 29.1%
QLD
QLD 21.3%
Source: joboutlook.gov.au

Key skills required

The top skills for a Bookkeeper are:
  • Aptitude for working with numbers
  • Good organisational skills
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Able to meet deadlines
  • Good communication skills
  • Computer skills
Source: myfuture.edu.au
Career pathway planner
Starting out
Starting out

Gain basic accounting skills and prepare yourself to work as a Bookkeeper or Accounts Clerk.

  • Certificate IV in Bookkeeping (FNS40215)
  • Certificate III in Accounts Administration (FNS30315)
  • Certificate IV in Accounting (FNS40615)
Moving up in the industry
Moving up in the industry

Help further your bookkeeping career with a diploma or advanced diploma. Advance your knowledge in corporate finance and accounting principles and explore more senior roles in the finance industry.

  • Diploma of Accounting (FNS50215)
  • Advanced Diploma of Accounting (FNS60215)

Bookkeeper job description

What does a Bookkeeper do?

Bookkeepers provide essential services to businesses by processing and recording everyday transactions, and producing financial statements.

Bookkeepers may also be required to prepare and lodge Business Activity Statements (BAS) for taxation purposes. 

It’s essential for Bookkeepers who are providing BAS services for a fee or payment to be registered as a BAS Agent with the Tax Practitioners Board. If a Bookkeeper is not a registered BAS Agent, they cannot lodge BAS statements.

Bookkeepers usually work in small to medium sized businesses across a variety of industries, and the scope of a Bookkeeper’s role and day-to-day tasks may vary based on the size of the business. In larger organisations, responsibilities may be divided among a number of bookkeeping positions. In a small business, one Bookkeeper may be required to provide a broader range of services.

As you a Bookkeeper, you’ll report to the business manager but may be required to liaise with other employees, particularly when handling tasks such as payroll. 

Daily tasks for a Bookkeeper

The responsibilities of a Bookkeeper vary according to the size and nature of their employer, and may include:

  • Recording the financial transactions of a business in bookkeeping software (such as MYOB or QuickBooks), spreadsheets or databases. 
  • Arranging payment of accounts.
  • Preparing and sending invoices and receipts to debtors.
  • Processing payroll and maintaining employee records.
  • Carrying out bank reconciliations.
  • Reporting for preparation of a Business Activity Statement (BAS).
  • Checking figures and reporting for accuracy.
  • Reporting any irregularities in data to management.
  • Producing balance sheets, income statements and other financial documents.

To learn about the skills, traits and qualifications you’ll need as a Bookkeeper, read our tips on how to become an Bookkeeper.

Working hours of a Bookkeeper

Bookkeepers typically work regular Monday to Friday business hours. On average, full-time Bookkeepers work 38.8 hours per week, compared to 41.1 hours per week for all other occupations (Job Outlook).

Bookkeepers may be employed by businesses, or be self-employed and provide bookkeeping services on a contract basis. Self-employment may allow for greater flexibility in working hours and the option to work remotely or from home.

What is the difference between a Bookkeeper and an Accountant?

Bookkeepers and Accountants both provide essential business services, and in some cases they work together. However, there are key differences between the roles of a Bookkeeper and an Accountant.

A Bookkeeper is responsible for recording financial transactions, maintaining accurate records and providing reports or statements to managers.

An Accountant interprets, analyses and reports on financial data, providing in depth insights to the business on financial matters.

The roles and responsibilities of a Bookkeeper and Accountant may vary or overlap according to their level of experience and the size of the business. 

How to become a Bookkeeper

Bookkeeping is a growing profession in Australia and offers great opportunities for those who have a head for numbers. If you plan on working in the bookkeeping industry, there are a range of attributes and professional skills you’ll need to prepare yourself for a bookkeeping role.

A Bookkeeper’s responsibility is to be an accounts ‘all-rounder’; tracking the comings and goings of money, paying bills on time on behalf of the business you’re working for and keeping an eye on accounts received. 

As a Bookkeeper, you also a play in part in ensuring everyone gets paid regularly and ensure the company’s financial records are accurate and up-to-date. Read more about the job description of a Bookkeeper.

What technical and professional skills do I need to become a Bookkeeper?

OTEN (Open Training and Education Network) Acting Head Teacher of Accounting, Penny Bowden, explains that most contract Bookkeepers will be hired by a business for one key reason: to record all business financial transactions leading to the preparation of their Business Activity Statement (BAS).

The BAS is an essential tax report that businesses have to send to the Tax Office during the year, with particular qualifications and registration required to perform this duty.

“You must be registered as a BAS Agent with the Tax Practitioners Board if you provide BAS services for a fee or other reward,” says Penny.

For example, to apply for BAS Agent registration you’ll need to have completed at least a Certificate IV in Bookkeeping (FNS40215) or Certificate IV in Accounting (FNS40615). 

Registering as a BAS Agent also requires you to complete suitable GST and BAS units, which can be included as part of the Certificate IV course, as well as work experience supervised by a BAS Agent.

These certificates will teach you how to work with different accounting and payroll systems, prepare financial reports and maintain inventory records, giving you the practical skills you’ll need to apply for bookkeeping roles with confidence.

Is work experience important if you want to become a Bookkeeper?

Work experience is a great way to get a better understanding of what a Bookkeeper does every day, and will help you expand your industry networks too.

“Volunteer or paid, knock on some doors to see if anyone would like some Bookkeeping work, or if they would mind if you shadowed a BAS Agent,” suggests SEEK Learning Consultant Stephen Merry. 

“SEEK Volunteer is an invaluable resource to find charitable and not-for-profit organisations that would love your help while you’re studying.”

Should I become a Bookkeeper?

The traits you’ll need to be successful as a Bookkeeper include:

  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills
  • Good organisation skills
  • Numerical accuracy and diligence
  • Good computer skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Patience and dedication

“Anyone who likes solving problems and mathematics is perfect for this profession,” says Stephen. “When the accounts add up and everyone has been paid up to date, it’s like solving a Sudoku puzzle - it’s a great sense of accomplishment!”

There are two main types of Bookkeepers: contract Bookkeepers who work from home, and workplace Bookkeepers who work in an office environment. Being able to work both independently as well as in a team is an important skill too.