Day in the Life of a Bookkeeper
When you hear the word bookkeeper, it probably conjures up images of someone poring over a ledger with receipts scattered all around. Moreover, you probably think of a bookkeeper as a solitary, quiet person, who never has an opinion or anything to say. After all, a bookkeeper just manages receipts and tells you to turn in your expense reports on time.
Think again. The life of a bookkeeper may not be as quiet as everyone thinks. The bookkeeper’s job varies greatly depending on where he/she works and for what type of agency.
You may be surprised to hear communications skills are important to bookkeepers. Bookkeepers are the bookworms, right? Although bookkeepers do need their quiet time to make entries and review spreadsheets, amongst other things, bookkeepers must be very communicative with other employees and even the boss.
Bookkeepers need to communicate their accounting requirements verbally or in written format to ensure the prompt flow of information. This means that the bookkeeper must establish a rapport with managers and possibly individual employees, maintaining good relations on a daily basis. Communication allows the bookkeeper and the manager both to function efficiently and effectively. Without communication, the bookkeeper just sits in an office and hopes people bring the information needed to make accurate entries and assessments.
The bookkeeper must be adept at communicating in a way that is both firm but gentle. Some bookkeepers spend more than 50 % of their day tracking down expense receipts, reports, and itemizations, which means communicating with other employees and managers.
Working effectively within an organization is standard operating procedure in the daily life of the bookkeeper. Bookkeepers must set up files, physical or electronic, and organize information in a way that is functional on both a personal level and on a corporate level. At any time, the bookkeeper must be ready to open up organized ledgers and files to accountants, CEOs and tax people. Without organization, the bookkeeper would drown in a pool of papers and ledgers. Bookkeepers must be highly organized individuals who know how to find information without sifting through piles and drawers. The bookkeeper’s organizational skills keep the entire office functioning on a fiscal level.
Paying the bills
It is not uncommon for the bookkeeper to pay bills and deposit checks and monies received in the daily course of activities. The bookkeeper is usually the person who doles out petty cash or issues allowances. Additionally, the bookkeeper may be responsible for paying the bills, writing checks, and recording all transactions in the correct ledgers. Bookkeepers are tasked with many job duties, one of which usually includes balancing the checkbook ledger.
Sometimes the bookkeeper is responsible for maintaining and ordering supplies. This is not always the case, but in small businesses, the bookkeeper is the link to a new computer, desk, or those special pens you like that cost more than the allowance. The bookkeeper may be responsible for preparing or assisting in the preparation of budget requests.
As you may have guessed, the life of the bookkeeper is more than just adding up receipts and making entrances in ledgers. A bookkeeper’s function varies greatly based on where he/she works. All of the duties listed above are daily functions of a bookkeeper.
For more great insights about financial careers, visit our Career Paths page.
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