Entering a career in bookkeeping can lead to a variety of opportunities for professional development, with plenty of qualifications on offer.
Bookkeepers, also known as finance or accounts clerks, are responsible for the likes of processing sales invoices, receipts and payments, completing VAT returns and preparing statements of income and outgoings.
They also balance accounts and check their accuracy, as well as producing final profit and loss reports. Salaries start at between £12,000 and £15,000 a year and you can earn up to £22,000 once you have experience as a bookkeeper.
The pay also increases substantially as you move up the career ladder, with the likes of senior accountants earning as much as £100,000 a year.
Malcolm Trotter, chief executive of the International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB), explained that basic skills in English and maths are a prerequisite for the job.
“You don’t need a GCSE necessarily, as long as you’ve got arithmetical skills, that’s sufficient,” he insisted.
English is important when it comes to producing invoices and other financial statements as these need to be written in a coherent manner that is understandable to those using them.
Beyond these basic requirements, it is a case of taking training to learn the practical skills needed to do the job, according to Mr Trotter.
Level Three Qualifications.
“To become what we call a practitioner, you need to get level three qualifications, based on the national qualifications framework,” he explained.
These are the equivalent of A levels and include the likes of certificates in bookkeeping.
“You could of course go straight in at that level but we would always advise people to do it step by step,” Mr Trotter said.
“That would entail doing qualifications at levels one and two, level one being a very simple introduction and level two taking people to the trial-balance level of bookkeeping, learning double-entry bookkeeping, and level three taking people through to simple financial statements, such as profit-loss accounts and balance sheets,” he explained.
The beauty of a career as a bookkeeper is that you can work for various types of companies or, alternatively, go self-employed and work for yourself.
This requires adhering to recent legislation, Mr Trotter advised.
“If you want to provide a bookkeeping service to clients, be a bookkeeper in practice, it is a legal requirement to be registered under the money-laundering regulations of 2007.
“What that means is you have to be registered with either an approved body, which of course the IAB is, or with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs,” he said.
“The advantage of joining a professional body is that they will assist and support you in professional development,” Mr Trotter, added, explaining that the IAB runs meetings and seminars for its members.
When it comes to moving forward with your career, there are various options in bookkeeping, but the key to climbing the ladder is topping up your qualifications.
For example, you will need a level four certificate, such as a diploma, to become an accounting technician, which is the next step up from a bookkeeper or accounts clerk.
Through the likes of accounting courses in London, you will learn how to run a cash book, reconcile purchase orders, delivery notes and invoices and check the creditworthiness of potential customers.
You will also be taught how to chase payments, balance ledgers and prepare profit and loss account and balance sheets, use Sage to prepare a VAT return, plus produce and analyse budgets and cash flows using Microsoft Excel.
Having become an accounting technician, you can then progress to the level of accountant with further qualifications through one of five professional bodies, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Scotland, or Ireland and the Association of International Accountants.
Trained accountants typically earn between £28,000 and £50,000 a year and their job involves preparing business plans, producing annual and monthly accounts, carrying out independent audits and forecasting future profits, among other things.
Another route to go down having started in bookkeeping, is to train as a payroll administrator, which involves working with wages, processing holiday, sick and maternity pay, deducting tax and national insurance payments, calculating overtime and the like.
Whatever you decide, you will need to enrol on a bookkeeping course first, then the accountancy world is your oyster!
Bookkeeping Courses In London & Manchester
At Pitman Training.
One of our biggest and best recognised bookkeeping courses covering Sage 50, Final Accounts, Payroll, Excel, Purchase Ledger, Sales Ledger and much, much more! This is the programme that totally equips you to get a job in book-keeping.
A nationally recognised qualification providing a good grounding in book-keeping skills including Basic Book-keeping, Excel and Sage.
Using Britain’s most popular book-keeping software package, you’ll learn purchase, sales and nominal ledgers, customer and supplier control accounts, raising invoices and credit notes, VAT, trial balance, profit & loss and balance sheet. Our Sage Line 50 course goes much further than most bookkeeping courses, giving you real practical knowledge you can apply at work.
A manual course where you’ll learn accountancy and bookkeeping vocabulary such assets, liabilities, debtors and creditors, cash and credit and what they mean and how to use them as you develop practical skills related to basic aspects of bookkeeping.
A manual course where you’ll learn how to reconcile the purchase ledger with Purchase Order requisitions, delivery notes and invoices. How to account for credit notes or retrospective discounts.
A manual course where you’ll learn how to spot bad debts and poor payers early, the importance of credit control and getting paid, reconciling the sales ledger, giving discounts, credit notes and returns.
A manual course where you’ll learn double entry book-keeping, the UK’s standard basis for book-keeping and accounts, to ensure that all your ledgers are ready for the production of management accounts.
Final Accounts 2
A manual course where you’ll learn how to prepare management accounts including trial balance, profit & loss account and balance sheet. Using the nominal ledger. Understanding and calculating prepayments and accruals.
Using actual Inland Revenue tables, in this manual course, you’ll learn how to use tax codes, sickness and maternity pay rules to calculate how much tax and National Insurance to deduct from gross wages. Also P45′s, P46′s, P60′s etc.
Computerised wages where you’ll learn to calculate tax and social cost stoppages for weekly and monthly payroll runs and how to send this data to the nominal ledger of Sage Line 50. Also end of year calculations.
You’ll learn how to create graphs and charts for management reporting as well as formulae for the fast and accurate creation of spreadsheets for budgeting, cash flow projections etc.
An advanced Excel course equipping you with expert tools for the calculations of “what if” scenarios. Useful for management and cost accounting.
Using the MS Office 2010 version of Excel, You’ll learn how to create graphs and charts for management reporting as well as formulae for the fast and accurate creation of spreadsheets for budgeting, cash flow projections etc.
If you need to input lots of numerical data, this short course will greatly increase your productivity.