Bookkeeping is more than being good with numbers. It encompasses many soft skills and other abilities which wouldn’t spring to mind when you think of accountancy or bookkeeping.
Bookkeeping is the gateway to the accounting sector. If you’re looking to work your way up in the industry, these are the top 10 skills that will make you a good bookkeeper.
OK, we know we said it’s more than being good with numbers, but being good with numbers is still the most important part of being a good bookkeeper. Numerical skills are essential when bookkeeping and accounting for obvious reasons, whether it be to balance the books or add up the total sum of a series of transactions. Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are all skills that you should have, along with the confidence to use your ability in these areas.
Your employers and clients will set you deadlines and you also need to work to Tax Return and VAT deadlines, as well as Financial Year End deadlines. Organising your time around these will not just shape your career, but how competent you are and how potential clients/employers view your services. You will need to plan your months and years ahead and how you work will depend on these tight deadlines.
Bookkeepers need to present information in a professional manner, and a way that is understandable to clients both in person and via electronic communication. Depending on the size of the organisation you work for, you will also need to communicate effectively with other people in your department and be able to express yourself to your team and colleagues in other departments.
You are dealing with a company/client’s financial data and so you need to ensure all the data you are logging is accurate down to the last penny. This is so you can monitor financial transactions and make sure financial policies are being adhered to. This will ensure your career isn’t called into question and you are following all moral obligations and measures of integrity.
Discipline comes in many forms. It comes in stress management and how you work under pressure, but also how you handle yourself in the professional environment. An entire company’s financial situation can rest on your integrity and morality in dealing with their money. If put in the wrong hands, this could be disastrous for the company and for your reputation should you be caught. Heed this warning!
Bookkeeping is the start of a solid career path in the accounting industry and provides a good foundation with which to begin. In order for this career to be successful, you need to showcase good commitment levels to get the job at hand complete, with minimal costs and use of resources to your employer or client.
The majority of bookkeeping nowadays is managed with computerised accounting systems - a stark contrast from the traditional method of writing down amounts and figures. Manual bookkeeping does still exist, but has been overtaken by its software counterpart as a more efficient way of handling bookkeeping tasks. Systems like Sage and Quickbooks are two world-renowned examples with their simplicity and user friendliness. Microsoft Excel and basic computing navigation are crucial skills a bookkeeper needs to possess to carry out their duties.
If you find an irregularity or an anomaly in a system or in a set of accounts, it will be down to you to discover where the problem lies. Identify it and how you can act upon it without compromising the output the data will provide you. This will also test your judgement as you work out the best way to solve the issue.
Being able to “see the bigger picture” is vital. Knee-jerk decisions lead to potential danger, which would be best avoided if you take a step back and think about the potential outcomes. Moving money between accounts may balance the books in one, but what happens to the deficit? Will it be replaced sufficiently? Are there potential incomings that would suit the first account, meaning you’ll break even?
This comes from qualifications and knowledge. Prove your expertise, the abilities you have and judgement to any potential clients or employers that may need someone of your skills to assist with their accounts.
If you’re interested in carving a new career, or developing your skills, in Bookkeeping and feel you would benefit from the flexibility of eLearning, please contact one of our Training Experts on 020 3198 7603.