Important Skills For Becoming a Bookkeeper

Bookkeeping is a vital financial service worldwide. Where there are businesses, there are bookkeepers. That said, the bookkeeping role is served by a wide variety of professionals from business owners doing it themselves to full-blown financial teams and even outsourced providers.

Either way, if you’re going to be doing a bookkeeper role or you want to launch your own career as a bookkeeper, you will need a distinct set of job skills. In this article, we’ll talk you through some of the core skills needed and explain why.

Double Entry Accounting

One of the most important skills you need to be a bookkeeper is to grasp the basics of double-entry accounting. Some people think that bookkeepers just input data into a computer system. While that may be true for some financial assistant roles, it is not the main function of a bookkeeper.

The key function of a bookkeeper is to correctly categorize transactions so that they are posted to the correct ledger and on either the credit or debit side of the account. That may sound simple, but it can get very confusing. Every transaction that goes through the books must have both a credit and debit. 

Detail Orientated

Bookkeepers are employed to ensure that the numbers in the books correctly add up. When they don’t, it’s the bookkeeper who will trawl the ledger to find where the mistakes have occurred. In most job descriptions for a bookkeeper, you will see that employers ask for someone who is detail orientated.

That means that you don’t rush your work and make lots of mistakes as a result. Instead, you work at a steady pace and are methodical and repetitive so that your work is correct and reliable. Getting the small details right matters to you. 

Computer Savvy

The modern bookkeeper uses more than a calculator. Complex and sophisticated accounting software is becoming the norm in the industry. If you want to get started as a bookkeeper, you’ll need to be quick to learn new software systems and develop ways of using them to their full potential.


There are lots of technical skills that help to make a good bookkeeper. Still, one of the most important qualities that exceed technical know-how is good old honesty. Bottom line is that your employer must be able to completely trust you.

They need to trust you to do the work you’re supposed to do and to do it well and on time. They need to know that you have integrity, that you’ll not divulge confidential information to others and you’ll not take advantage of the financial access to other businesses’ accounts. 

Got the Right Job Skills?

In this article, you’ve read about the important job skills needed for becoming a bookkeeper. This is not a comprehensive list but it does represent a core set of skills that you may have already developed from another industry. If so, then you could be well placed for a new career in bookkeeping.                                                            

The role of bookkeeping is developing more and more as businesses are looking for more cost-effective ways of managing their accounts. So this could be an exciting time to get into the industry. On our site, you can check out other articles with great insights and tips to help guide you in life. 

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