As a financial bookkeeper, your main role is to keep an official track of company spending so when it comes to filing accounts there is an accurate trail of all the outgoings.
Great with numbers and highly organised? This is the job for you.
So, what will I actually be doing?
Your daily 'to do' list will generally look something like this:
Balancing accounts (also known as 'double book keeping')
- Processing sales invoices, receipts and payments
- Completing VAT returns
- Preparing invoices for the Inland Revenue
- Checking company bank statements
- Reparing cash flow statements
- Dealing with financial paperwork and filing
You'll also help prepare the profit and loss sheets for the annual accounts.
If you work in a big company a team of you will share the workload. If you work for a smaller organisation you might be responsible for all of those tasks along with some payroll duties too.
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The finer details...
The job offers good work/life balance as most of the time you'll work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. There may be the odd time when it's really busy and you need to work a few extra hours.
Most of your time will be spent answering enquiries and processing requests from your desk.
There are opportunities for part-time and job sharing. Temporary work is often available too. You could also work freelance to work the hours that suit you.
There are positions across a wide range of organisations, so it's best you chose an industry you are interested in - health, public sector, charities for example.
The larger your company, the more opportunities for progression there will be. With experience and qualifications you could choose to be self-employed supporting several smaller businesses.
If you're looking for long term opportunities, finance clerks can quite easily move into payroll administration or with further studying move into accountancy.
Money, money, money
As a general guideline, as a new starter you can expect to earn between £12,000 and £14,000 a year. As you get more experience you'll be able to earn up to £20,000.
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The good points..
The regular 9-5 hours mean you can still have an active social life after work and finally see your mates on a weeknight.
...and the bad
In your early years as a bookkeeper you won’t be rolling in cash as the salary isn’t huge.
Is there study involved?
Although there are no minimum entry requirements it will help if you have GSCEs, especially in maths and English. Any computer skills you can play up will also boost your CV.
It's most likely you'll learn a lot of your skills on the job, starting as a junior. You'll be taught computer skills, general office procedures etc by more experienced colleagues. You should also be sent on in-house training course, or be encouraged to take professional qualifications on day release, part time or via distance learning.
When you have reached NVQ Level 4 or AAT Technician level, you will be a qualified accounting technician. This means you'll be able to produce financial reports and help accountants with audits.
There are a number of useful qualifications that show employers that you are serious about a career in bookkeeping. These include NVQs/SVQs or specialist qualifications from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), specialist courses from The International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB), LCCI Practical Bookkeeping , SQA National Units in accounting and Pitman qualifications in bookkeeping, accounts and computerised accounts.
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
Apart from a natural flair with numbers, other skills that will help you become a good accounts clerk include:
- An ability to work quickly and accurately
- Good concentration
- An eye for detail
- An ability to work to deadlines
- Good computer skills (especially with databases and financial software)
- To be honest, discreet and trustworthy