When some people first hear about bookkeeping, they think it’s somehow something to do with being a librarian. Kind of like how bees relate to beekeeping.
But bookkeeping couldn’t be further from actual books! It’s a career that involves recording financial transactions and it’s the accounting arm of any working business.
As a bookkeeper, tax specialist and virtual CFO with years of industry knowledge, I know what it’s like to pursue this career. And I know that for all of the challenges it can occasionally entail, this career can be truly rewarding for the right person.
If you’re wondering whether it’s for you, read on for an idea of your typical daily life as a bookkeeper…
First things first:
If you’re working in a busy office, you’ll probably start your day at around 8 or 9am. The first task you need to complete is check the post. This is important to see if you’ve been sent any customer cheques or purchase invoices.
If something has come through, then it’s imperative to prepare the paying-in slips or other relevant paperwork straight away. This will set you in good stead for the day ahead…
Once you’ve organised yourself and actioned anything that’s come through overnight, it’s worth taking a moment to say hi to your colleagues, grab a coffee and get comfortable.
In the flow…
By mid-morning, you’re usually in a Zen-like working flow actioning the following activities:
- Tracking cash flow and reporting it to company managers
- Recording accounts activity (sales, expenses, payments)
- Processing files and electronic records
- Billing customers and sending invoices
- Recording key dates and deadlines in your calendar
- Reconciling and balancing each account
All of these tasks will keep you busy right up until lunch! But if you’re mathematically inclined, well organised and a great communicator, the work should be a piece of cake.
Most bookkeepers take around 30 minutes to an hour for their lunch break, depending on how busy the day is. You can have lunch out with colleagues, or eat in at your desk – it’s up to you.
After lunch, you may need to catch up or writing checks.
Bookkeepers are the ones responsible for cutting and mailing checks to vendors for purchases. Think about how many purchases a company might make in a day…
Supply orders. Services. Office expenses. Even stationery!
You might also now take an opportunity to do a payroll check for the employees within your company, if this responsibility is assigned to your role.
If you haven’t attended a morning meeting, then afternoon is usually the time when you’ll be scheduled in for one. This meeting is a chance for you to discuss reports about the finances of the business with management.
If you think you need to be an introvert to thrive as a bookkeeper, think again!
Bookkeepers spend all day talking to people. Each afternoon, you’ll need to speak to your boss, call customers on the phone, speak to vendors and other employees and even write business letters.
While a lot of your work requires fine attention to detail and the ability to concentrate, you also need to shift gears quickly into interpersonal mode.
From accounting robot to charismatic mediator… in a flash!
End of the day
How a bookkeeper ends their day will depend on whether there’s any loose ends that still need tying up and the general demands of the business.
But if you’re ahead of the game, you’ll likely have a few hours to wind down and go at a slow pace until 5pm.
Now can be a good time to prepare or assist in the preparation of budget requests. It’s also worth planning the next day and actioning any last-minute tasks.
Bookkeeping can be a busy job, but if you’re meticulous with detail and like working within a team, you’ll enjoy the engaging nature of the role as the days hum by.
The great thing about bookkeeping is, like many career paths these days, it’s a job that can allow you to work from home. While some people pursue bookkeeping as a way to work within a company culture they love – and as a bookkeeper, you really can work in any industry – others do it so they can enjoy a flexible life/work balance.
Think about what sort of lifestyle you might want in the future, whether you’re planning on having kids and being a stay-at-home mum.
You’ll have your own reasons for getting into bookkeeping, but be sure to remember them. You’re going to need them on the hectic days!