A senior bookkeeper records a corporation's transactions by debiting and crediting financial accounts in general or subsidiary ledgers. He uses accounting knowledge and business experience to maintain accurate ledger balances. A senior bookkeeper usually works under the leadership of an accountant or a senior financial auditor and plays an important role in a firm's financial reporting process.
Nature of the Work
A senior bookkeeper ensures that a company's accounts receivable and vendors payable amounts are accurate, complete and computed in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP. She is also responsible for preparing monthly ledger balances and ensuring that a segment's or business unit's financial statements are correct. These statements include balance sheets, statements of profit and loss, statements of cash flows and statements of retained earnings.
Education and Training
A senior bookkeeper typically holds an associate degree in accounting or auditing, although some employers prefer job candidates with bachelor's degrees in business-related fields. A liberal arts major is not uncommon in the profession, but he usually receives more practical training than an employee with a financial or business background.
A senior bookkeeper's salary levels depends on the industry in which she works. She also receives a higher compensation if she has an advanced academic degree or holds a professional license. According to U.S. Labor Department polls, senior bookkeepers earned median wages of $32,510 in 2008, excluding annual stock and cash bonuses, with the top 10 percent of the profession earning more than $49,260 and the bottom 10 percent earning less than $20,950. The same surveys show that bookkeepers working for large organizations earned average salaries of $59,430 in 2008, excluding annual stock and cash bonuses, with the bottom 10 percent of the occupation earning less than $36,720 and the top 10 percent earning more than $102,380.
A senior bookkeeper can take periodic training courses to improve his chances of advance. He also can attend regular human resources programs intended for finance staff to be promoted faster. A senior bookkeeper with a bachelor's degree can seek a master's in accounting to increase career growth opportunities. Within a few years, a skilled and qualified senior bookkeeper can move to a senior function, such as financial accountant, senior accounting specialist or financial analyst.
A senior bookkeeper's work schedule depends on the industry and the company's size. For instance, a senior bookkeeper for a company engaging in import/export activities may work late at night or early in the morning to accommodate a client's schedule. However, a senior bookkeeper at a small firm typically works from 8.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. on weekdays.
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