Bookkeepers, also known as accounting clerks, accounting technicians or just accountants, are primarily involved in financial record-keeping functions. A large organization might employ several bookkeepers in their accounting and finance units, while a small business might have just one full-time bookkeeper juggling multiple roles, including administrative responsibilities. A bookkeeper could be involved in recording transactions, managing assets and preparing financial documents.
Bookkeepers record the basic transactions of a business, such as daily sales, inventory purchases and various bill payments. Bookkeepers are responsible for maintaining the accounts used to prepare periodic financial statements, such as cash, accounts receivable and inventory. They reconcile the daily sales with cash and credit sales balances. For a small business, bookkeepers might be in charge of paying suppliers and contractors. Bookkeepers should also be familiar with basic accounting software tools, such as Intuit QuickBooks and Sage Simply Accounting.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, bookkeepers prepare bank deposits by compiling data from cash registers and other points of sales. For a small business, part of a bookkeeper's responsibility might be to make the daily cash deposits at the bank, maintain a petty cash account for small day-to-day expenses, and keep track of fixed assets, such as computers and furniture. Bookkeepers may also assist warehouse personnel in keeping track of the company's inventory items and in doing physical inventory counts.
Preparing Financial Documents
Bookkeepers are involved in preparing a company's financial statements, which include the balance sheet, income statement and various internal reports for management. The balance sheet summarizes a company's assets, liabilities and shareholders' equity. The income statement shows the sales, expenses and profits during a period. Interacting with the company's lenders to ensure loan payments are up to date and following up with overdue accounts are also part of a bookkeeper's job responsibilities. For medium and large companies, bookkeepers may serve as the liaison between the accounting department and other administrative support offices across the company.
For small businesses in particular, bookkeepers may also be required to act as a business manager or administrator. For a law, medical or real-estate office, this may include scheduling client visits, managing case files and following up with clients and potential clients. Bookkeepers may also train other administrative personnel, help during internal and external audits, assist in payroll processing and keep track of various local, state and federal regulatory reporting requirements and filing deadlines.
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