Types of Bookkeepers & What They Do (2024)

types of bookkeepers

Bookkeepers play a crucial role in managing a company’s financial accounts and ensuring accurate record-keeping. In this article, we’ll explore the various types of bookkeepers and their specific roles and responsibilities. Whether you’re a small business owner or someone looking for a career in bookkeeping, understanding the different types of bookkeepers can help you find the perfect fit for your financial needs. From certified bookkeepers to freelance and virtual bookkeepers, we’ll provide insights into their roles and expertise.

Key Takeaways:

  • There are different types of bookkeepers, each with their own specialization and expertise.
  • Certified bookkeepers have passed a national exam and have proven experience in the accounting field.
  • Freelance and virtual bookkeepers offer flexible solutions for businesses of all sizes.
  • Understanding the different types of bookkeepers can help you choose the right fit for your financial needs.
  • Bookkeepers play a crucial role in maintaining accurate financial records for businesses.

What Does a Bookkeeper Do?

As a bookkeeper, my responsibilities encompass a wide range of tasks related to financial record-keeping and management. I play a crucial role in maintaining accurate and up-to-date financial information for businesses. Some of my key duties include:

  1. Categorizing expenses and transactions
  2. Sending invoices to clients and vendors
  3. Checking receipts and verifying credit card statements
  4. Handling payroll and tax payments
  5. Reconciling bank accounts
  6. Preparing financial reports and tax documents

By categorizing expenses and transactions, I ensure that all financial activities are properly recorded and organized. This helps businesses analyze their spending patterns and make informed decisions. I also send invoices to clients and vendors, ensuring that all parties involved are aware of the payment obligations.

One crucial aspect of my role is receipt verification. I carefully check receipts and verify credit card statements to ensure the accuracy of financial records. This prevents any discrepancies or fraudulent activities from going unnoticed.

Handling payroll and tax payments is another integral part of my job. I manage employee salaries, deductions, and tax withholdings, ensuring that everyone is paid accurately and on time. I also reconcile bank accounts, comparing the company’s records with bank statements to identify any discrepancies.

Preparing financial reports and tax documents is essential for evaluating the financial health of a business and complying with legal obligations. By generating comprehensive reports, I provide valuable insights into the company’s financial performance and assist in making informed business decisions. Additionally, I ensure that tax documents are accurately prepared and submitted to relevant authorities.

Overall, my role as a bookkeeper is vital in maintaining financial stability and ensuring compliance with various financial regulations. By performing these key tasks, I contribute to the success and growth of businesses.

Different Types of Bookkeepers

When it comes to bookkeeping, there are three main types of bookkeepers: general bookkeepers, full charge bookkeepers, and certified bookkeepers. Each type offers a different level of expertise and specialization, allowing businesses to choose the right fit for their specific needs.

1. General Bookkeeper

A general bookkeeper is responsible for handling financial transactions and postings for a company or individual. They ensure that financial records are accurate and up-to-date. General bookkeepers are proficient in basic bookkeeping tasks and have a good understanding of financial software. They are often the first point of contact for financial matters and play a crucial role in maintaining financial stability within an organization.

2. Full Charge Bookkeeper

A full charge bookkeeper has additional responsibilities beyond those of a general bookkeeper. In addition to handling financial transactions, they are also responsible for preparing financial statements and managing payroll. Full charge bookkeepers often work with small-to-medium-sized companies and require a higher level of accounting experience and expertise. They provide a more comprehensive suite of bookkeeping services, offering greater support in financial management and decision-making.

3. Certified Bookkeeper

Certified bookkeepers are highly knowledgeable professionals who have passed a national exam and possess proven experience in the accounting field. They are experts in financial record-keeping and possess a deep understanding of accounting principles and practices. Certified bookkeepers can handle all the tasks performed by general and full charge bookkeepers, as well as provide additional insights and guidance in complex financial matters. Their certification demonstrates their commitment to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and proficiency in their field.

Each type of bookkeeper offers unique advantages and benefits. General bookkeepers are ideal for businesses looking for reliable transaction management, while full charge bookkeepers provide a more comprehensive range of services. Certified bookkeepers bring a higher level of expertise and are well-suited for businesses in need of advanced financial analysis and guidance. Choosing the right type of bookkeeper is essential for ensuring accurate financial record-keeping and effective financial management.

Table: Comparison of Different Types of Bookkeepers

Type of Bookkeeper Responsibilities Qualifications Expertise
General Bookkeeper Financial transactions and postings Basic bookkeeping qualifications Transactional record-keeping
Full Charge Bookkeeper Financial transactions, preparation of financial statements, payroll management Accounting experience, additional training Comprehensive bookkeeping services
Certified Bookkeeper All tasks of general and full charge bookkeepers, advanced financial analysis Proven experience, national certification Expert financial record-keeping and analysis

General Bookkeeper

A general bookkeeper plays a vital role in recording financial transactions and postings for companies or individuals. Their expertise in bookkeeping ranges from basic single-entry methods to more comprehensive double-entry systems. They are well-versed in operating financial software, such as Quicken or QuickBooks, to accurately document financial data and maintain a general ledger.

General bookkeepers often start in entry-level positions within the financial department. With their strong organizational skills and growing expertise, they have the opportunity to advance to higher roles in the financial department of a company.

Whether they have little to no prior experience in the field or possess a solid foundation in bookkeeping principles, general bookkeepers provide essential support in managing financial transactions.

“A general bookkeeper ensures accurate financial record-keeping, enabling businesses to make informed decisions.”

General bookkeepers do not necessarily require continuing education, as their focus lies primarily in executing daily financial tasks and maintaining meticulous records. Their attention to detail and ability to handle financial transactions make them valuable assets to any organization.

Single-Entry vs. Double-Entry Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping methods can vary between single-entry and double-entry systems. A general bookkeeper is familiar with both approaches and can adapt to the specific needs of their clients or employers.

  • Single-Entry Bookkeeping: In single-entry bookkeeping, financial transactions are recorded in a single row, tracking only the basic details of each transaction. This method is typically used by smaller businesses with straightforward financial operations.
  • Double-Entry Bookkeeping: Double-entry bookkeeping involves recording each transaction twice, creating a debit entry and a corresponding credit entry. This method provides a more comprehensive overview of financial activities and is often employed by larger organizations with complex financial operations.

By utilizing their knowledge of single-entry and double-entry bookkeeping, general bookkeepers ensure the accuracy and integrity of financial records, which are crucial for decision-making, financial analysis, and compliance.

Financial Software and Tools

In the digital age, general bookkeepers are well-versed in utilizing financial software and tools to streamline their processes and enhance accuracy. They are proficient in using software such as Quicken or QuickBooks to manage financial transactions, generate reports, and maintain a general ledger.

Financial software provides a reliable platform for general bookkeepers to organize and categorize financial transactions, ensuring an efficient and systematic approach to bookkeeping tasks. This technology simplifies the recording and retrieval of financial data and increases overall productivity.

Entry-Level Position in the Financial Department

General bookkeeping is often an entry-level position within the financial department of an organization. Candidates with minimal experience in the field can start their career as general bookkeepers and gain valuable industry knowledge and practical skills.

As they progress in their roles, general bookkeepers have the opportunity to develop their expertise and take on more responsibilities within the financial department. This may include advanced bookkeeping tasks, assisting in financial analysis, or collaborating with other professionals to support the overall financial objectives of the organization.

Although entry-level, the role of a general bookkeeper is crucial in maintaining accurate financial records and assisting in the smooth operation of a company’s financial department.

Full Charge Bookkeeper

A full charge bookkeeper is a valuable asset for small-to-medium sized companies, responsible for a broad range of financial tasks beyond those of a general bookkeeper. In addition to recording transactions and maintaining accurate financial records, a full charge bookkeeper takes on additional responsibilities such as preparing financial statements and managing payroll. They play a crucial role in providing businesses with the financial information needed for decision-making and regulatory compliance.

To become a full charge bookkeeper, individuals often pursue accounting courses to enhance their skills and knowledge in the field. This additional education equips them with a deeper understanding of financial management and reporting, enabling them to handle the complex needs of small-to-medium sized companies more effectively.

“Being a full charge bookkeeper requires both a solid foundation in accounting principles and the ability to handle the diverse financial needs of businesses. It’s a role that demands precision, attention to detail, and the ability to work independently.”

Continuing education is not a strict requirement for full charge bookkeepers to stay up-to-date on changes in the field, but many professionals choose to pursue additional learning opportunities to maintain a competitive edge in the job market. By staying informed about new accounting standards, tax regulations, and technological advancements, full charge bookkeepers can provide the most accurate and valuable financial support to the companies they serve.

Key Responsibilities of a Full Charge Bookkeeper:

  • Recording and categorizing financial transactions
  • Preparing financial statements
  • Managing payroll processes
  • Monitoring and reconciling bank accounts
  • Handling accounts payable and accounts receivable
  • Assisting with tax preparation and compliance

A skilled and experienced full charge bookkeeper can add significant value to a company’s financial operations and contribute to its overall success. Their expertise in financial management, coupled with their ability to navigate complex financial tasks, makes them an essential component of strong financial management.

Certified Bookkeeper

As a certified bookkeeper, I possess extensive knowledge and expertise in managing the financial aspects of businesses. With a minimum of 2 years of proven experience in the accounting field and successfully passing a four-part national exam, I am equipped to handle all the tasks of a general and full charge bookkeeper on a daily basis.

One of the primary responsibilities of a certified bookkeeper is to prepare accurate financial and income statements. This involves meticulously recording and organizing daily transactions, ensuring all income and expenses are accurately represented. By maintaining meticulous records, I provide businesses with a clear understanding of their financial health and performance.

Additionally, I manage accounts payable and receivable, ensuring that all payments and invoices are accurately processed and recorded. This includes overseeing payroll and managing all aspects of payroll management, such as calculating wages, deducting taxes, and issuing paychecks.

Continuing education is an essential aspect of being a certified bookkeeper. As tax laws and regulations change over time, it is crucial to stay current and well-informed. By regularly participating in continuing education programs and staying updated on changing tax laws, I can provide businesses with accurate and compliant financial services.

Benefits of Hiring a Certified Bookkeeper

When businesses hire a certified bookkeeper like myself, they can expect utmost professionalism, accuracy, and expertise in financial management. By entrusting their accounts to a certified professional, businesses can have peace of mind knowing that their financial records are in capable hands.

“I am committed to providing businesses with a seamless and efficient bookkeeping experience. By leveraging my knowledge and experience, I strive to ensure that businesses have accurate financial information and can make informed decisions.”

Partnering with a certified bookkeeper not only helps maintain accurate financial records but also allows businesses to focus on their core operations without worrying about the intricacies of bookkeeping. With my expertise, businesses can streamline their financial processes and work towards sustainable growth.

Certified Bookkeeper

Continued Excellence in Financial Management

Responsibilities Skills
Preparing financial and income statements Financial analysis, attention to detail
Managing daily transactions Record-keeping, accuracy
Accounts payable and receivable Financial organization, invoicing, payment processing
Payroll management Knowledge of tax regulations, payroll software proficiency

As a certified bookkeeper, I am dedicated to providing exceptional financial management services. I understand the importance of accurate and up-to-date financial records, and I am committed to helping businesses thrive by maintaining meticulous records, managing payroll, and staying informed about changing tax laws and regulations.

By entrusting your financial management to a certified bookkeeper, you can ensure that your business’s financial records are in the hands of a knowledgeable professional who is committed to your success.

Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping

In the digital age, businesses have the opportunity to streamline their operations through outsourcing various tasks. One such task that can be effectively outsourced is bookkeeping. Outsourcing bookkeeping can provide numerous benefits, making it a cost-effective solution for businesses of all sizes. Instead of hiring an in-house bookkeeper, companies can partner with a reputable firm or agency that specializes in bookkeeping services.

One such firm is Bench, a trusted name in the industry. Bench offers professional bookkeeping services tailored to meet the unique needs of businesses. With Bench, you can have your own dedicated bookkeeper who will handle all your financial records and transactions. This allows you to focus on other aspects of your business while ensuring accurate and up-to-date bookkeeping.

The benefits of outsourcing your bookkeeping are numerous. Firstly, it is a cost-effective solution, as you only pay for the services you need, without the additional expenses of hiring and training an in-house bookkeeper. This can result in significant savings for your business. Additionally, outsourcing your bookkeeping allows you to access the expertise of professionals who specialize in the field. These professionals have extensive knowledge and experience in bookkeeping, ensuring accurate and efficient financial management.

By partnering with a firm like Bench, you can also benefit from the convenience of outsourcing. With their user-friendly platform, you can easily interact with your dedicated bookkeeper and have real-time access to your financial data. Bench offers a free trial period, allowing you to test their services and determine if they are the right fit for your business. After the trial period, you can choose from their affordable monthly packages that provide ongoing bookkeeping support.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping:

  • Cost-effective alternative to hiring an in-house bookkeeper
  • Access to expertise of specialized professionals
  • Convenience and real-time access to financial data
  • Free trial period to test the services
  • Affordable monthly packages for ongoing bookkeeping support

Outsourcing your bookkeeping can be a game-changer for your business. In the digital age, it provides a cost-effective and efficient solution to manage your financial records. By partnering with a reputable firm like Bench, you can ensure that your bookkeeping is in capable hands, allowing you to focus on growing your business.

Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping

Finding the Right Type of Bookkeeper for Your Business

When it comes to finding the right bookkeeper for your business, it’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences. There are various job titles that bookkeepers can have, such as head bookkeeper, junior accountant, or accounting clerk. Each title represents a different level of expertise and experience.

If you’re just starting out and have a limited budget, hiring a less educated and less expensive bookkeeper, such as an accounting clerk or junior accountant, may be a suitable option. You can train them according to your personalized preferences as your business grows. This allows you to have more control over their training and ensures that they align with your specific business requirements.

On the other hand, if you need a bookkeeper with advanced knowledge and expertise, such as a head bookkeeper or certified bookkeeper, it’s essential to hire someone with the necessary qualifications and experience. A head bookkeeper typically has more responsibilities and manages the overall financial operations of your business. A certified bookkeeper, on the other hand, has proven their expertise by passing a national exam and is highly knowledgeable in the field.

Choosing the right type of bookkeeper for your business is crucial for its smooth operation and sustainable growth. Consider your current financial needs and future aspirations, and select a bookkeeper who can provide the level of support and expertise required to achieve your business goals.

hiring a bookkeeper

Bookkeepers vs. Accountants: Understanding the Difference

While the terms bookkeeper and accountant are sometimes used interchangeably, there are distinct differences between the two roles. Bookkeepers primarily focus on administrative tasks related to financial record management, such as completing payroll and accurately recording transactions. On the other hand, accountants provide a broader understanding of a company’s financial health, perform audits, and prepare tax returns. Accountants may also have additional responsibilities beyond bookkeeping, including financial analysis, strategic planning, and advising on business decisions.

Bookkeepers play a crucial role in maintaining organized and accurate financial records for businesses. Their responsibilities involve recording and categorizing financial transactions, ensuring that all expenses and income are properly documented. By diligently managing financial records, bookkeepers provide the foundation for businesses to assess their financial health and make informed decisions.

Bookkeepers are responsible for managing day-to-day financial activities, maintaining ledgers, reconciling bank statements, and preparing financial reports. They work closely with accountants to ensure that the company’s financial records are accurate and up-to-date. Bookkeepers often utilize digital software and accounting systems to streamline their tasks and improve efficiency.

Financial Health Assessment and Reporting

Bookkeepers are focused on capturing and organizing financial data, allowing accountants to analyze and assess the company’s financial health. By maintaining accurate records, bookkeepers provide accountants with the necessary data to prepare financial statements, assess profitability, and determine areas of financial strength or weakness.

“Accurate financial record-keeping is paramount for businesses to make sound financial decisions and demonstrate transparency to stakeholders.”

Audits and Tax Preparation

Accountants are responsible for performing audits—thorough examinations of a company’s financial records—to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. They review bookkeeper-generated records for accuracy, identify discrepancies, and provide recommendations for improvement. Additionally, accountants play a crucial role in tax preparation, ensuring that businesses comply with tax laws and regulations, and that accurate tax returns are filed on time.

Additional Responsibilities

While bookkeepers focus primarily on financial record management and administration, accountants often have additional responsibilities. Accountants may provide financial advice, assist in budgeting and forecasting, conduct financial analysis, and contribute to strategic decision-making. They possess a deeper understanding of financial concepts and are well-versed in analyzing financial data to provide valuable insights and guidance to business owners and stakeholders.

Ultimately, both bookkeepers and accountants are essential for the overall financial management of a business. While bookkeepers handle day-to-day financial administrative tasks and ensure accurate record-keeping, accountants bring a broader perspective, offering financial expertise and strategic guidance. Working together, bookkeepers and accountants provide valuable financial services that contribute to the success and growth of businesses.

Bookkeeper vs. Accountant

Bookkeeper Accountant
Focuses on administrative tasks related to financial record management. Provides a broader understanding of the company’s financial health.
Completes payroll and accurately records transactions. Performs audits and prepares tax returns.
Manages day-to-day financial activities and reconciles bank statements. Conducts financial analysis and provides strategic guidance.
Works closely with accountants to ensure accurate financial records. Relies on accurate financial records prepared by bookkeepers.

What is Bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping is an essential process in managing a business’s financial transactions and maintaining accurate record-keeping. Traditionally, bookkeepers used physical books for record-keeping, but with advancements in technology, much of the process is now done using digital software. Bookkeeping involves organizing and categorizing financial data, tracking expenses, and ensuring that all transactions are properly recorded.

There are two main methods of bookkeeping: single-entry and double-entry. In single-entry bookkeeping, transactions are recorded in a single row, keeping a simple record of income and expenses. On the other hand, double-entry bookkeeping involves recording transactions twice, with both debit and credit entries. This method provides a more comprehensive overview of a business’s financial position.

Bookkeeping plays a crucial role in businesses of all sizes and industries. It helps in assessing the financial health of a company, making informed business decisions, and fulfilling legal and tax obligations. Accurate bookkeeping ensures that all financial records are up-to-date and can facilitate financial analysis, budgeting, and forecasting.

To give you a better understanding of bookkeeping, here is a table comparing the key characteristics of single-entry and double-entry bookkeeping:

Method Key Characteristics
Single-entry Bookkeeping
  • Records transactions in a single row
  • Simple and easy to understand
  • Basic record-keeping method
  • Commonly used by small businesses
Double-entry Bookkeeping
  • Records transactions twice (debit and credit entries)
  • Provides a comprehensive financial overview
  • Allows for accurate financial analysis
  • Used by medium to large businesses

In summary, bookkeeping is a vital aspect of managing a business’s financial transactions and ensuring accurate record-keeping. With the use of digital software and the application of different bookkeeping methods, businesses can effectively track their finances and make informed decisions based on accurate and up-to-date financial data.

Bookkeeper Salary

When considering a career as a bookkeeper, it’s natural to wonder about the potential earnings. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for bookkeepers in the United States is $45,560 per year as of [Year]. Keep in mind that the salary can vary depending on several factors such as:

  • Experience
  • Location
  • Size of the company

Bookkeepers have various options when it comes to employment arrangements. They can choose between full-time and part-time positions, giving them the flexibility to balance work and personal life. Additionally, some bookkeepers have the option to work from home, taking advantage of the benefits that remote work offers.

It’s important to note that the bookkeeping field is competitive, and having relevant certifications and experience can positively impact earning potential. By continually investing in your professional growth and staying up-to-date with industry trends, you can increase your chances of earning a higher salary.

Industry Comparison

To provide a clearer understanding of bookkeeper salaries, below is a comparison of median wages with similar finance-related occupations, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Occupation Median Salary
Bookkeepers $45,560 per year
Accounting Clerks $42,960 per year
Payroll and Timekeeping Clerks $45,130 per year

As shown in the table, bookkeepers generally earn a competitive salary compared to other finance-related occupations.

Key Takeaways

  • The median salary for bookkeepers in the United States is $45,560 per year.
  • Salary can vary based on factors such as experience, location, and company size.
  • Bookkeepers have the option to work full-time or part-time and may have the flexibility to work from home.
  • Having relevant certifications and experience can positively impact earning potential.

Ultimately, finding success as a bookkeeper goes beyond just earning a salary. It’s about finding fulfillment in a career that offers stability, growth opportunities, and the chance to contribute to the financial success of businesses.

How to Become a Bookkeeper

If you’re interested in becoming a bookkeeper, there are several steps you can take to gain the necessary skills and qualifications. Here are some essential steps to help you kick-start your bookkeeping career.

1. Take Bookkeeping Courses

To develop a strong foundation in bookkeeping, it’s recommended to enroll in bookkeeping courses. These courses will provide you with the necessary knowledge to understand financial reports, use accounting tools effectively, and navigate industry-specific software.

2. Pursue Bookkeeping Certification

Consider pursuing a bookkeeping certification to demonstrate your expertise and meet industry standards. One of the most recognized certifications is the Certified Bookkeeper designation. This certification validates your skills and enhances your credibility as a bookkeeping professional.

3. Build Essential Bookkeeping Skills

Apart from formal education and certification, it’s crucial to develop essential bookkeeping skills. These skills include attention to detail, strong organizational abilities, proficiency in financial software, and excellent communication skills. Additionally, staying updated with industry best practices is essential to stay relevant in an ever-evolving field.

4. Consider an Associate or Bachelor’s Degree

While a degree is not always mandatory, having an associate or bachelor’s degree in bookkeeping or related fields can enhance your career prospects. The additional educational background provides a deeper understanding of accounting principles and can make you more competitive in the job market.


In conclusion, bookkeeping plays a crucial role in the financial management of a business. By understanding the different types of bookkeepers available, you can choose the right professional to meet your specific needs. Whether you require a general bookkeeper, a full charge bookkeeper, or a certified bookkeeper, each type offers unique expertise and specialization.

Accurate financial record-keeping is essential for the smooth operation and success of any business. Bookkeepers are responsible for maintaining up-to-date records, categorizing transactions, handling payroll, preparing financial statements, and more. Their expertise ensures that businesses can make informed financial decisions and comply with tax regulations.

When choosing a bookkeeper, consider the specific requirements of your business. Think about the level of experience, qualifications, and expertise needed to effectively manage your financial records. Whether you decide to hire a bookkeeper in-house or outsource your bookkeeping needs, selecting the right professional is crucial for the financial health and growth of your business.


What are the different types of bookkeepers?

The different types of bookkeepers include general bookkeepers, full charge bookkeepers, and certified bookkeepers.

What does a bookkeeper do?

A bookkeeper is responsible for tasks such as categorizing expenses, sending invoices, verifying receipts, handling payroll, reconciling bank accounts, and preparing financial reports.

What is a general bookkeeper?

A general bookkeeper records financial transactions and postings, and their knowledge can range from basic single-entry bookkeeping to more detailed double-entry bookkeeping.

What is a full charge bookkeeper?

A full charge bookkeeper has additional responsibilities such as preparing financial statements and handling payroll, typically working with small-to-medium sized companies.

What is a certified bookkeeper?

A certified bookkeeper is a highly knowledgeable professional who has passed a national exam and has proven experience in the accounting field. They handle all the tasks of a general and full charge bookkeeper.

Can I outsource my bookkeeping?

Yes, businesses can outsource bookkeeping to firms or agencies like Bench, which offers professional bookkeeping services with dedicated bookkeepers and affordable monthly packages.

What job titles can a bookkeeper have?

Bookkeepers can have job titles such as head bookkeeper, junior accountant, or accounting clerk.

What is the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?

Bookkeepers focus on financial record management and transactions, while accountants have a broader understanding of a company’s financial health, perform audits, and prepare tax returns.

What is bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping is the process of keeping track of a business’s financial transactions and organizing financial records.

What is the salary range for bookkeepers?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for bookkeepers in the United States is ,560 per year. Actual salary can vary based on factors such as experience, location, and company size.

How can I become a bookkeeper?

To become a bookkeeper, you can take bookkeeping courses to gain knowledge, pursue a bookkeeping certification, and build essential bookkeeping skills. Having an associate or bachelor’s degree can also enhance your career prospects.

Why is bookkeeping important?

Bookkeeping is important in maintaining accurate financial records, ensuring compliance with tax regulations, and providing insights into a business’s financial health and performance.

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