With the New Year upon us, it is this time of year when people start to analyse their lives over the last year and how they want the next year to be. Unsurprisingly this becomes one of the main times of year for career changes and we thought it would be good to highlight one particular career that provides a steady wage, a constant challenge and sociable working hours.
Bookkeeping is one of the most respected jobs in any company, but one of those roles considered a bit dull from outsiders. You need a lot of organisation skills, a real affinity with numbers and attention to detail to make a good career from it. But you don’t have to be born with these skills, like anything it can be taught with experience and the proper tutoring.
Good, qualified bookkeepers are in great demand in the UK. As government regulations and requirements multiply in numbers and complexity, businesses and organisations desperately need help keeping their accounts in order and are always looking for capable people.
The Personal Qualities That Recruiters Look For in a Bookkeeper
As mentioned there are certain specific qualities that recruiters look for in people applying for bookkeeping positions. These include:
Bookkeepers are expected to be neat and well-organized. You’d be the one person on the job who’s responsible for ensuring that all the numbers are correct and in perfect order. That’s a big responsibility, so you would have to be willing to be accountable for the fine print, and for the tiniest details.
Bookkeepers are expected to be good with numbers. That doesn’t mean you need to be a mathematical genius, but it does mean you can’t be afraid of numbers.
Bookkeepers are expected to be analytical and methodical. So if you enjoy solving puzzles, bookkeeping may be perfect for you. Bookkeepers need to be good at defining and solving problems to help management make better financial decisions.
You would be expected to get the job done, done right and done on time. Bookkeeping deadlines are often critical to the business. With some regulatory bodies changing fines for late submitting, the job requires you to schedule the working day appropriately.
Technologically up to date
With the constant development of computer software all accounting professionals are expected to stay abreast of technological changes. Most small business owners have little time or inclination to keep up repairs. It pays to keep up to date.
The Professional Qualifications That Recruiters Look For in a Bookkeeper
Nothing more than a few GCSEs or equivalent with some form of mathematics qualification is actually required for many entry-level bookkeeping positions, so career changers can often find volunteer and part-time bookkeeping jobs helping friends keep their books. It’s a great way to get on-the-job experience.
However, recruiters are on the lookout for people with a few more qualifications.
Recruiters will not only scrutinize your personal qualities. They’ll also take a close look at your training and your experience. They’ll want your CV to meet their standards. Here’s how you can look your best:
Recruiters will definitely be looking at your education, so make sure you get the best training you can. Take classes accredited by the ICB (Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) or IAB (International Association of Bookkeepers).
Classes would include some basic maths and bookkeeping techniques, as well as more advanced study in specific areas such as payroll, accounts receivable or accounts payable.
Bookkeeping courses can be taken in college or through distance learning courses. The length and cost will vary depending on your chosen level of achievement.
Recruiters will want to see how much actual hands-on experience you have keeping books. Of course, the more experience you have, the better you’ll look. But recruiters will also look at the quality of your experience, so it’ll pay for you to take on as much responsibility as you can at each job.
Competition can be fierce in the job market. Basically, there are two ways to get the kind experience that’ll help you stand out in the crowd. One way is to get a wide variety of experience in different bookkeeping areas. The other way is get a whole lot of experience in one specific area, such as payroll tax preparation.
Set your salary expectations
Changing careers to become a bookkeeper can be a smart decision. According to Payscale.com bookkeepers can earn anything from £13K to £24K+ depending on lower level experience, So it is important, if you are starting out to ensure you can meet the expectations of employers with a mixture of experience and education.