Bookkeeping is one of the oldest professions in the world. Put very simply, Bookkeepers help businesses keep track of money earned and spent by recording and monitoring daily transactions (not to be confused with accountants, who are qualified to provide more services).
If you are meticulous, great at problem solving and love numbers, then this could be a brilliant career to consider.
- Persistent and diligent, prepared to account for every last cent
- Extremely organised and methodical, with an analytical mind
- Highly numerate, with great communication and technical skills
- Keep accurate financial records and reconcile accounts
- Create and send invoices, pay suppliers, maintain the company’s payroll
- Find and report irregularities quickly
- Produce reports including balance sheets, income statements, end of year assessments, and prepare information for tax returns
Lifestyle Impact: Low
- Part Time opportunities: Very high – around 67% of Bookkeepers work part-time (source: joboutlook.gov.au).
- Average hours for full-time workers: 42 hours a week, which is average (source: joboutlook.gov.au).
- Bookkeepers’ salary (average) $65,000* per year (source: seek.com.au). *Salaries vary depending on your skills and experience.
- Future career growth: Stable (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
- You will be doing most of your work indoors, in an office environment, and within regular business hours. There may be opportunities to work remotely and from home.
Bookkeepers are most in demand in these locations:
Demand for Bookkeepers is spread evenly across Australia, with a highest demand in Victoria and Western Australia. Most Bookkeepers work in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry.
How to become a Bookkeeper in Australia
Although there are no formal requirements for becoming a bookkeeper, without a relevant qualification and some industry experience you may find it difficult to be competitive in the industry, and you may not be eligible to register as a BAS agent or become certified in this profession.
Step 1 – Study English, Mathematics and IT (mastering spreadsheets and bookkeeping programs is possible) at high school – taking some business-related subjects could also be helpful.
Step 2 – Choose your pathway:
- Complete a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping or similar from a registered training organisation (RTO). This could take a minimum of 18 weeks full time study or up to 2 years.
- Consider undertaking a traineeship where you’ll complete the necessary qualification, receive on the job training and get paid.
- Complete a Diploma of Accounting, which could take up to 2 years.
- Studying a Bachelor of Accounting takes a minimum of 3 years full time – although this is not necessary for most bookkeeping positions, it could allow you to apply for more professional roles immediately upon graduating.
Step 3 – Complete 1,000 to 1,400 hours of work experience with the supervision of a registered ABS Agent.
Step 4 – Register with the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) to become a BAS Agent; check the requirements in your state or territory as they may vary. You’ll need do this in order to legally offer certain services.
Step 5 – You could then apply to become a Certified Bookkeeper which could make you a more desirable and trustworthy prospect to potential clients.
Step 6 – Keep learning and regularly update your software skills.
Find out more here –
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does it take to become a Bookkeeper in Australia?
If you are prepared to start at the bottom, you could complete a Certificate in as little as 6 months – other courses may take longer. On average you could expect it to take around 3 years to become a registered BAS Agent. If you choose to complete a bachelor’s degree first, it could take even longer.
What do Bookkeepers do?
Bookkeepers maintain financial records for businesses and companies. They monitor transactions, update statements, balance accounts, produce important financial statements and other reports helping businesses run efficiently.
Where do Bookkeepers work?
Bookkeepers might work in-house for a variety of organisations and industries, from their own private offices, or even work remotely from home.
Do I need to go to university to become a Bookkeeper?
Not necessarily. You will require a high school certificate as an absolute minimum and be prepared to obtain work experience and start from the bottom of the ladder. Or you can choose to undertake qualifications and apply for more advanced professional positions.
Do I have to be good with technology to become a Bookkeeper?
Yes. You’ll need to be able to use lots of different types of software and adapt to the ever-changing technological environment in this profession. So being tech savvy and continually learning and developing your skills are requirements in this career.