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accountants and bookkeepers

Tips on how to become a bookkeeper

Whether you’re venturing into bookkeeping for your own interests or you’re starting a new position with a company to track and manage their finances, having a solid understanding of bookkeeping is fundamental. Some online bookkeeping courses are free, while some require payment. Your employer may opt to pay for your course.

If you own the business you’re going to be keeping the books for, learning all you can about how to keep your own finances straight will save you time and money come tax time. When you use QuickBooks Online Accountant, you can join the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program, which offers courses leading to the core or advanced QuickBooks online certification.

Why bookkeeping? 

A bookkeeper records the financial transactions of your business in a systematic manner. Such transactions need to be identified, accepted, classified and recorded in a way that allows them to be presented in the form of financial statements.

A bookkeeper performs a host of activities, including:

  • Collecting financial data
  • Recognising monetary transactions and measuring them in terms of money
  • Recording the financial impact of the monetary transactions
  • Classifying the effects of the financial transactions
  • Preparing organised financial statements

Every business needs a bookkeeper to manage their books of accounts effectively and ensure they meet the requirements of filing tax returns and financial statements with their local revenue authorities.

In this article, we will discuss how to become a bookkeeper and various online bookkeeping courses.

How to become a bookkeeper

It is not mandatory to be a certified bookkeeper. However, a certified bookkeeper has the skills required to manage a company’s books of accounts effectively. It also adds a credential to your list of professional accomplishments. Some individuals learn bookkeeping skills on the job. But it is always helpful to seek further education to become a professional bookkeeper.

As a bookkeeper, you are responsible for maintaining accurate financial records and handling all the accounting processes for a business.Some employers may not require a particular qualification for an entry-level bookkeeping position. However, most employers expect you to have additional education and some type of work experience.

To advance your career as a bookkeeper, you can do the following:

Obtain a degree

Many bookkeeping jobs don’t require a specific qualification, but there are employers who require candidates to have a Certificate IV or a bachelor’s degree. 

A bachelor’s degree in accounting can provide you with the fundamental knowledge necessary to start advising businesses, individuals and organisations in financial and accounting matters.

Complete training

Most employers prefer hiring bookkeepers who have a proper degree. However, there are employers who hire candidates with just a secondary school education and prefer training them on the job.

Training in bookkeeping involves:

Is bookkeeping right for you?

Bookkeepers are professionals who record the day-to-day transactions of a business in an organised manner. This process of identifying, accepting, classifying and recording financial transactions requires attention to detail, multitasking and doing a lot of number crunching.If you are wondering whether bookkeeping is the right career choice for you, see the below list of essential skills required to excel as a bookkeeper:

  • Keen interest in administrative and clerical procedures
  • Comfort with numbers and other hard skills, like understanding calculators, recordkeeping, etc.
  • Attention to detail
  • Data-entry skills
  • An understanding of how to use accounting software like QuickBooks Online, Google Docs, Microsoft Office, etc. to record and analyse financial data
  • Comfort with set procedures and routines
  • Affinity for working with data
  • Basic accounting and bookkeeping knowledge, including bank reconciliation, debits and credits, accounts receivable, accounts payable, accrual accounting, basic financial statements, journal entries, general ledger, etc.
  • Payroll processing skills, including payroll tax calculations, benefits calculation, depositing payroll taxes, payroll journal entries, reporting payroll taxes, etc.
  • People and interpersonal skills like the ability to work with others, problem-solving, correcting errors, supervising, oral and written communication, etc.
  • Ability to manage financial transactions and flow of cash including payments, billing, invoicing, payments, customer relations, etc.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and thoroughness.
Take the stress out of managing your firm

What’s a typical day for a bookkeeper?

A professional bookkeeper should be detail-oriented, enjoy working with data, be comfortable with routine procedures and be comfortable with numbers.

The primary task of a bookkeeper is to keep track of the financial transactions of a business and generate relevant and accurate reports. These reports help the accountants, as well as the business owners, to understand the financial position of the business.

The following duties are common day-to-day tasks that make up a bookkeeper's work day:

  • Tracking cash flow with the help of online accounting software.
  • Tracking inventory and reporting any discrepancies.
  • Recording daily transactions pertaining to customer accounts as well as internal accounts.
  • Having a good understanding of double-entry bookkeeping.
  • Recording purchase invoices in accounting and bookkeeping software, processing payables reports and getting permission from management to pay bills.
  • Preparing and sending invoices to customers when they are due.
  • Reconciling bank statements with the company’s financial statements and matching various accounts in case of any errors.
  • Preparing and processing payroll details.
  • Ensuring the accuracy of statements in terms of correct journal entries, amounts, postings, etc.
  • Adjusting journal entries when there is a need.
  • Checking the general ledger at regular intervals to ensure that the balances and accounts are accurate.
  • Setting up and maintaining a chart of accounts in online bookkeeping software as per the double-entry system of accounting and accounting rules.
  • Preparing financial statements, including balance sheet, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement and other financial reports at the end of every month.
  • Doing online banking tasks, including processing supplier payments, checking for customer payments, downloading or printing bank statements, etc.
  • Ensuring that all deadlines are met. 
  • Dealing with bookkeeping documents, such as cheques from customers, bank and credit card statements, purchase invoices, etc.
  • Handling customer and supplier phone calls pertaining to invoices and payments.
  • Following up with customers for overdue payments.
  • Following accounting policies and procedures.

Free and low-cost online bookkeeping courses

Free and low-cost online bookkeeping courses are an excellent way to learn bookkeeping. These courses focus on bookkeeping fundamentals to enhance knowledge and bookkeeping skills.

The following are bookkeeping courses that you can pursue to enhance your employment prospects and demonstrate proficiency to your clients:


Coursera is an online platform that offers courses by top instructors from world-class universities and companies.

There are a host of free courses that give you access to on-demand video lectures, homework exercises and community discussion forums.

The paid courses offer quizzes and projects, and a course certificate upon completion.

Many of their courses have a cost. When you enrol in a course or specialisation on Coursera, you can enrol for free, but in order to earn a certificate, you need to purchase the course.

When you sign up for a Coursera Plus subscription, it will start a 7-day free trial. This free trial allows you to try a specialisation course for free. However, on the eighth day, your free trial automatically becomes a paid subscription unless you cancel the free trial version.

The following are some of the bookkeeping courses that you can take on Coursera:

The Knowledge Academy

With over 30,000 courses across 190 countries, the Knowledge Academy is one of the world’s largest providers of training courses. They provide courses in different categories like business analysis, project management, business accounting and bookkeeping. 

Corporate Finance Institute

The Corporate Finance Institute (CFI) is an online platform that provides online finance and accounting courses.CFI courses offer practical skills, templates and tools to enhance your accounting knowledge.These courses are taught by professional Wall Street trainers who have been teaching for over twenty years.The below courses are some of those offered in the area of accounting and finance by the CFI:

You can enrol in all these courses for free. However, if you want certification, you will have to purchase the CFI self-study bundle and FMVA certification.

In-person bookkeeping courses

Taking physical classes for bookkeeping offers many benefits, provided you have a flexible working schedule that gives you enough free time.One of the benefits of attending in-person bookkeeping classes is you can clarify your doubts by speaking to the instructor in person.

This is unlike the case of online courses, where you have to send an email or send a message to the instructor on a messaging app and wait for a response. There are a lot of institutes that offer small business workshops, giving valuable insights on bookkeeping and accounting.These workshops also give you an opportunity to meet like-minded professionals. These professionals can give you accounting and bookkeeping tips and tricks from their own experience.

QuickBooks certification

QuickBooks offers courses for accountants and bookkeepers that can be accessed from the comfort of your home, such as BAS on demand training. Our Core Certification was also designed by bookkeepers – although it’s applicable to both accountants and bookkeepers. Core Certification will help you learn everything you need to know to get your clients set up on QuickBooks to help them manage their books. 

Overview of QuickBooks Online 

Learn how to:

  • Choose and create a QBO Subscription
  • The different QBO user Types & adding users into your clients’ accounts
  • Navigating around QBO including QBO bookmarks, Accountant and Business view of the navigation bar
  • File setup and company settings
  • Setting up GST if your clients are registered for GST. 
  • Adding Customers and Suppliers
  • Adding Products and Services 
  • Connecting bank accounts to sync to QuickBooks Online and importing bank files.
  • Adding opening balances from a Journal and how to import the journal saving you time.
  • Customising invoices and other forms

Basic Payroll Setup

Learn how to:

  • Setup Payroll in your Clients account
  • Setup up STP for ATO Lodgment’s directly from QuickBooks 
  • Mapping the Chart of Accounts for your default accounts in your Balance sheet and Profit and Loss 
  • Creating Pay Categories 
  • Employee setup
  • Creating a Pay-run and we show you how easy it is to run the payrun and STP Lodgement straight away. 
  • Pay slips to the employee with just a few clicks when your running the payrun
  • ABA file setup and process
  • How to pay Super through Beam Super directly from the payroll centre


Learn how to:

  • Overview of the Banking Centre
  • How to Add, Match and review transactions
  • Creating Bank Rules to save you time. 
  • Using Tags
  • Capturing receipts and bills using the QuickBooks Online free App


Learn how to:

  • Creating a Quote, Invoice, and payments. 
  • Recording Expenses and Bill management
  • Looking at recurring transactions feature
  • Undeposited funds, what is it and how to deal with this efficiently.
  • Classes & Locations with Projects features. 
  • Budgets feature
  • Multi-currency transactions and how to add different currencies. 
  • Mileage tracking 


Learn how to:

  • Manage your reports by customising your favourite reports under the one spot so they are handy each time,
  • Professional-looking Management reports you can save and send out to your clients. 
  • Tailoring the Performance centre to suit your clients’ reporting needs.
  • Cashflow reporting to help your clients. 
  • The Audit Log feature with the availability of tracking all transactions in QuickBooks processed. 
  • Preparing and how to lodge a TPAR report for compliance in August each year.

Books Review & BAS Preparation

Learn how to:

  • Using the Books review feature to accurately check transactions that might be incomplete, reconciliations and account balances that all need to be checked prior to BAS preparations. 
  • What is an Auto bank reconciliation and how to fix this?
  • Correcting bank reconciliations errors using the Undo feature 
  • The Books review feature of Final Review, and wrap up including the BAS Lodgement
  • GST Centre walk through with a understanding of the automatic journal to help you control your balance sheet control accounts for BAS lodgement 

Preparing a set of Accounts (EOFY)

Learn how to:

  • Setup the Prep for Taxes feature to save you time at year end.
  • Add your firms’ checklists into the Prep for Taxes. 
  • Upload documents directly into your clients’ accounts using this feature. 
  • Review and Adjust feature. 
  • Grouping and Statements for better simplified financial reporting for year end

Roadmap to becoming a certified QuickBooks Proadvisor

You can now access CPD on-demand training via the ProAdvisor tab in QuickBooks Online Accountant. This self-paced QuickBooks training is designed in such a way that it fits your working schedule.

All you need to do is start and stop the training at your own convenience. Once you subscribe to the training course, it never expires. Therefore, you can watch the videos whenever you like.

The following are the various self-paced courses offered by QuickBooks:

  • Core Certification 
  • Advanced Certification, where you can take your expertise to the next level by learning key features like multi currency and inventory 

When you complete Core and Advanced Certification you will also have access to exclusive benefits from the ProAdvisor Program

QuickBooks Online Accountant helps you manage your work, your clients and your practice, all with one login. Find out more about Core Certifications and kickstart your journey with QuickBooks.

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