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How Do I Get Bookkeeper Certification?

A bookkeeper working.
A bookkeeper reviewing a ledger.
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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2014
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There are three steps required to get bookkeeper certification: post-secondary education, bookkeeping experience, and the successful completion of the certification examination. A bookkeeper is responsible for the daily financial management of a small to medium sized company. In addition to financial document data entry, bookkeepers also process payroll, run reports, and reconcile accounts.

People who want to get bookkeeper certification have usually been working as a bookkeeper for several years and enjoy bookkeeping or accounting. The bookkeeping certification is granted by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB). Successful graduates can provide this certification to potential employers.

The first step toward getting a bookkeeper certification is to complete a post-secondary education program. Many people complete a one- or two-year bookkeeping program at a community or career college. This training covers accounting principles, financial reporting requirements, important business law and related issues. Most schools offer both full- and part-time programs available. This flexibility allows students to work and learn.

A minimum of three years' bookkeeping experience is required before you are eligible to write the bookkeeper certification examination. This must be verifiable bookkeeping experience, where you are solely responsible for a company's financial processes. This type of experience is usually earned over a period of two to three calendar years.

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The bookkeeping certification examination is two to three hours in length and is a combination of multiple choice and calculation problems. Many associations offer preparation courses and seminars to help students prepare for this exam. Accuracy, comprehension and speed are all important when preparing for this examination.

Upon successful completion of the bookkeeping certification program, candidates can look for employment opportunities as bookkeepers in a company, set up their own bookkeeping business, or work for an accounting services firm as a bookkeeper. It is highly recommended that anyone who is planning to set up her own bookkeeping company obtain the certificate first. Professional credentials provide assurances to all potential clients that you have a specific level of skill and training as a bookkeeper.

People who enjoy working with numbers, are detail-oriented, and like to work independently report the greatest level of satisfaction as bookkeepers. This type of work is often a stepping stone to further accounting training programs. There is a specific limit to the services that a bookkeeper can offer, based on government regulations. Bookkeepers are not able to create financial statements, complete tax returns, or provide financial advice, for example.

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anon315270
Post 4

@BreeZee 22: It's called a Catch-22.

lovealot
Post 3

My nephew is graduating from high school next year. He is interested in finance and accounting. Unfortunately, his family has had some hard times and isn't able to send him to a four-year college.

He was asking me the other day about what he should do after high school. I told him about a friend of mine, who attended a program at a community college in bookkeeping. She went part time and also worked in a entry level job at a small business. After completing the courses in bookkeeping, she got a job there and worked for three years before taking the certification exam.

My nephew thought this might work for him. He could earn some money to go to a four-year college and eventually get his degree in accounting or finance. He figured that would take a long time, but if he couldn't get a job in accounting, he could always fall back on bookkeeping until the economy improves.

BreeZee22
Post 2

This is one of those things that I don’t understand. If you need to be a certified bookkeeper to get a job and yet you have to job experience to be certified how can you get a job or get certified?

Janismiller
Post 1

Bookkeeping and accounting are occupations that I have encouraged my children to consider. I don't think I have ever looked at a job board without seeing a want ad for a bookkeeper and/or an accountant.

It seems like there are always job openings for those careers. Even the US Bureau of Labor always seems to predict job growth in this area every year. You can find bookkeeping training schools online and off, just be sure the school itself is certified.

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