How to Become a Bookkeeper Online

Apr 29, 2020

Introduction to Bookkeeping

Bookkeepers are responsible for creating and maintaining financial records for businesses and other organizations. Most bookkeepers use computer software to track the money spent by a business, as well as the money a business makes. They are also responsible for creating reports, maintaining accurate files, and reconciling a business's books. Bookkeepers can be employed almost anywhere, from corporate businesses and government bodies to non-profits and small businesses. Becoming a bookkeeper online is relatively easy.

Required Skills Computer skills, knowledge of spreadsheets, accounting skills, basic math skills
Job Growth* -4% for 2018-2028
Median Salary (2019)* $41,230 per year

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Become a Bookkeeper Online

Bookkeepers do the important work of financial tracking and reporting, and many businesses rely on their expertise to ensure their records are accurate. You can learn how to become a bookkeeper and develop all of the necessary skills online.

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

Employers typically look for candidates with some postsecondary education, which could be an associate's or a bachelor's degree, both of which are available online. Most businesses give preference to applicants who have a degree in a related field, such as accounting. Coursework in these programs might cover foundational bookkeeping, payroll management, and taxation.

Having a bachelor's degree may make you a much more attractive candidate to potential employers, as it can show you have a more well-rounded set of skills. If getting a bachelor's degree is out of your reach, you may be able to take online coursework in a certificate or associate's degree program to learn practical bookkeeping skills.

Step 2: Develop Your Bookkeeping Skills

Most bookkeepers develop their skills on the job, with a senior employee helping them train. However, you can start to develop your skills before getting your first job by taking online courses in bookkeeping, records management, and computer programs such as Excel. You can find free online courses for many of these skills, so they can be completed even outside any degree program. You can also use the online courses from sites such as edX and Coursera to learn how to bookkeep if you have no degree or if you have a degree in a different field.

Step 3: Apply to Jobs Online

As more and more companies allow their workers to telecommute, you can find a job as a virtual bookkeeper if you wish to work from home. If you have a hard time getting your first job, dabbling in virtual bookkeeping can give you the experience you need to land a job elsewhere. Even the online job market is competitive, so consider offering your bookkeeping services to a local non-profit if you need to gain some experience.

Step 4: Advance in the Field

Once you obtain the foundational skills and knowledge of accounting and bookkeeping and have some work experience under your belt, you can advance within the field. Bookkeepers with experience can go on to become accountants, auditors, or senior employees who help train new bookkeepers. You may even wish to pursue graduate work in accounting, relying on the skills you learned as a bookkeeper.

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