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To become a bookkeeper, you will need a minimum of a high school diploma or GED, although some employers prefer candidates who have completed some level of post-secondary education such as an associate's degree or certificate program. Many employers will hire bookkeepers with no experience and provide them with on-the-job training.
Professional certification as a bookkeeper is voluntary, but can help expand your career opportunities. You can become a certified bookkeeper through the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) once you have at least two years experience on the job. There are no minimum educational requirements to earn the certification. Candidates for this certification must submit an application, meet the minimum work experience requirement, pass the four-part exam, adhere to the code of ethics and complete about 20 hours of continuing education requirements each year.
Bookkeepers need several skills to be successful in their roles, but the most commonly sought skills include strong math skills, computer literacy and data entry, a strong attention to detail and accuracy, verbal and written communication skills, time management and organizational skills.
Bookkeepers handle the recording phase of the accounting process. Accountants handle the interpreting, analyzing, classifying, reporting and summarizing phases of the accounting process. When a business needs to handle financial tasks beyond the scope of a bookkeeper, the bookkeeper's records are given to an accountant.