Bookkeeping Job Description: What Does a Bookkeeper Do?

bookkeeping job descriptionBookkeepers play a vital role in the maintenance of financial records for businesses.  The exact scope and duties of a bookkeeper could vary based on the size of the company and its financial needs.  You will find a bookkeeper position plays the main accounting role in smaller businesses that do not have their own accountant on staff.  Don’t count bookkeepers out of the staff that can also be found working for larger companies, however.  They may be hired to perform data entry, accounts receivable and accounts payable for medium to large companies that may also have an in house accounting department that handles payroll for employees and vendor payment accounts.  Bookkeepers do a lot of the same type of work that accountants do, but they usually do not need to have an accounting or business degree to find a job as an accountant.  Whereas, accountants do need to usually have a degree in accounting, math, or business in order to obtain employment in the accounting field.  Although you can gain employment as a bookkeeper without a degree, it could limit you in terms of advancement within a company.  Join thousands of others who are interested in learning more about bookkeeping, and enroll in our Introduction to Bookkeeping course today.

Many restaurants rely on key employees to fill the bookkeeper roles within individual sites.  These key hourly employees will be responsible for the accounting of payroll hours, taking and entering vendor invoices into the company database, and helping managers note inventory for purchasing requests.  All of this information is then transmitted to the corporate office which will then send paychecks out to employees, and make sure that vendors get paid on time.  Without the bookkeeper the work would have to be absorbed by another position to make sure that the accounting details were taken care.  If not the restaurant could risk falling behind in payroll, running out of inventory, or risk paying their vendors late or possibly not paying them at all.  Bookkeepers duties could include a variety of tasks, and we’ve listed some of the most frequent as well as their descriptions below.

Accounts Payable

Bookkeepers are often times responsible for the Accounts Payable for the company.  They will receive invoices from vendors and should match them with purchase orders to make sure that the correct amounts are being billed.  This information will then be entered into the company ledger and payment amounts approved for work completed or purchases made by the proper manager before checks or credit card payments are sent out to vendors.  All information should be entered into the company accounting software to confirm accuracy and maintain financial records.  Bookkeepers may also be responsible for maintaining the petty cash account in the office and with the bank.

Accounts Receivable

This is one of the most important roles of a bookkeeper.  After all, a company can’t stay in business if it isn’t being paid for work that it’s completing or doing.  The accounts receivable process begins with billing customers for goods or services that have been completed.  Bookkeepers are responsible for preparing and sending out customer invoices on a monthly basis.  A record of goods or services that are being billed should be maintained in the companies electronic accounting system and credited to the correct account.  Bookkeepers will also have to contact customers with past due invoices to settle past due accounts and try and make arrangements with customers who cannot pay the full amount owed at the current time.  Learn how to read and create financial reports, set up accounting software, and the best way to maintain electronic and paper financial records, our guide to small business accounting will teach you the tricks of the trade.

Payroll

The word payroll on blue business binder on a deskPayroll is another extremely important responsibility that is usually a task that is performed by the bookkeeper position.  Payroll duties may include monitoring the payments made to salaried employees and verifying them for accuracy, gathering employee sales reports for reconciliation and paying employees’ commission for goods or services sold, reimbursing employees for expenses submitted, processing wage garnishments and collecting employee time sheets in order to verify hours worked and process pay checks.  All information gathered should be entered into the company accounting system and payroll accounting system, if it is separate.  If employee paychecks are produced by an outside company, employee payroll information will also need to be sent to them in order to produce employee pay checks.  Quickbooks is a great accounting software that can be used to maintain business account records as well as produce employee payroll checks.  Quickbooks 2013 – Training Made Easy will show you how to use Quickbooks effectively and help you effectively run business finances.

Banking

Bank deposits of payments received from customers or other outside sources should be prepared and entered into the accounts receivable system.  Bank statements should be reconciled monthly and any discrepancies should be researched and corrected immediately.  Any wire transfers that may need to be made are also typically handled by the bookkeeper.  Bookkeepers will usually be able to sign business checks, deposit and withdraw funds from the company accounts.  Being responsible for the funds that pass through a business daily, their employee payroll requires a lot of checks and balances.  The fundamentals of banking is a great refresher course to help you to remember all that you need to know about money and banks.

Taxes

Nothing in life is certain, except death and taxes.  Bookkeepers will be responsible for the preparation of monthly and quarterly tax reports for the business.  The size, location, and nature of the business will determine whether the bookkeeper will also be responsible for the filing of quarterly and annual federal and state unemployment tax returns, payroll taxes reports, and business and operating tax returns.  Any refunds which may be sent to the business on behalf of the state of local government should be processed and deposited into the business account.

As you can see bookkeepers wear many hats in a company and their role can vary greatly based on the size and type of company for which they work.  They are responsible for the majority of the financial transactions that occur in a business, tracking them and maintaining them.  It can be a very fulfilling job with plenty of potential for growth in this economy.