Bookkeepers play a vital role in the way an organization is run – keeping track of financial documents, transactional data, and often billing and payroll. They are well-versed in Excel, QuickBooks, and typically know their way around a general ledger. Not everyone (even some business owners) can say the same. Bookkeeping is one of those sought-after accounting skills that companies covet, but that is usually outsourced or hired out for. Today, it is certified bookkeepers that are in highest demand.
As we detailed in a recent article, Connecticut employers generally look to hire bookkeepers who have completed two key steps: (1) Pursued some college-level education, and (2) Earned professional certification. However, it is important to call out that neither of these steps are mandatory. Currently, there are no statewide requirements for bookkeepers. Employers instead set their own standards for applicants, which usually includes several years of experience and/or education, some postsecondary accounting coursework, and basic certifications in the field. Bookkeepers who have a degree and professional certification are positioned for the most job prospects and higher salary potential.
Whether you are just kicking off your career in accounting, making a complete career change, or seeking career advancement (and bookkeeping certification is your ticket to the top) – If your main goal is to become a successful bookkeeper, you are in the right place. Below, Goodwin College outlines the ins and outs of pursuing your bookkeeping certification.
Why Pursue Your Bookkeeping Certification?
While bookkeeping certification is technically voluntary, there are many reasons to consider moving forward with this step. You see, certification demonstrates a high professional standard among bookkeepers. Bookkeepers who are certified show a greater level of knowledge, skill, experience, and commitment to their career – simply put, they up the ante. They qualify for more bookkeeping positions across Connecticut, and are also eligible for higher pay.
Already, Connecticut is ranked among the top five highest-paying states for bookkeeping clerks in the country, with an annual mean salary of over $46,500. Bookkeeping and accounting clerks in certain areas of Connecticut, have the potential to earn closer to $50,000 annually, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to a survey from Robert Half Finance & Accounting, those with designated bookkeeping certification may see salary increases of 5 to 10 percent, or more. According to the American Institute of Public Bookkeepers, almost 60 percent of certified bookkeepers receive a raise after becoming certified. More than one-third of freelance certified bookkeepers say that certification has helped them recruit new clients, therefore improving their business success overall.
Bookkeeping certification comes from nationally-recognized organizations who have established set standards for their candidates. Earning these credentials will not only look good on your resume, but will also give you a leg up when applying to jobs or enlisting new clients.
Types of Bookkeeping Certification in Connecticut
As noted above, bookkeeping certification is offered at the national level, rather than by each individual state. Therefore, Connecticut does not have a single credentialing board that grants bookkeepers with certification. Instead, bookkeepers can choose to pursue national certification through a few different organizations.
The most respected and well-known bookkeeping licensing organizations are the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) and the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB). If you are interested in pursuing your bookkeeping certification, exploring one of these routes is highly recommended:
American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) –
This institute will grant you the title of Certified Bookkeeper (CB), which will add to your market value, increase your importance to both companies and clients, and ultimately show your professional status. This credentialing pathway is ideal for those who have bookkeeping work experience, but are looking to deepen their knowledge in the field (for career advancement). To apply for this certification, you must:
- Accrue two years of full-time bookkeeping experience (or the part-time equivalent)
- Successfully pass the four-part credentialing exam
- Sign the AIPB’s Code of Ethics
- Apply for licensure
National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) –
This organization will grant you the licensed title of Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB), which is recognized throughout the United States. The NACPB is known for training and licensing bookkeeping professionals in the various areas of the field: bookkeeping, accounting, payroll, QuickBooks, tax and Excel. The CPB title, therefore, demonstrates a very versatile skillset and can prepare you for a career as a “Fully Charged” Bookkeeper who can take on more advanced tasks.
The NACPB bookkeeping certification is generally recommended for those who have completed accounting or bookkeeping coursework at the college-level. The NACPB certification requirements are:
- Pass the four-part examination, which is fully computerized and can be taken at home
- Possess an associate or bachelor’s degree in accounting OR the class alternatives listed here
- Complete one-year (2,000 hours) of bookkeeping or accounting experience
- Sign the NACPB’s Code of Professional Conduct
- Apply for licensure
In addition to the above, students also have the option to pursue specialized certifications in QuickBooks, to become a certified ProAdvisor by Intuit, as well as in Microsoft Excel. Knowledge of both these platforms is an absolute-must for aspiring bookkeepers. In order to effectively prepare for these certifications, it is recommended that you pursue postsecondary accounting classes that cover the basics of bookkeeping. The associate degree in Accounting at Goodwin College, for example, thoroughly prepares students for professional certification in bookkeeping, QuickBooks, and Microsoft Excel.
If you are looking to launch your bookkeeping career in Connecticut, and position yourself for the highest level of success, there is no doubt what your next action-items should be: education, then certification. You can pursue a quality degree and professional certification in just a matter of months, through a flexible accounting school like Goodwin College. We offer accounting classes part-time and full-time, on-campus and online, in a standard or accelerated 7.5-week format.
Launch your bookkeeping career and get on the path towards professional certification today. Call Goodwin College at 800-889-3282 or visit us online to learn more.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.