Bookkeeping is one of the most important roles in any successful business. Bookkeepers keep track of financial records for companies and organizations. To ensure a company has up-to-date and accurate financial statements, a self-sufficient bookkeeper must understand how to use spreadsheets and database software programs. These financial statements include expenditures, debts, receipts, accounts payable and receivable, invoices and profits.
Not only is the role imperative, bookkeeping is also one of the most popular career choices for those interested in accounting. It is a stable profession that offers flexibility and a steady income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for bookkeepers in 2017 was $39,240. In Connecticut, the pay for bookkeepers is even higher at over $46,500 annually. Some companies offer full-time work, while others need only part-time bookkeepers to handle their books. But nearly every company needs help in this department.
If you are wondering how you can get yourself a great career in bookkeeping, you may be happy to know that this is a very attainable goal that will not require years of expensive education. With the right accounting program, you will be well on your way to a job you love! Here we will break down how to become a bookkeeper in Connecticut.
Start with Some Accounting Education
While a degree is not always required for jobs, most bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks need at least some level of postsecondary education. An entry-level accounting education can help you perfect your basic math and computer skills, as well as give you in-depth knowledge of spreadsheets and specialized, industry software.
Today, employers are looking for their bookkeeping professionals to have at least some postsecondary education – preferably an actual degree – with coursework in accounting. While some candidates can be hired with just a high school diploma, most employers desire bookkeepers who have honed accounting skills and math competencies. Plus, bookkeepers who earn a college degree are more likely to stand out amongst the competition. If you are vying for a great job, start with a great education.
You may be thinking that an accounting degree sounds like a lot to manage, especially if you are changing careers or balancing other obligations. The good news is, bookkeepers are not required to have that four-year accounting degree that other accounting professionals need. Rather, bookkeepers have some flexibility with their education. Most will choose to pursue an associate-level accounting program, with bookkeeping coursework at its core.
Goodwin College has a career-oriented associate degree program in Accounting, through which students learn to manage bookkeeping and lower-level accounting operations in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. In this program, students gain experience in entering transactional data; adjusting and closing entries into an accounting system; investigating trial balance discrepancies; managing payroll; and preparing financial reports. Many graduates move into successful bookkeeping positions directly after the program.
Bookkeeping programs can vary in format and length. At Goodwin College, students have the option to take bookkeeping classes at an accelerated pace and complete their degree in half of the typical timeframe.
Become a Certified Bookkeeper
After completing an associate degree in Accounting, you will be prepared to sit for the professional certification in bookkeeping, QuickBooks, and Microsoft Excel. These are voluntary, national certification options for bookkeepers, but are generally a smart move if you are looking to stand out and grow in your career.
Bookkeepers looking to become nationally certified by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) must complete the following requirements:
- At least two years full-time experience or the part-time or freelance equivalent, which may be obtained before or after passing the exam
- Pass a 4-part national exam, including two parts given at any Prometric Test Center (there are over 300 nationwide)
- Code of Ethics must be signed by each applicant
There is no special order in which these steps need to be completed. Experience requirements may be acquired before or after taking the tests. Those who pass the certification tests before completing the experience requirements will receive a special letter from AIPB to show prospective employers. This certification will grant you with the credential Certified Bookkeeper (CB), showing employers that you have the skills and knowledge needed to carry out all bookkeeping tasks, including overseeing payroll and balancing accounts.
In order to become a Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB), you will need to acquire a license from the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB). This requires:
- Completing an exam preparation course
- Passing the 4-part exam (Uniform Certified Public Bookkeeper Exam)
- Verifying bookkeeping education or experience
- Agreeing to abide by a professional code of conduct
- Maintaining 24 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) every year
Passing this exam will help to distinguish yourself amongst others, and build credibility as a Certified Public Bookkeeper. It is recognized by employers throughout the United States.
Once you have earned your degree and certification, it’s time to polish up your resume. Goodwin College offers students free career guidance – forever! Our Office of Career Services can help you with your resume, cover letters, interview practice, and even access to an online job board. We have partnerships with organizations in need of accounting professionals throughout Connecticut, who are looking for aspiring bookkeepers like you.
The path to become a successful bookkeeper, like all great professions, starts with earning a great education. Goodwin College is an accredited, non-profit accounting school that will put you on the fast-track toward starting the career of your dreams. Accounting classes are offered days, evenings, and weekends, and are available on-campus and in a hybrid format for added convenience. You can take accelerated 7 1/2-week classes or the standard 15-week classes. Our college has 6 class starts annually — so you can apply at any time and the classes you need are available when you need them.
Get going on your Bookkeeping career today! Contact Goodwin College online or call 800-889-3282 for more information.
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.