What are the primary responsibilities of a bookkeeper?
We asked 7 bookkeepers to shed light on this question.
Tiffany Powell, MA, EA
- Enter financial transactions that occurred during the month.
- Reconcile bank activity for what cleared and what didn’t.
- Review financials and missing activity and investigate items that are incorrect.
With so many systems that auto-enter bank activity, bookkeepers have to be the eyes that see what everything means and verify where everything is being entered in order to make corrections so that financials show the correct information.
Ben Watson, CPA
A bookkeeper helps keep your business’ financial information organized
It is important for you to see where money has come and gone from your business dealings. They categorize transactions so the basic financial statements can be produced and give you a clear picture of where the business stands financially.
Often, bookkeepers can help manage funds by paying invoices and remitting taxes by their due dates to avoid any annoying penalties and fines. Many times, a good bookkeeper will be your lifeline in case of an audit or tax inquiry.
Eulica Kimber CPA, MBA
Certified Public Accountant | Founder, Plan2Pro$per Small Business Academy
A bookkeeper is responsible to document the day to day transactions of a business
Bookkeeping should take place all year long; not just a year-end or when the tax return is due. So a good bookkeeper should be “all up in your business!” They should be bugging you for receipts and asking questions about transactions so they can record it to the right line of accounting in the correct period.
A good bookkeeper is also good at creating systems for the worker bee
They may create forms and processes to assist in collecting transactional information completely and accurately. They are the reason you have to complete that form and attach that receipt 3 days after returning from your business trip! If people are excited to get a call from you, you may not be a good bookkeeper.
In a less official definition, here are some things that I would say bookkeepers do:
- Empower executives to make data-driven decisions.
- They make sure that the foundational stones of your business are in place, so you’re always prepared for financial earthquakes.
- They are the emotional security blanket shielding you from financial ruin.
Accounting Manager, Gurian CPA
A bookkeeper keeps your financial books
Their main responsibility is to accurately record transactions such as; accounts receivable, accounts payable, inventory and sometimes payroll. They can take the information they’ve recorded and provided your business with reporting on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. You might think that is all your business might need.
However, there are certain tasks that a bookkeeper can’t do, such as analyze the reports and provide tax advice, which is essential to your business growth.
Bookkeepers are still helpful for your business because they handle the recording aspect of your business transactions, which is the first step in the accounting process.
A bookkeeper maintains a general ledger of sale and expense receipts
The role of a bookkeeper may vary from one organization to another. In a large organization, a bookkeeper will usually have defined duties with a limited scope, and in the small organization, a bookkeeper may be required to take on additional duties that are usually performed by accountants.
Founder & CEO, Virtually Productive
A bookkeeper is a gatekeeper to a business (or an individual’s) finances
Typically, there is a software program such as QuickBooks that tracks all transactions.
A bookkeeper categorizes each transaction and reconciles the accounting software to the bank account at the end of every month to check for discrepancies.
Keeping the transactions categorized and consistently up to date allows a business owner to see a snapshot of their financial health at any time. Many small business owners are not even aware that they should be monitoring certain reports consistently. With a click of a few buttons, a bookkeeper can produce important reports such as profit & loss statements, balance sheet, cash flow and accounts receivable aging reports.
Depending on the size of the organization, bookkeepers may also process payroll, handle all business invoicing and collections and pay all invoices.