What Is a Bookkeeper?


You Will Learn.

  • What does a Bookkeeper do?
  • What is the job of a Bookkeeper?
  • What is the difference between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper?
  • What qualifications does a Bookkeeper need?
  • What is the average salary of a Bookkeeper?
  • Who employs a Bookkeeper?
  • What are the progression opportunities for a Bookkeeper?
  • What makes a good Bookkeeper?
  • Where are the latest Bookkeeper jobs and how can you apply for them?
A man holding paper sat next to a female

What Is a Bookkeeper?

A Bookkeeper keeps and maintains the financial records of a business or individual. They will help a business to understand and manage their finances and cash flow. Bookkeepers will record all financial transactions and regularly provide detailed, accurate, and up-to-date reports. 

What Is the Job of a Bookkeeper?

A Bookkeeper is responsible for dealing with the day-to-day financial activities of a business. They keep on top of bookkeeping data and provide reports in order to ensure financial accuracy and support the work of Accountants within the company.

While working as a Bookkeeper, you could be required to: 

  • Balance accounts. 
  • Prepare financial statements which detail the income and expenditure for the business. 
  • Manage employee wages and expenses. 
  • Process payments, income, sales invoices and receipts. 
  • Enter data into accounting software or databases. 
  • Complete VAT returns.
  • Prepare invoices for the Inland Revenue. 
  • Pay vendor invoices in a timely manner.  
  • Ensure inaccuracies are highlighted and rectified. 
  • Organising paperwork and filing. 


While working as a Bookkeeper, you could be required to work with: 

  • Bank reconciliations.
  • General, sales and purchase ledgers.
  • Sales invoices.
  • Statements.
  • Remittances.      

Frequently Asked Questions

There are no official or minimum entry requirements to become a Bookkeeper but due to the nature of the role, employers would prefer a candidate with high qualifications in maths and English. 

Qualifications specific to accounting, finance or specifically bookkeeping would also be extremely advantageous. These include NVQs/SVQs, ICB (The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers) qualifications and AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualifications. 

However, many Bookkeepers begin their career in a junior role and learn the skills and knowledge they require ‘on the job.’ Some employers will employ a Junior Bookkeeper and provide on/off site training to enable them to earn a qualification while in employment. 

Through independent research conducted by Spencer Clarke Group, the average salary of a Bookkeeper is:

  • London - £34,925
  • Manchester - £30,010
  • Birmingham/Wolverhampton - £26,350
  • Leeds/Bradford - £26,650
  • Liverpool - £24,675
  • Newcastle - £23,994
  • Glasgow - £27,550
  • Southampton/Portsmouth - £25,750

Every business will have bookkeeping needs but depending on the size of the business will determine whether the business owner is also the Bookkeeper, or if they employ a person or team to manage financial tasks. 

As a business grows, keeping track of vendors, customers and employees can be challenging and it is usually at this point when an employer will employ a Bookkeeper to take care of financial matters.   

Popular perks of the job for a Bookkeeper include:  

  • Company social events. 
  • Company pension.
  • Casual dress.
  • Cycle to work scheme.
  • Comprehensive healthcare. 
  • Private pension. 
  • Hybrid, remote and flexible working.
  • Gym membership. 
  • Private medical insurance.
  • Sick pay.
  • Birthday off.
  • Free parking.

Within many financial roles, there are direct opportunities for progression into senior positions which involve greater responsibilities like overseeing the work of junior Bookkeepers. 

With the necessary qualifications and training, a Bookkeeper may also look to progress to the role of Financial Controller. This senior-level position manages and oversees the financial activities of a company or organisation.

What Is the Difference Between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper?

While a Bookkeeper will take care of day-to-day financial activities, an Accountant will provide the business with enhanced financial insights (based on the bookkeeping data). 

Both Accountants and Bookkeepers contribute to financial management; however, Accountants have a broader and more complex role, requiring advanced education, certification, and expertise. Bookkeepers, on the other hand, primarily handle the day-to-day recording and organisation of financial data. 

Businesses often use both professionals to ensure their financial affairs are well-managed and compliant with legal regulations.

What Makes a Good Bookkeeper?

Key skills of a Bookkeeper include:

  • A natural flair and love of working with numbers and spreadsheets. 
  • Strong attention to detail to ensure all data is accurate. 
  • The ability to recognise mistakes and rectify them. 
  • Exceptional organisational skills.  
  • A comprehensive understanding of accounting and payroll softwares such as QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Sage, ZohoBooks and Microsoft Excel. 
  • Excellent verbal and communication skills to liaise effectively with vendors. 
  • The ability to translate complex financial terminology or processes into language which is accessible to everyone. 
  • The ability to work to tight deadlines. 
  • Ensure financial confidentiality is kept at all times.

Searching For Bookkeeper Jobs?

If you're searching for your next career opportunity, why not take a look at all the latest Bookkeeper jobs available now?

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