How to get into bookkeeping


It’s becoming increasingly common for people to retrain in their 40s and 50s to pursue a new career direction – and bookkeeping jobs can be an attractive option. It’s a flexible and interesting role, usually with a decent salary. Here we look at how to get into bookkeeping and what bookkeeping jobs involve.

Why go for bookkeeping jobs?

A real benefit of bookkeeping jobs can be the flexibility, which is often something that appeals to more mature employees. You may be caring for elderly relatives or providing childcare for grandchildren that mean you need a more accommodating career.

Both part time and full time bookkeeping roles are available – and there’s also the option to set up your own business. Many bookkeepers work from home and build a very enjoyable career.

Bookkeeping work is varied and is always in demand – all kinds of companies need support with this financial role. As a bookkeeping professional you will face new challenges every day, and most people find this to be a rewarding job.

It’s fairly well paid, too. A bookkeeper salary can range between £25,000 and £45,000 depending on experience and location.

What’s in a bookkeeping job description?

Bookkeeping jobs are generally about creating and analysing data about financial transactions within an organisation. Typical tasks might include:

  • Raising and managing invoices
  • Supporting payroll
  • Recording purchases and managing receipts
  • Working with internal/external accountants
  • Preparing management accounts
  • Processing payment runs
  • Preparing VAT returns
  • Assisting with year end accounting

Each bookkeeper job description is unique, shaped by the type of business and size of the organisation.

What skills does a bookkeeper need to have?

The main skills for bookkeeping typically include:

  • A head for numbers – you must be comfortable working with financial information
  • Detail focus – checking and rechecking data is important
  • Computing skills – as well as spreadsheet skills, most bookkeeping involves using software and apps.
  • Analytical mind – you will do well if you enjoy problem solving
  • Good communication – you will often need to explain things to colleagues and seniors
  • Organisational skills – prioritising your work is a key element of the role.

What bookkeeper qualifications are needed?

In bookkeeping, as opposed to accounting, you tend not to need a degree. Many bookkeepers don’t have qualifications, having joined a finance team at a basic level and learned along the way.

But in later life, you will progress more quickly with some training behind you. Appropriate courses are accessible via most local colleges, or you can study online. Options at diploma or certificate level are available.

The main bookkeeping body is The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB), which lists certificate and diploma courses on offer nationwide through accredited providers. The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) also provides qualifications with the opportunity to become an AAT licensed bookkeeper.

Our sister site, has a partnership with e-Careers who offer AAT courses – check them out here.

Are there good job opportunities for bookkeepers?

The fastest way to explore demand for bookkeepers is to do a job search. Bookkeepers are always needed and your research should come up with part-time or remote roles as well as full time ones.

Apprenticeships are also available for bookkeepers, and these are open to people of any age. The government website lists current opportunities.

You may decide to set up your own bookkeeping company. While it can take time and some investment to secure some clients, offering bookkeeping services can give you a great career with low running costs. Our guide to legal issues when starting a business is worth a read to help you get started.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your Franchise Selection

Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now

Your Franchise Selection

This franchise opportunity has been added to your franchise selection



Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now

You may be interested in these similar franchises