It is hard to imagine in 2017 that the origins of double entry bookkeeping stretch as far back in history as the early 13th century. This system is accepted worldwide as the most accurate way to track transactions and value assets and liabilities. It also gave rise to bookkeeping as a skilled vocation that has been in steady demand ever since.
What Do Bookkeepers Do?
It was the bookkeeper’s role to record all daily business transactions, reconcile bank statements and balance ledger accounts to the “trial balance” stage. Should these two totals not balance, it signified an error somewhere, which had to be found and rectified before taking the accounts any further. The final step was producing an income statement (or profit and loss), and a balance sheet, which gave the business owner the full picture of that trading period.
Modern Software Does the Routine Work
Without the modern accounting software we have today, this was a time-consuming and tedious process, and large businesses needed more than one bookkeeper to keep the accounts current. These days, the software itself performs most transfers, data matching and reporting. The modern bookkeeper can input multiple transactions and then produce a report in a few minutes that once would have taken many hours.
Bookkeepers Get the Interesting Work
However, the advent of computers has not diminished in any way the skills of a competent bookkeeper. In fact, it has been enhanced, as accounting software has removed the tedious aspects of the work, freeing up bookkeepers to perform tasks that are more complex.
We know that, because here at Carbon Group we offer a bookkeeping service for small businesses, in addition to our accounting, business and taxation services. Some of our clients prefer to give all their attention to the actual running and growth of their business, and leave the bookkeeping to an experienced and skilled operator.
Bookkeepers Need a Range of Diverse Skills
We believe that to be successful in modern business, bookkeepers now need strong analytical and problem solving skills, attention to detail and the foundational underpinning knowledge needed to make the decisions computers cannot do. They must also be well-organised and able to keep multiple source documents like invoices, purchase orders, receipts, et cetera, in an orderly and easy-to-access system.
Computer Skills, Patience and the Ability to Think Outside the Square
Of course, they must be numerically competent and possess up-to-date computer skills, not only with accounting software but also with other common business programs such as Microsoft Office. Patience is also required, especially when an error is evident and is hard to find. We like them also to think about the needs of the client business and to be prepared to offer suggestions for improvements.
Bookkeepers with these attributes and skills are always in demand as the profession continues to grow in status.