Bookkeeping jobs encompass a wide range of roles, from entry-level positions to full-charge general ledger or financial statement bookkeepers with managerial responsibilities. Bookkeeper salary levels vary by experience level, local market and company size.
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the demand for bookkeepers will decline in the years ahead, the 2019 Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals shows continued demand for operational staff, with an increase in certain industries.
Bookkeeper salary projections
How much can you expect to make in bookkeeping? According to the Salary Guide, the 2019 midpoint salary for full-charge bookkeepers (those at the highest level who prepare financial statements) is expected to be $43,250. The general bookkeeper salary midpoint is slightly lower: $38,500.
At the midpoint, candidates have average experience with the necessary skills to meet the job requirements, and the role may be in an industry where competition for talent is moderate. The bookkeeper salary levels listed in the Salary Guide reflect starting pay only and are based on actual placements throughout the United States. Bonuses and benefits are not taken into account.
If you have a professional credential, such as certification from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB), the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) or Quickbooks Certified ProAdvisors, you may expect a higher pay range.
Also, salaries vary widely from city to city. In San Francisco, for instance, salaries are 41 percent higher, and in Boston, the market variance increases by 34 percent.
Duties and expectations
Bookkeepers work as financial archivists for organizations of all types and sizes. Those working in bookkeeper jobs record an organization’s transactions, update financial statements, check financial records for accuracy and produce financial records. Depending on the organization and the position, specific duties may include:
- Preparing financial statements
- Processing accounts payable and accounts receivable transactions
- Managing bank reconciliations and payroll processing
- Tracking fixed assets and preparing depreciation schedules
- Performing month-end closings
Professional experience and skills
Job candidates for bookkeeper jobs are typically required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. In order to secure a full-charge bookkeeping position, a candidate may be required to hold an associate degree in business or accounting and have at least five years of experience.
In general, a bookkeeper must:
- Possess strong math skills
- Be proficient with Microsoft Excel, QuickBooks or Sage
- Have good communication and customer service skills
In addition, because bookkeepers often deal with information of a confidential nature, employers look for trustworthy people with good judgment and discretion. Any aspiring bookkeeper must also be detail-oriented, well organized and a stickler for accuracy.