A Day In The Life Of A Bookkeeper
Most of this blog looks at bookkeeping’s best practices, but let’s take a minute to examine what bookkeeping is at a more micro level. What does a day in the life of a bookkeeper look like? What exactly are a bookkeeper’s duties? In this post, I’ll answer these questions based on my own work experience and that of many other bookkeepers I know.
For the purposes of brevity, let’s call our hypothetical bookkeeper Trish. Trish is 32 and has a small child, with another on the way.
Waking Up and Getting Ready
Trish wakes up at 7:40 every morning, in time to have a nice breakfast and drive her child to preschool. She gets a good 8 hours of sleep every night, making sure she goes to bed and wakes up at roughly the same time each day so as not to throw off her internal clock. Like any job, bookkeepers work much better if they are well-rested, so it is a good thing Trish’s career choice allows for a flexible schedule.
Trish brings her laptop and her noise-canceling headphones with her when she drops off her kid, and after she drops him off, she goes to the park to take a brief walk before work while listening to her daily news podcast. She sometimes has to make some calls on her cell phone during her walk, but the morning ritual helps get her in a productive mood.
At 9:00, Trish finally heads over to a local cafe to set up her mobile office. She orders her usual mocha latte, plugs in her laptop, puts on her noise-canceling headphones and loses herself in her work.
This isn’t a job duty per se, but bookkeepers should take care of themselves even during the workday. Take sufficient breaks and maintain healthy remote work habits.
As a bookkeeper, you’re your own boss. This is usually a great thing because you’re free to do bookkeeper duties your way, but it also means you need to schedule your day. Fill your schedule in with the duties summarized below (and anything else that might pop up) to make sure you know what to do first every morning.
A bookkeeper is in charge of making out and sending checks on behalf of their clients when they are due. That means staying on top of others’ payment schedules as well as your own.
Managing Account Activity
Probably the most important part of a bookkeeper’s job is logging transactions for each client. They have to ensure that every incoming and outgoing transaction is noted correctly in the right file and using the right procedure. They also need to enter any relevant transaction details.
This duty is also known as cashflow management.
You are in charge of making sure your clients get paid for their services, so you’ll need to send out invoices when appropriate. You’ll also need to follow up to make sure all the invoices are paid.
Bookkeepers need to balance each account they manage using a system called “double-entry bookkeeping.” The system is systematic and not too complicated once you get the hang of it, but it is central to many bookkeeper duties.
“Meeting” with Clients
It would be best if you kept each of your clients frequently updated on what’s happening with their accounts. One of the best parts of a remote position, though, is that you can “meet” however or wherever you see fit.
Meeting over the phone, on a video call, at your favorite cafe, or your client’s office are all fine. It’s your call, as long as you let your client know how you will be meeting.
The most challenging part of bookkeeping compared to full-time accounting is that you are responsible for finding your clients and letting them know about you. That usually entails using social media and other marketing platforms to get your name out there.
Trish finishes her responsibilities around 3:00, meaning she has a 6-hour workday. She knows she might have to stay available for work over the next few hours, but bookkeepers like her (and most remote workers) can efficiently finish their work in less time than an office workday if they remain diligent.
After finishing work, Trish goes to pick up her child from preschool, making a few calls to clients on her drive over.
Why Bookkeepers Love Their Daily Routine
Most bookkeepers, I know say they love their routine because it is different every day. They have to think about the same kinds of things, but they often change and evolve because of the ways their clients’ businesses work.
Another common reason I hear for bookkeepers loving their job is that there are virtually endless advancement opportunities. It’s not like an office job where you have a set amount of work and just need to finish it (and nothing more) for a set salary. If you feel you have too much free time or not enough income as a bookkeeper, you can always take on new clients or “upgrade” the client base.
Bookkeeping is lucrative, flexible, and provides a high amount of job security. It’s also inexpensive to begin practicing, and bookkeeper duties do not even require any formal degree.
THAT BEING SAID, IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO TAKE A BOOKKEEPING COURSE IF YOU WANT TO PURSUE THE CAREER. CHECK OUT BOOKKEEPER LAUNCH!