What are the duties of a bookkeeper, and do I need one?
Bookkeepers keep track of all the money in and out of a business. They play an essential role managing and maintaining financial statements as well as supporting business decision-making.
Having your bookkeeping in order is critical as your company grows. After all, even a small miscalculation can result in supply and cash flow issues, among other problems. When done correctly, a company’s books show the current state of affairs for a business, reflecting what is coming in vs what is going out – essential info for business owners in order to make decisions regarding the future of the business.
Accurate records are also used to help secure loans, file taxes, and show the financial health of the company, so it is important to make sure bookkeeping is done regularly, correctly and on a timely basis.
Related reading: budget analysis
It’s worth mentioning that bookkeepers and accountants play different roles in a company, although they are sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably. Bookkeeping is more transactional and administrative, whereas an accountant takes the next step by analyzing, reviewing and interpreting financial information for the company.
Common duties of a bookkeeper typically include:
- Categorize, adjust and record transactions
- Generate invoices and handle billing
- Maintain ledgers and reconcile weekly, monthly ad yearly reporting
- Prepare financial statements
- Monitor tax obligations and payments
Technology is transforming the finance and accounting industry, helping to automate record-keeping and accounting functions. This provides more timely results and reporting, and even helps some business owners take on more accounting functions themselves, as time and energy allows. However, the human element of bookkeeping remains. After all, accounting software captures information, but it doesn’t help you make sense of it.
A bookkeeper can oversee reporting and provide a critical eye on data integrity, integration and strategy.
Related reading: bookkeepers of the future
Salary and cost of a professional bookkeeper
If you’re thinking about hiring a bookkeeper, the first question you’ll asking is probably, “can I afford one?”
A bookkeeper's salary depends upon a number of factors, but on average expect to pay out an annual salary of $ $41,230, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. This equates to roughly $19.85 an hour for a bookkeeper. Keep in mind that these are just general averages, and the average bookkeeper may not be what your company requires. Depending on what type of business and what industry you’re in, you may need a bookkeeper with certain specialized skills or at least a significant amount of experience with similar businesses.
The cost of hiring a bookkeeper can be much higher depending on experience, education, location and type of organization. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also provides a general cost breakout across experience and geography that may be helpful when budgeting:
Starting bookkeepers' salary, by experience
$27.99 per hour
$58,210 per year
$22.44 per hour
$46,678 per year
$17.56 per hour
$13.74 per hour
$28,579 per year
Entry- level bookkeeper
$11.02 per hour
$22,917 per year
Hiring fractional finance and accounting partners
Hiring fractional finance experts can support businesses of all sizes, by combining timely bookkeeping with valuable strategy and oversight.
Focused Energy’s financed and accounting team can scale with businesses. No more worrying about recruiting, interviewing, vacations, sick time, payroll taxes, inaccurate or poor quality reporting.
With our outsourced experts, business leaders will save time and money, reduce tax risks, and prove ROI with top-quality strategic services. Moreover, we help busy business leaders understand what their financial and operational data means in terms of their business strategy, helping to navigate critical decisions and foresee bumps along the road. Speak to us to learn how we can help your business bookkeeping.