What qualifications do you need to be a bookkeeper?

By Jamie Hill - 28 June 2019

FeaturesBusinessExpert Voices

A career in bookkeeping offers flexibility and excellent prospects.

Although companies might be using more and more digital tools to keep track of their accounts, they still need someone who knows how to operate them. Bookkeeping is still very much in demand and can actually be a much more rewarding job now that a lot of the manual work has been taken over by computers.


If you want to become a bookkeeper, there are a few different routes. Unless you already have a lot of experience working with company accounts, you will likely need some training. Luckily, there are plenty of bookkeeping courses that you can complete very quickly. These courses will give you a strong foundation on which to start your career.


A bookkeeping qualification isn’t the only thing you will need to succeed. In order to secure a job as a bookkeeper, many employers will also be looking for other qualifications, hard skills and soft skills. This article will offer an overview of these qualifications and qualities so that you can decide if a career in bookkeeping is right for you.


Most employers will want to see that you have high school-level qualifications in English and Maths. This is because you will need to have a strong head for numbers, and you will also need good communication skills. As the bookkeeper for an organisation, you might be the first point of contact for clients, suppliers and bankers, so you will need to be able to communicate effectively.


Employers may also ask for qualifications in business studies or economics. This will show that you have a good understanding of how company finances work. And finally, you will also need a certificate in bookkeeping. While the qualifications listed above might give you a good foundation, the certificate in bookkeeping will teach you how to put this knowledge into action,

Additional skills

In addition to the qualifications listed above, employers may also want to see that you have experience working with accounting software. Failing this, they will want to see that you are confident with computers and quick to learn new systems. They will also want to see that you have strong interpersonal skills as you may be working with a wider bookkeeping team, or closely with the accounting team. Even in an organisation where you are the sole bookkeeper, you will still need to be able to work closely with the upper management team.


Communication skills will serve you well as an accountant as you may be required to speak in person, on the phone and in writing with many different points of contact. Knowing how to be firm when you are chasing invoices will also be beneficial. And finally, bookkeepers need to be very organised with a keen attention to detail. As you will be responsible for keeping track of the numbers that will make up a company’s tax and VAT returns, you can’t afford to make mistakes


If you have the qualifications and skills listed above, there is no reason you shouldn’t consider a career as a bookkeeper. It offers sociable work hours and great career progression for the right individual.


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