Bookkeepers compute, classify, and verify monetary transactions in order to develop and maintain financial records. They keep a systematic record of financial transactions by keeping different sets of accounting books.  They may be responsible for the books of a small company, or part of an accounting department in a larger organisation.

Bookkeepers keep records of the credits owed to the company and the debts of the company. They record debits and credit in cash books, ledgers, subsidiary books and journals, compare current and past balance sheets, summarise details of separate ledgers and prepare reports for supervisors and managers. They may also prepare bank deposits and send cash, cheques, and other forms of payment to the bank. Every month they prepare statements regarding the money owed to the company. In some cases the amounts are adjusted by the addition of interest that has accrued.  The final statement or account is checked by the accountant or auditor and sent through to the client or customer.

When bookkeepers receive cash they write a receipt in duplicate, one for the company and one for the client. A record is kept of the daily balance and this balance is reconciled monthly and then annually. In smaller organisations bookkeepers handle all aspects of financial transactions. This money is regularly banked and bank forms have to be filled in by the bookkeepers.  A record is kept of the daily balance.  The increased use of computers has allowed the use of specialised accounting software on personal computers.

When merchandise is ordered from a factory or wholesaler by a dealer, they do not pay cash.  The dealers receive a summary of the amounts they owe at regular intervals and the bookkeepers arrange for payment of the account.

In department stores, bookkeepers deal with the goods that are bought and sold, while in a legal organisation, they check the securities of the clients and note the interest.  They often work with trust money and post entries into journals.  In some cases bookkeepers complete income tax returns for their employers or clients.

Work settings vary widely. Bookkeepers may have their own offices or may work in offices with many other employees. The actual settings in which they operate will depend on the type, size, location and financial resources of the various employers. Offices are, however, usually convenient and equipped with modern aids such as calculators, bookkeeping machines and computers.  Bookkeepers work normal office hours but they may be required to work overtime when balance sheets are drawn up.

Areas of specialisation and advancement positions include:

  • Credit Controller

  • Debit Controller

  • Stores Controller

  • Head Bookkeeper

  • Office Manager


  • public, provincial and municipal services

  • commerce and industry

  • educational institutions

  • professional and research bodies.

  • wholesale firms

  • retail stores and factories

  • banks and insurance companies

  • health care units

  • local authorities

  • government departments

  • self-employment, in private or part-time practices

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