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Bookkeeper Accounts clerk, payroll administrator

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Bookkeepers keep financial records up to date and help prepare accounts.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £17,000 to £26,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

Employers will usually expect you  to have 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent, including maths and English.

You may also find it useful to have one of the following:

  • an A level in business studies, maths or economics
  • a certificate in accounts or bookkeeping

You can find out about courses through the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) and The International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB).

You might also find it useful to get some relevant temporary or part-time work experience in an accounts department

You could get into this job through an intermediate or advanced level apprenticeship in bookkeeping.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • maths and accounting skills
  • organisational skills
  • IT skills and the ability to use spreadsheets
  • accuracy and attention to detail

3. What you'll do

If you’re working for a large company, you might work as part of an accounting team. You’ll then specialise in one area like sales or purchase ledger, payroll or credit control. In a smaller company, you might do all of these tasks.

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • dealing with sales invoices, income, receipts and payments
  • preparing statements showing income and payments
  • completing VAT returns
  • checking that accounts are accurate
  • preparing wages and managing claims for expenses
  • helping to prepare annual accounts
  • using computerised accounting systems
  • giving administrative support to accountants
  • handling commercially sensitive and valuable information

4. Salary

Starter: £17,000 to £20,000

Experienced: £20,000 to £25,000

Highly Experienced: £26,000 or more

If you’re self-employed, the amount you earn will depend on the number of clients you have and how many hours you work.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You could work for a company or be self-employed.

If you’re working for a company, you’ll be based in an office. You'll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

If you’re a self-employed bookkeeper, you’ll set your own hours.

6. Career path and progression

With experience and training, you could become an accounting technician and take on more complex work.

You could also become self-employed and set up your own business.

You may decide to take a degree and qualify as an accountant.

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Last updated: 10 September 2018