Business Accounting 102: Mastering Bookkeeping & Payroll
Bookkeepers work with financial transactions and business client records. These records generally include expenses, receipts, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and profit and loss records.
Many organizations hire accountants, which include accounting firms, tax preparation services, and payroll organizations. However, ministries, schools and small and medium-sized business owners in various sectors also employ accountants. Some business accountants are dedicated to working for a single client, while others work for many companies.
Responsibilities Of A Bookkeeper
What does a bookkeeper do? The registration and balance of financial transactions for an employer or a client is part of the responsibilities. Although specific responsibilities may vary from one client to another, a typical bookkeeping job description includes the following tasks:
- Enter business expenses and revenues received in physical registers or accounting and office software
- Collect, prepare and keep records of cash receipts, checks, and vouchers for clients
- Send money, checks and other forms of payment to the employer’s or clients’ financial institutions
- Prepare and distribute invoices to collect amounts owed to commercial customers
- Inform people who owe money to business customers
- Receive invoices and check delivery of listed products and services
- Match invoices to contracts and purchase orders
- Ensure correct and timely payment processing
- Calculate payroll to ensure that all salaried, hourly and contract employees of all business customers receive fast and accurate wages
- Reimburse employees for business expenses
- Distribute petty cash to employees
- Withholding of benefits and salary garnishments
- Process and deposit social security charges
- Order office supplies, products, and merchandise
- Save Inventory Levels
- Produce monthly, quarterly and annual financial reports, including balance sheets, income statements, account totals, unpaid debt reports, and unpaid claims reports
- Verify the accuracy of all expenses and revenues, bank entries and financial reports
- Reconcile discrepancies in financial records
- Communicate with business clients or employers about their financial situation, budgetary needs, and budget constraints
- Make quarterly deposits of income tax and wages
- Process tax forms W-9 and 1099
- Prepare and file annual municipal, state and federal income tax returns
In general, small employers and clients entrust their bookkeepers with a significant number of responsibilities. For example, local business accountants can process payroll for a small organization that does not manage its payroll service.
Skills Required Of A Bookkeeper
Bookkeepers need various skills to succeed in this financial specialty. Here are some of the skills employers and business clients take into account when hiring bookkeepers:
- Software Competence – Most companies now prefer digital records over physical financial records, so accountants need to be familiar with accounting software and desktop programs for this purpose.
- Data Entry – Bookkeepers must quickly and accurately enter financial and other information from receipts and invoices into databases, spreadsheets and accounting software.
- Math Skills – While computer programs handle many calculations, bookkeepers often rely on their mathematical skills throughout their work.
- Familiarity with the Double Entry Bookkeeping Process – This popular procedure helps bookkeepers work more accurately and, therefore, more efficiently.
- Strong organizational skills – Bookkeepers must be organized to ensure that financial documents are not misplaced, invoices are paid on time, and tax deadlines are respected.
- Good communication skills – Bookkeepers must use excellent verbal and written communication skills to explain financial matters to business clients and managers who do not have the financial knowledge to understand their financial needs.
- Transparency – Business clients and employers must have faith in their accountants with their personal financial information and access to funds.
- Discretion – Business clients and employers should be aware that their bookkeepers will keep financial details confidential.
- Reliability – Business customers and employers rely on their bookkeepers to provide ongoing financial support and feedback. Absences can disrupt the workflow and cause financial problems within an organization.