What are the Duties of a Bookkeeper?

Published: 30th May 2012
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In small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), a bookkeeper may be the sole financial member of staff.

Generally, a bookkeeper is one of the most important human assets of a company or SMEs as it is the bookkeeper’s responsibility to handle and keep of track the company's entire financial records, record the company’s day-to-day financial transactions such as company's expenditures, profit and loss, cash flow, sales, payroll, collection of accounts receivable, payment of bills, and other financial activities.Bookkeepers are responsible for ensuring all the details of their business’ financial transactions are recorded in the correct "daybooks": supplier’s ledger, customer ledger and general ledger and brings these books to the trial balance stage so that the accountant can used them in preparing the company’s income statement and balance sheet.

Duties and Responsibilities of a Bookkeeper

Depending on factors such as the size of the business and how duties are distributed among employees, a bookkeeper’s duties and responsibilities may vary significantly from one company to the next.

So to clarify the duties and responsibilities of a bookkeeper, here are some of the common duties of a bookkeeper:

-Accounts Receivable. The bookkeeper records and processes the company’s accounts receivable including invoicing customers, receiving payments that must be tracked and deposited, and initiating debt collection proceedings if necessary.

-Accounts Payable. Responsible for processing purchase orders and matching them against supplier invoices, keeping track of vendor invoices as they come in and preparing checks to be signed by you and pays them before they are due.

-Bank Reconciliations. Every month, the bookkeeper must balance the company's books by going through all the deposits and withdrawals that went through the bank and then reconciles them to make sure they match up with the company's bank accounts. This is one of the most important jobs for the bookkeeper as the bookkeeper is a signer on most, if not all, of the company's financial accounts, regularly checking the account to ensure that it's in positive territory and to watch for any strange activity like fraud. The bookkeeper also manages and applies for credit lines and credit card accounts for the business.

-Payroll. Depending on the size of the company, the bookkeeper is sometimes responsible for doing payroll for its employees. As it is his responsibility to collect and enter information about each employee's withholding allowances for tax purposes in the company's payroll system and handles the printing of checks or the direct deposits for each worker, the bookkeeper needs to be familiar with government regulations regarding deductions as well as laws pertaining to employees.

-Prepare Financial Statements. When it's time for the company to publish its annual report, it is the responsibility of the bookkeeper in creating and submitting financial statements for the business. This includes an income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. The bookkeeper is responsible for maintaining a record of all of the company's financial statements for each quarter and year.

As the bookkeeper is responsible for handling the company's entire financial records (working with huge amounts of money), a good bookkeeper must be organized, capable of being extremely flexible, working with a constant influx of information and surprises and serious about his work as even a small mistake in the matters of money can cause legal problems for the business.

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