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What is bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping is the concept of recording financial activity (accounting transactions) of an organisation. There is a common misconception that bookkeeping and accountancy are the same, but this is not true. While there are definitely similarities in that both professions look closely at the money of an organization, the main difference is that bookkeepers are in charge of recording the financial transactions of a company whereas accountants are more interpreting those transactions and analyzing them.

In some small companies, bookkeepers are also essentially acting as accountants, and in other companies, bookkeeping is done primarily with software. Because of the advancement of technology, bookkeeping may be done entirely using software for many businesses, eliminating the need for a designated bookkeeper. That said, bookkeeping skills are something that will always be in demand by businesses, either as an entire role or a component of a company’s finance department. If you are good with numbers and are looking for a career where you’ll be able to multi-task, bookkeeping might be a good career for you.

What is the difference between bookkeeping and accounting?

Bookkeeping and accounting are commonly confused for each other even though they are quite different. Beyond the fact that bookkeepers are recording financial transactions and accountants are analyzing them, bookkeepers do not need to prepare financial statements and doesn’t require any special skill set (other than being detail-oriented), which makes it a very accessible occupation. Accountants are more concerned with the big picture of a company’s financial help.

What is the aim of a bookkeeping course?

Bookkeeping courses focus on the basics of bookkeeping, including how to handle petty cash, maintain a cash book, and how to reconcile a bank statement.

Bookkeeping courses typically have an assessment at the culmination of the course which oftentimes, depending on the course accreditation, will lead to a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) certificate which is an excellent qualification to put on your CV.

Bookkeeping courses will likely discuss the following topics:

  • Basic accounting
  • Single entry principles
  • Double entry principles
  • The flow of information into accounts
  • Accruals and prepayments
  • VAT, PAYE, and NI
  • Control accounts
  • Sole traders, partnerships, and limited companies
  • Trial balances
  • Terms in bookkeeping

Who should take a bookkeeping course?

Courses are generally suitable for a wide audience like school leavers, general business employees, or office staff with bookkeeping as a responsibility.

Bookkeeping courses will prepare you to work as a financial assistant, a bookkeeper, or an accounts technician, just to name a few possible career paths.

Bookkeeping classes come in many forms, such as distance e-learning or company in-house. Be sure to sign up for a course at your appropriate level.

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