Becoming a bookkeeper in Australia
Having a career as a bookkeeper in Australia
What you need to know about becoming a bookkeeper in Australia
Bookkeeping is the profession for you if you love numbers, stability, and order. Bookkeepers are important professionals who have the responsibility of keeping track of money and financial records for a business.
Nearly every business needs a bookkeeper or will at least require the business owner to have an understanding of basic bookkeeping. Bookkeepers record information about every transaction of a business. Intrigued? Read on to know how you can become a bookkeeper in Australia.
Skills you will need as a bookkeeper
Some crucial skills you will need as a bookkeeper, besides a technical background, are
- A head for numbers and details – Your job will be to keep things accurate, something even the business owner is not that good at. You will need to have a head for the little details.
- Analytical skills – Bookkeepers must be comfortable analysing information to draw out conclusions. Bookkeepers analyse reams of numerical data to communicate what it means for the business.
- Communication skills – Besides being analytical, bookkeepers also need to communicate strongly. Breaking things down to people who are not as savvy with numbers is where strong communication skills are valuable.
- Strong computer skills – Most accounting is now done on the computer, and it’s only becoming more so every day. Comfort with a computer is a pre-requisite for being a bookkeeper.
Complete the certification
Many people work as bookkeepers straight out of high school, learning everything about the profession on the job. However, further education can definitely give you an edge. Aspirants can pursue a bachelor’s degree, a diploma, or a certification.
Bachelor’s degrees are comprehensive programs of study which cover bookkeeping along with various other aspects of a business. Certifications are pursued by people as a popular option because they can be completed in a much shorter time, ranging from 6 months to 2 years. They are sometimes correspondence courses which benefit people by allowing them to study and learn on their own time. Diplomas are useful for bookkeepers who want to elevate their earning potential by boosting their skills.
If you want to opt for certification, you can acquire a certificate IV or higher in bookkeeping or accounting. The certificate course will teach you the basics of business activity, how to process payroll, prepare financial reports, and record transactions. The course will also ensure you are trained in the newest computerised accounting systems, including cloud-based software.
Gain work experience
Completing your educational courses is the first step in your career, but a lot of what you learn will be cemented by getting real-world work experience. Before you begin providing services as a BAS Agent, the Tax Practitioners Board often states that they would like to see you complete a certain number of hours of work experience. The number of work hours is 1,400 hours in the past four years, or 1,000 in case you are from any recognised association.
Work experience may be in the following forms:
- Working with or under a registered BAS agent or tax agent
- Working as a registered BAS agent
- Other forms approved by the Tax Practitioners Board.
You can learn from another BAS agent as a volunteer or intern. If you already have work experience, you can apply to be an entry-level bookkeeper.
Get your BAS Agent registration
In Australia, businesses file an annual Business Activity Statement (BAS) under the legal requirement. Bookkeepers are often tasked with undertaking preparation and filing of the BAS for businesses. To file BAS reports, you must be registered as a BAS Agent with the Tax Practitioners Board.
If you want to register as a BAS Agent, Certificate IV in Bookkeeping or Accounting is a pre-requisite. Sometimes, the Certificate IV course will include the relevant syllabus that you will need to study to fulfil the BAS Agent requirements. If you have studied the syllabus as part of your Certificate IV, you may not need to take the additional course to get registered.
It is not essential for a career as a bookkeeper to be registered as a BAS Agent. However, it can greatly enhance your employment opportunities. Most businesses would want their bookkeeper to also have the skill of filing BAS reports.
Professional indemnity insurance is important if you choose to freelance or be a contract bookkeeper. As a certified bookkeeper, you must adhere to a certain code of conduct. An obligation under the code is that you procure professional indemnity insurance. To learn more about professional indemnity insurance visit this website.
Successful bookkeepers are qualified but maintain an attitude of constant learning. Begin your career on the right foot and you will go far.
*As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this web page is general only and should not be relied upon as advice.