Everything is about numbers in bookkeeping. In bookkeeping, the bookkeepers—sometimes referred to as bookkeeping clerks—work with the accounts team of a company and are responsible for a number of critical functions. The primary function performed by bookkeepers is that of recording each and every transaction, income, and deposit made into the accounts of the company.
They are accountable for the data entered into the system, and therefore, may be called for explanation whenever discrepancies arise in the financial records. Thus, bookkeeping should not be considered a mere freelance data entry job; it is much more than that since the numbers reflect the health of the company and no company would like to mess up with them unless they have some ulterior motives.
Bookkeeping is an old profession, but it has become increasingly popular in the freelance community. There are convenience and balance of power, which contribute to the rising numbers of freelance bookkeepers lately. However easy it may seem but it is not a piece of cake to become a part of this community, considering the mammoth increase in competition. The employers want the best and to become the best, you will have to keep in mind some basics.
In this article, we shall introduce to you four basic aspects of freelance bookkeeping which you must keep in mind:
1. Job requirements to become a freelance bookkeeper
On an international scale, the general requirement is a high school diploma and understanding of fundamental accounting, spreadsheets, and computers. But, the trend is changing, and the demands of the employers have become stricter and wider. Now they want more than just a high school diploma, and let us discover what they are:
- The minimum educational requirement for becoming a freelance bookkeeper is the qualification of 10+2 from a recognized school in India. Employers prefer those who have undertaken bookkeeping-related courses in school such as computers, accounting, mathematics, and English. So, in case you are in school, opt for these courses for better future opportunities.
- Following the completion of 10+2, you should consider getting a degree or certification, whatever is feasible. There are numerous degree courses which can help in the field of bookkeeping such as Bachelor’s in Accounting and Finance, Taxation, Advanced Accountancy, etc. Apart from degree courses, you can opt for diploma and certificate courses organized by a number of institutions and online platforms. These courses are designed in a manner so as to provide you a holistic learning experience in the field of bookkeeping by giving special focus on mathematics, accounting, computer skills, etc.
- Some institutes which offer related courses include Christ College, Bangalore; Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi; Hansraj College, Delhi; St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata; SRCC, Delhi, Madras Christian College, Chennai, etc.
- There are associations which offer membership programs to accountants and bookkeepers such as the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and enable access to benefits such as passes to seminars and conferences, etc.
- Experience matters a lot, and therefore, it is advised that you make use of the acquired knowledge in a working environment. You can take up part-time or full-time jobs in companies or other organizations and gain experience.
2. Skills needed to become a freelance bookkeeper
While going through your application, the first thing the employer will assess is the portfolio of skills or resume attached to it. The portfolio of skills is extremely important and, therefore, proper attention must be given in its formulation. You cannot randomly add any kind of skill, which has no relevance to the job of bookkeeping whatsoever, and thus, read whatever is mentioned below carefully and incorporate the same in the portfolio.
- Technology educated: Technology has redefined everything that surrounds us and without it, we can hardly imagine life. Technology affects efficiency and when it comes to bookkeeping, efficiency is a must-have. Thus, if you wish to become a bookkeeper, you must work on your computer skills and be well acquainted with utilities such as spread sheets, MS office, the Internet, etc.
- Communication skills: A bookkeeper is not a lone worker in the account’s department of a company; he/she works in a team, and when working in a team, it becomes imperative to communicate. There your communication skills will play a key role in conveying your queries, reservations, and suggestions on the matter of data recording and, at times, interpretation.
- Accounting Education: This goes without saying that without substantial knowledge of accounting, there is no chance. You must not only be well-versed with the principles and concepts of accounting but also be able to put them into real-time use. That is why the article makes a categorical mention of both education and work experience being indispensable players in the making of a brilliant and credible freelance bookkeeper.
- Organization: If you are a bookkeeper, you will have to organize the data anyway. You may often come across myriad of unrelated and unrefined data, and it is up to you to determine the data and organize it as per the guidelines of the company.
3. Work opportunities for freelance bookkeeper
Most organizations—whether public or private—require bookkeepers. Data inflow is usually heavy and without any organization and the assistance of bookkeepers, everything will go simply haywire. While the work opportunities are plenty, a more important question should be asked as to how to keep a track on the availability of jobs.
The answer is freelance websites. These websites are hoards of opportunities, and one can have a 24×7 access to these through simple formalities—the creation of a profile, submission of a portfolio of skills and customization of job searches. You will, then, receive filtered notifications and can, accordingly, submit applications. Examples of such websites include linkedin.com, letsintern.com, worknhire.com, etc.
4. Pay scale of a freelance bookkeeper
A freelance bookkeeper will have to name his price, but that is not the end of it. Often, there are constraints on pay scale due to a host of factors such as the financial health of the company, education, and experience of the bookkeeper, etc. A rookie freelancer may earn as much as Rs. 10,000 per month, but the amount will definitely vary; an experienced freelance bookkeeper may go on to earn as much as Rs. 50,000 per month and even more.