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Bookkeeper Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Bookkeeper, or Accounting Technician, provides daily management of accounts, keeps businesses aligned with provincial and federal tax laws and manages accounts payable and receivable. Their duties include record maintenance, clerical work, and data entry.

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What does a Bookkeeper do?

The role of a Bookkeeper is to enter a company’s financial information into a general ledger using software specific to the accounting and financial industry. With the aid of computer software, Bookkeepers are able to update records and forecast spending for the next month, quarter, or year. In smaller organizations, some Bookkeepers may track income and expenses. Bookkeepers who work for larger organizations may post transactions, prepare reports, and analyze data for the company overall or for specific departments.

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Bookkeeper duties and responsibilities

To excel in the role of a Bookkeeper, individuals must have a good understanding of how to properly manage a company’s financials. The job role of a Bookkeeper includes tracking and managing financial data, entering financial transactions into various databases, notifying upper management of any accounting errors, and organizing financial reports.

Additional duties and responsibilities of a Bookkeeper include:

  • Fact-checking accounting information
  • Recording all transactions
  • Disseminating reports to staff
  • Balancing subsidiary accounts to reconcile accounts
  • Ensuring all financial actions comply with local legal requirements
  • Preparing financial reports by analyzing, collecting, and condensing account trends and information
  • Using a system to account for the financial transactions made by the company to establish a chart of accounts

Bookkeeper skills and qualifications

A successful Bookkeeper candidate has strong financial literacy and natural organizational skills. By being detail orientated, the Bookkeeper keeps accurate financial records. Other key skills and qualifications include:

  • Great interpersonal skills that enable the Bookkeeper to clearly and effectively communicate with other employees
  • The ability to work on multiple projects while adhering to tight deadlines
  • The ability to communicate complex financial data with other members
  • Good data entry skills
  • Familiarity with the general principles of accounting
  • A strong understanding of math and numbers
  • The ability to use various financial transactions such as accounts payable and accounts receivable

Bookkeeper experience requirements

The experience required to become a Bookkeeper varies. Because it is an entry-level role, there may be some organizations that require no experience and instead are willing to train on the job if the candidate has a GED or high school diploma. Some companies require one to two years of experience with job titles such as Administrative Assistant, Accounts Payable Coordinator or Payroll Assistant. If a company uses special accounting software, experience with that software may be a requirement for the position.

Bookkeeper education and training requirements

Most companies request that Bookkeepers have an advanced degree in math, statistics, or financing. Experience in fields such as business or office administration can take the place of education requirements. Some entry-level bookkeeping jobs may only ask for a high school diploma because training is provided on the job.

Organizations such as the Canadian Bookkeepers Association and the Canadian Institute of Bookkeeping provide training and certification for all levels of Bookkeepers. Many organizations provide training and certifications in accounting software as well.  

Bookkeeper salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary for a Bookkeeper in Canada is $22.38 per hour, which may be dependent on experience, location, and company.

Job description samples for similar positions

If a Bookkeeper doesn’t exactly fit your company needs, other similar job positions include: 

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Bookkeeper job description FAQs

What are some specific tasks of entry-level Bookkeepers?

Entry-level Bookkeepers perform a variety of different tasks. They maintain a complete set of books and records by recording all business financial transactions, such as purchases, expenditures, revenue, invoices, and payments. The Bookkeeper then enters all the financial transactions into a general ledger, which is reported to the Canada Revenue Agency.

What is the difference between a Bookkeeper and Accountant?

Bookkeepers and Accountants are two completely different jobs. A Bookkeeper performs the duties of an administrator—they are generally responsible for recording and processing financial transactions such as payroll, invoices, income, and expenditures. The accountant analyzes all financial data, forecasting and budgeting for specific departments or entire companies.

Does a Bookkeeper do payroll?

Depending on the company, some Bookkeepers may be responsible for administering payroll. In this role, the Bookkeeper records all transactions into the company’s general ledger and creates financial statements and reports from this data for supervisors and managers. Bookkeepers can also prepare bank deposits, process cheques, and keep track of all payments to vendors.

What does a Bookkeeper do on a daily basis?

Bookkeepers maintain the daily financial records of a company by recording transactions every day to ensure all financial records are updated. Other duties and responsibilities include reviewing financial data, paying invoices, tracking purchases, and handling bank deposits.

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