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What does a Bookkeeper do?

Bookkeepers compute, classify and verify monetary transactions to maintain financial records. They keep a systematic record of financial transactions by keeping different sets of accounting books. Bookkeepers and accountants share the same long-term goal of helping their clients thrive financially, but their roles are distinct. Bookkeepers focus more on daily responsibilities, while accountants provide overarching financial advice and tax guidance.

Bookkeepers record debits and credit in cash books, ledgers, subsidiary books and journals, compare current and past balance sheets, summarise details of separate ledgers and prepare reports for supervisors and managers. They may also prepare bank deposits and send cash, cheques and other forms of payment to the bank. Every month they prepare statements regarding the money owed to the company. 


What qualifications do I need?

Not all employers require a formal bookkeeper qualification, but having it will go a long way in improving your chances to get employment. A National Senior Certificate is often required and can be obtained at the Institute for Certified Bookkeepers, which offers three examinations: the Certificate, Associate and Fellowship examinations. Once you graduate from ICB courses, you can join professional membership bodies. This step is optional, but it can really set you up with opportunities. A Diploma or a Bachelor of Commerce specialising in accounting are two more ways to qualify yourself as a bookeeper. A BCom (Acc) degree is presented by all universities and the NDip Commercial Education is presented by most universities of technology.

What subjects do I need?

English (Home Language or First Additional Language)
Pure Mathematics
Business Studies


Where can I study?

Institute for Certified Bookkeepers
National Certificate in Junior Bookkeeping
Certified Senior Bookkeeping Course 

Stellenbosch University
A BCom (Acc)

NDip Commercial Education

Where can I get more info?

South African Institute of Professional Accountants (SAIPA) - https://www.ifac.org/
Institute of Accountants and Bookkeepers (IAB) - https://www.iab.org.uk/


Interview with a Bookkeeper

Ursula Munnik | BOOKKEEPER | Yes Media

Ursula Munnik | BOOKKEEPER | Yes Media


Why did you choose bookkeeping as your career? 
I actually wanted to do personal training, and decided to work part-time as a receptionist to generate income in the meantime. I ended up thoroughly enjoying it, so I enrolled as a part-time student at college and have never looked back.

What is your training?  
I trained in full function of basic accounting bookkeeping and business management. I attended Boston College and Achievers Business College.

Describe a typical day on the job as a bookkeeper
I start off with coffee and the most important meal of the day: breakie. Next, I log on, attend to any accounting queries and quotations, capture all invoices (debtors and creditors), receipt all payments, check statements, and deal with the debt collecting. 

What do you enjoy most about it?
Interacting with my colleagues  and clients; my job plays an important role of the finished product.

The least enjoyable aspect? 
I REALLY don’t like having to harass clients for money that they owe us.

Any hurdles you’ve had to deal with?   
I had to take a cut in salary due to the poor economy of our country at the moment. I constantly have a battle with my mind, but keep pushing myself to try to remain positive and continue even when the going gets tough.

What’s been the highlight of your professional life to date?  
I’m truly blessed, working with an amazing team; it feels like home to me.

What are your future goals? 
To set up a business from home doing bookkeeping, tourism and full-time missions.

In administration, is experience as important as formal training?
Yes, formal training is very important, but then so is in-house training. What I experience in the workplace cannot be taught. I learn daily through trial and error.

What traits do you need to do this job?
You must be a people person, be approachable, and be sharp with figures.

What advice would you give someone wanting to get into administration?  
Try and stay ahead with accounting packages: knowledge is power!

Your job in three words
Stimulating, challenging and rewarding. 

Interview date: May 2017