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What skills must a good Bookkeeper have?

Updated: Mar 27

Most bookkeepers have previous work experience in accounting. If you’re currently working as a Bookkeeper, you may have the opportunity to advance your career to higher-level accounting positions such as Staff Accountant and Senior Accountant. You will likely improve your job outlook and increase your salary by developing your skillset for this career through work experience and continuing education.

At Best Services we found the best bookkeepers to make your search for the right person for the job easier and hassle-free. The bookkeepers listed with Best Services SA are proven to be the best with years of experience and most importantly focus on great customer service.

View available bookkeepers in provinces here


Being organised.

Bookkeeping involves carrying out repetitive and routine tasks, and a need to complete those jobs in a timely fashion — often with deadlines associated with them. As a bookkeeper, you need to be organised and have good time management skills.


You also need to be able to prioritise the important tasks and identify those tasks that you need to do first. Often, using checklists helps you to ensure that you complete tasks and allows you to keep abreast of progress throughout the month.


Possessing good communication skills.

As a bookkeeper, you’ll be expected to discuss the finances with the owner/manager of the business. They will expect the basic financial reports, such as the Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet, and updates with regard to cash flow.


For example, it is often the role of the bookkeeper to manage the credit control for the business, which involves running accurately Aged Debtor reports to provide up-to-date lists of all outstanding customer invoices and then politely contacting those customers with a view to collecting the debts on a timely basis.


Having an enquiring mind.

Bookkeepers are often required to investigate why certain costs are higher than expected within the accounts. You’d need to conduct an examination of the relevant nominal code before Journals are raised to correct any mistakes that you subsequently find.


Having qualifications.

As a bookkeeper, you can be qualified by experience, which means that you’ve been doing the job for so long that you’re skilled in all aspects of the role. Alternatively, you can gain qualifications by studying for the bookkeeping exams set by specialist institutes, such as the International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB). Either way, you should be able to demonstrate that you are skilled at double-entry bookkeeping, as it is critical to be able to correct mistakes that are made if something is incorrectly posted onto the computer/accounting software.


Being happy working with computers and the Internet.

Many common bookkeeping routines, such as bank reconciliation, require a working knowledge of accessing bank data via the Internet and using spreadsheets to prepare cash flows for the business.


Maintaining a sound knowledge of a well-known accounting software package.

Most bookkeeping systems are now held on a computer, which means that a bookkeeper must be able to demonstrate a sound knowledge of current accounting software packages.


Possessing honesty and trustworthiness.

A bookkeeper is often going to be privy to some important and often confidential information, such as bank statements and payroll records. A bookkeeper is in a position of trust, and you’re not expected to abuse it.


Being happy working with figures!

This may seem an obvious quality, but a bookkeeper needs to be equally as happy with numbers as with words.



Preparedness to update skills.

As a bookkeeper, you need to keep your finger on the pulse with current financial regulations, as well as staying up to date with the industry that you’re working within.


Having a confident personality.

As a bookkeeper you are responsible for the day to day finances of the business and, as such, the owner/manager of the business will expect to be working with someone who is confident of their own abilities and who can happily discuss the reports produced from the accounting package.


Find the best person for the job in your town at Best SA – Choose your province – Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Northern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, North West, Limpopo, Free State, Mpumalanga. Find the best in IT, Services, and artisans at Best Services in South Africa.

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