Summary of occupation
Bookkeepers manage and maintain the financial records of businesses. They use account books, computerised accounting systems and other forms of data management to ensure that all payments made and received by a business are accounted for. They handle accounts enquiries, arrange payments, record financial transactions, and check the daily cash flow of their organisation.
Bookkeepers are required all over the state, from large corporate bodies with offices all over the state, to small local businesses in regional and city areas.
Bookkeepers mostly work in offices, although some may work in the administrative sections of other businesses such as factories or shops. They usually work during standard business hours. They work in close contact with accountants and other financial management staff in records and data management.
On average, bookkeepers can expect to earn between $1 153 and $1 538 per week ($60 000 and $80 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a bookkeeper develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Bookkeepers may use traditional record keeping methods such as ledger books and filing systems, or they may use computers and data management programs. They may also spend a significant amount of their time on the phone, and may also need to be familiar with other office equipment such as photocopiers and fax machines.
You can work as a bookkeeper without formal qualifications. However, entry into this occupation may be improved with qualifications or previous work experience.
The Certificate III in Financial Services and Certificate IV in Bookkeeping are available from TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. It usually takes 12 months to complete the course.
You can also complete a traineeship in bookkeeping or financial services. The traineeships take between 12 and 18 months to complete. The financial services traineeship is available as a school-based traineeship.
Bookkeepers who provide Business Activity Statement (BAS) services for more than one company, including those employed by specialist bookkeeping companies, will need to either be registered as a BAS agent with the Tax Practitioners Board, or work under the supervision of a registered BAS or tax agent. See the Tax Practitioner Board's website for further information.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.