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Working as a Bookkeeper [NOC 1311]

Job Description

Bookkeepers keep track of all of the money a company receives and spends. As a bookkeeper you perform the following duties:

  • Keep financial records
  • Establish, maintain and balance various accounts using manual and computerized bookkeeping systems
  • Prepare financial statements
  • Calculate and prepare cheques for payrolls and bills
  • Complete and submit tax forms and other government documents
  • Prepare other statistical, financial and accounting reports

Source: NOC 1311

Industry Overview

There is a high demand for bookkeepers in British Columbia. Industry sources predict that the number of employment opportunities for bookkeepers will increase over the next few years.

This is due to several factors:

  • an increase in self employment for bookkeepers
  • an increase in reporting requirements for various organizations
  • the need to replace a large number of experienced workers who retire

Almost half of Bookkeepers working in B.C. are employed in the Lower Mainland-Southwest region.

Job Outlook in BC

Bookkeepers

job outlook for bookkeepers

Chart from WorkBC Career Profile

The Regional Employment Projections for 2010-2015 provides job opening projections for bookkeepers within these BC regions:

Region 2010
Estimated Employment
2015
Estimated Employment
Avg Annual % Change, 5 Years,
2010 to 2015
Vancouver Island/Coast 5,370 5,730 1.3%
Lower Mainland / Southwest 10,430 11,660 2.4%
Thompson-Okanagan 3,790 3,880 0.5%
Kootenay 850 1,000 3.5%
Cariboo 3,790 3,880 0.5%
North Coast & Nechako 600 670 2.3%
Northeast 590 610 0.9%

Source: Regional Employment Projections, BC Stats. Projections for development regions. [accessed October 2014]

You can learn more about working as a Bookkeeper and Accounting Technician in BC from:

Types of Employers

Bookkeepers work for all types of businesses and organizations including:

  • Professional business services such as law firms or insurance offices
  • Retail stores
  • Wholesale businesses
  • Restaurants
  • Construction and manufacturing sectors
  • A variety of other industries

You may also be self-employed.

Salary

Your salary depends on experience, education, location, and employer. The average salary for Bookkeepers working in BC is between $33,000 and $44,000 a year. In general, starting salaries range from $18,000 to $25,000 a year. If you have many years of experience and training you can earn $60,000 a year or more.

Full-time bookkeepers usually receive benefits in addition to a salary. These may include paid sick days, vacation time, and dental coverage.

Sources: Work BC & Career Cruising

Job Bank Canada provides a summary of hourly wages in BC regions:

bookkeeper_wages

Source: Job Bank Canada

Working Hours

You generally work a standard Monday to Friday work week, though some evening or weekend work may be required. During the tax preparation season you may have to work unusually long hours.

If you are employed in industries affected by seasonal conditions, such as forestry and construction, you may experience seasonal slowdowns or even layoffs.

A very high number of people (50%) work part time in this occupation. Depending on where you work, this occupation can provide flexibility in your working hours.

Source: Career Cruising database

Skills, Education, and Experience

Skills

  • Highly skilled with numbers
  • Strong clerical ability
  • Very detail oriented
  • Good at problem solving
  • Knowledge of computer applications including word processing, spreadsheet and accounting software

Education and Experience

Completion of secondary school is required.

Bookkeepers also require:

  • Completion of a college program in accounting, bookkeeping or a related field
    OR
  • Completion of two years (first level) of a recognized professional accounting program (e.g., Chartered Accounting, Certified General Accounting)
    OR
  • Courses in accounting or bookkeeping combined with several years of experience as a financial or accounting clerk

Qualifications

This occupation is not regulated in British Columbia.

There are no mandatory requirements for licensing or professional certification in order to work as a Bookkeeper in BC.

Finding Jobs

You’ll find job advertisements in local newspapers, trade journals, and electronic sources.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily and the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and in The Province on Sundays.

Job White Pages

  • Available online or in print at the Central Library
    NOTE: You can only access this database from the Central Library or VPL branch libraries. Access is NOT available from home or outside the Library.

Online Job Postings

  • Indeed.com
    Find jobs posted on a multitude of company career sites and job boards

Identifying the Right Position

When you browse job advertisements, you’ll find a range of different job titles that are relevant.

For bookkeepers, look for these related job titles (from NOC):

  • Accounting Bookkeeper
  • Accounting Technician
  • Bookkeeping Clerk

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of potential employers. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • Financial Services Canada
    Central Library, 332.1025 F49
  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “bookkeeping” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume (curriculum vitae) and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your relevant experience.
Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.
To learn about applying for jobs in Canada, use the following pathfinders:

Getting Help from Industry Sources

Industry Associations

Associations for bookkeeping professionals in BC and Canada can provide information and assistance. Registration and fees are required for membership.

Industry Journals

Search the Vancouver Public Library catalogue for journals related to your profession. Examples at the Central Library:

  • Beyond Numbers (Journal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC)
  • Bottom Line (for Canada’s accounting and finance professionals)
    Also available at the Central Library, 657.0971 B75