Working as a Bookkeeper / Accounting Technician [NOC 1311]
Bookkeepers maintain complete sets of books, keep records of accounts and verify the procedures used for recording financial transactions. As a bookkeeper you perform the following duties:
- Keep financial records and establish, maintain and balance various accounts using manual and computerized bookkeeping systems
- Post journal entries and reconcile accounts, prepare trial balance of books, maintain general ledgers and prepare financial statements
- Calculate and prepare cheques for payrolls and for utility, tax and other bills
- Complete and submit tax remittance forms, workers’ compensation forms, pension contribution forms and other government documents
- Prepare tax returns and perform other personal bookkeeping services
- Prepare other statistical, financial and accounting reports.
In BC, approximately 22,600 people work in this occupation and 35% are working mostly full time. 29% of accounting technicians and bookkeepers are self-employed.
Bookkeepers & Accounting Technicians mainly work in the following sectors:
- accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services: 25%
- construction: 14%
- other retail stores: 9%
Bookkeepers & Accounting Technicians are employed in the following regions:
- 51% in the Lower Mainland-Southwest region
- 18% are employed in Vancouver Island/Coast
- 14% in Thompson/Okanagan.
Job Outlook in BC
You can learn more about working as a Bookkeeper and Accounting Technician in BC from:
- Career Cruising (Profile for Bookkeeper)
Available from the VPL Digital Library
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
- Construction and manufacturing sectors
- A variety of other industries
You may also be self-employed.
Your salary depends on experience, education, location, and employer. In BC, annual provincial median salary is $41,712. Full-time bookkeepers usually receive benefits in addition to a salary. These may include paid sick days, vacation time, and dental coverage.
Job Bank Canada provides a summary of hourly wages in BC regions:
Sources: Job Bank Canada, WorkBC Career Profile for Bookkeepers & Accounting Technicians, Career Cruising (profile for Bookkeeper) Available from the VPL Digital Library
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.
Source: Career Cruising database
Skills, Education, and Experience
- 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
- Completion of two years (first level) of a recognized professional accounting program (e.g., Chartered Accounting, Certified General Accounting)
- Courses in accounting or bookkeeping combined with several years of experience as a financial or accounting clerk
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.
You’ll find job advertisements in local newspapers, trade journals, and electronic sources.
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 from the VPL Digital Library or in print at the Central Library
NOTE: Access at VPL locations only
Online Job Postings
Search by keyword “bookkeeper”
- Hays Specialist Recruitment
Browse jobs in category “accounting and finance”; can also search by job title and BC city
- Robert Half Finance & Accounting
Search by postal code (e.g. V6B 6B1) and “bookkeeper”
Find jobs posted on a multitude of company career sites and job boardsJob Bank
**must have permanent resident number** newcomers can post their skills, education and work experience to BC employers looking for workers
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” or “accounting & bookkeeping”and click LOOKUP.
Select the appropriate headings.
Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
Available from the VPL Digital Library
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 or curriculum vitae and a cover letter. These should identify the position you are applying for and summarize 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 guides:
Getting Help from Industry Sources
Associations for bookkeeping professionals in BC and Canada can provide information and assistance. Registration and fees are required for membership.
Search the Vancouver Public Library catalogue for journals related to your profession. Examples at the Central Library:
- In Focus
CPABC in Focus serves as the voice of the accounting profession in BC