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Best Bookkeeping Certification in 2021

September 27, 2021 | Staff Writers

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Everything You Need to Know About Bookkeeping Certification 

If you are good at numbers and a logical thinker with a head for data analysis, a career in bookkeeping may be right for you. Not only does bookkeeping have excellent prospects, but it also has high earning potential. A bookkeeping certification is a career path for individuals aspiring to enter the accounting field and by first becoming bookkeepers before getting the proper certification to become accountants. Professional bookkeepers keep track of company financial statements, such as general ledger and invoices, to ensure they are up-to-date and accurate.

The demand for certified bookkeepers in the accounting field has significantly increased due to business regulations. These regulations require a business to keep track of financial transactions and generate accurate financial records. But how do you become a certified bookkeeper? Like other professions, the bookkeeping profession requires you to obtain an education and pass certification exams. Passing the exams unlocks career options such as auditing clerks and certified bookkeepers. 

Bookkeepers need a high school diploma or equivalent. While pursuing a high school diploma, you need to take courses related to accounting, math, computers, and English. A high school diploma allows aspiring bookkeepers to enroll for a bookkeeping course, either an associate degree or certificate level. Graduate students are required to gain hands-on work experience in bookkeeping for at least two years before undertaking their bookkeeping certification exams offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. 

If you are an aspiring professional bookkeeper, this article is suitable for you as it explores various aspects of bookkeeping certification, including: 

  1. Why you should consider a bookkeeping certification 
  2. What to expect from a bookkeeping certificate?
  3. How to get a bookkeeping certification? 
  4. Best bookkeeping certification programs 

Why You Should Consider a Bookkeeping Certification 

A bookkeeping certification is a primary requirement for anyone who wants to work in this role. The bookkeeping profession is highly regulated due to the increased risk of fraud, embezzlement, and inaccurate reporting of financial statements. Professional bookkeepers must take certification exams upon completing their bookkeeping course and gaining two years of work experience. The bookkeeping certification unlocks a variety of career opportunities for certified bookkeepers, especially in accounting.

Why Is a Bookkeeping Certification Useful? 

The question that keeps wandering in the minds of aspiring bookkeepers is whether bookkeeping certifications are worth the time and resources. Well, those who are already practicing in the accounting profession will tell you the importance of certification in the accounting field. Although bookkeepers are regulated as much as accountants, the need for bookkeeping certification is relatively high, although there isn’t a single certification that is required. Accountants have one standard accounting certification in the country, but there isn’t an equivalent certification for bookkeepers. 

Bookkeepers with commendable work experience and valuable skills such as accounting software knowledge are unlikely to acknowledge the importance of bookkeeping certifications. However, new entrant bookkeepers highly need bookkeeping certifications as they are proof that the graduate has undergone quality training in bookkeeping. The bookkeeping certification makes your professional resume outstanding in the eyes of potential employers such as business owners. 

Bookkeepers can use the bookkeeping certification to show their professional status. Like accountants who use the CPA designation, certified bookkeepers can use the CB designation with their names as proof that they have earned the certification and should be recognized as certified public bookkeepers. Additionally, bookkeeping certification helps increase their market value, leading to higher salaries than those without one. 

Bookkeeping certification enables bookkeepers to advance their education as the certification requires ongoing training to maintain certification. Also, certified bookkeepers can quickly transfer their credit hours to associate degree programs, opening advanced accounting avenues. The bookkeeping certification ensures increased knowledge of various accounting areas, such as accounting software and tax issues that business owners face regularly. 

Who Should Consider a Bookkeeping Certification? 

Bookkeeping services are not complex and specialized like accounting processes. Most bookkeepers see no worth in bookkeeping certifications. However, with the dynamic trends in the business world, bookkeeping certifications are slowly gaining momentum. Therefore, bookkeepers wishing to keep abreast of bookkeeping regulations and advances should consider a bookkeeping certification. Typically, bookkeeping certification organizations provide certified public bookkeepers with ongoing training. Ongoing training programs geared towards training certified bookkeepers on new changes in the accounting field are valuable. 

The regular training programs provided by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) lead to increased knowledge and expertise both in the bookkeeping and accounting field. The increased understanding of tax processes, accounting software, and bookkeeping processes gives certified public bookkeepers a competitive advantage over non-certified bookkeepers. 

Bookkeepers who aspire to advance their careers quickly should consider bookkeeping certifications. Businesses are on the look-out for certified bookkeepers as they have a valuable set of skills and knowledge in the profession. Hence, the certified bookkeepers can easily earn higher positions, such as office administration positions, with increased job security and remuneration. 

How Can a Bookkeeping Certification Strengthen Your Resume? 

There are several ways of strengthening your professional resume, but the most crucial is earning your bookkeeping certification. Bookkeeping certifications are proof to potential employers that you have met all the professional bookkeeping standards. Bookkeeping certifications help improve your skills and knowledge in the bookkeeping profession. Indicating that you have earned a bookkeeping certification demonstrates to potential clients and employers that you possess skills needed for bookkeeping careers. According to the Bureau of Labor, a bookkeeping certification increases your chances of landing a high-paying bookkeeping job.

What to Expect from A Bookkeeping Certificate?

Bookkeeping certificates are an affordable way to learn basic accounting skills without pursuing a four-year accounting degree program. In most cases, bookkeeping certificate programs take less than a year to complete. Upon completing the bookkeeping course, aspiring certified bookkeepers must take certification exams to earn their bookkeeper certification. The bookkeeping coursework incorporates several aspects of accounting courses, including basic accounting processes. Nonetheless, the primary focus for the bookkeeping programs is bookkeeping and its related skills. 

What Can You Do with A Bookkeeping Certification? 

Bookkeeping certifications allow graduates to explore a variety of career options in the bookkeeping and accounting field. Individuals with bookkeeping knowledge and skills can pursue a career as a bookkeeper and might earn jobs in a variety of industries. Those with advanced bookkeeping educations might explore several other opportunities with higher education requirements. If you are wondering what you can do with a bookkeeping certification, here are some career options that might interest you: 

  • Bookkeepers: Certified public bookkeepers handle daily business transactions. They oversee all financial transactions and record them to ensure the financial health and stability of the business.
  • Bookkeeping Clerks: Certified bookkeepers use their knowledge and expertise in accounting software to digitally manage financial records such as general ledgers. Bookkeeping clerks work in a variety of industries with cash-based accounting processes. They keep track of financial transactions throughout the accounting cycle. 
  • Auditing Clerk: Bookkeepers with online accounting certificate might pursue a career in the auditing field. Auditing clerks keep track of financial records to ensure the financial transactions are accurate and free from elements of fraud. 
  • Bill and Account Collectors: Bookkeeping professionals who have earned accounting certificates might partner with companies and firms to help collect overdue bills. They mostly work with private agencies. 
  • Administrative Assistants: Certified bookkeepers, in some instances, might handle administrative tasks, such as setting appointments, preparing invoices, direct phone calls, and handling mails. In some cases, they may act as office managers and play an important role in keeping the business running.

What Skills Are Demonstrated by A Bookkeeping Certification? 

Bookkeeping certification from accredited business schools trains and prepare bookkeepers Bookkeeping certification from accredited business schools train and prepare bookkeepers for various careers. These careers require graduate bookkeepers to possess a specific skill set to perform their skills diligently and effectively. The responsibilities of bookkeepers revolve around analyzing financial statements to help identify errors and keeping track and recording financial transactions. Bookkeeping certification programs help bookkeeping students earn the necessary skills needed to perform the tasks. Some of the skills include: 

  • Problem-Solving Skills: Financial reports are always prone to errors. However, with strong problem-solving skills, certified public bookkeepers can identify the errors and reconcile the financial statements to help solve the discrepancies. 
  • Math Skills: Bookkeeping roles involve a lot of numbers. Hence, students develop strong bookkeeping certification skills needed to record and manage numerical information effectively. 
  • Integrity: Employers require their accounting and bookkeeping professionals to be of high integrity to help prevent misuse of funds and identify the potential for fraud. Integrity and transparency are some of the bookkeeping ethical standards that certified bookkeepers must adhere to. 
  • Organization: Most certified bookkeepers work with a large pool of clients at once. They oversee payroll processes, manage expenditures, and generate financial reports for all these clients. The bookkeepers must be highly organized to avoid discrepancies. Bookkeeping certifications train and releases high organized professionals in the labor market. 

How Much Do Certified Bookkeepers Make? 

If you are looking for a high-paying career that doesn’t require a professional degree, look no further than the certified bookkeeping profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they earn a median annual salary of $41,000, indicating that certified bookkeepers earn hourly pay of $17. Nevertheless, the salary scale differs considerably with an individual’s experience, working location, and company size. Relatively larger companies pay highly for bookkeeping services. Certified bookkeepers who have completed accounting courses are likely to earn high salaries due to the more advanced roles linked to their job. 

How to Get a Bookkeeping Certification

Bookkeeping certifications have become quite common due to the competitive advantage they give certified public bookkeepers. Although bookkeeping isn’t a licensed profession, most business owners seek bookkeeping services from those with certifications. Bookkeeping certifications act as a demonstration of competency and a high level of expertise. They are offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) and the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB).  

How Can You Apply to Get a Bookkeeping Certification? 

AIPB offers several bookkeeping certifications that require bookkeepers to earn two years of full-time work experience. To achieve certification in bookkeeping, you need to undertake a certification exam to bolster your bookkeeping knowledge and experience. You can either opt to take the AIPB certification exam or NACPB four-part exams. The tests are administered through open-book and multiple-choice options. 

The certification exams cover several areas such as payroll computations, business transactions, and financial statements. Candidates sitting for the exam at least get 75% to pass. Bookkeepers must also agree to abide by the codes of ethics of AIPB. Interestingly, none of the AIPB certifications are state-controlled. Bookkeepers can only apply for their certification after passing the certification exams. Once the certification results are out, successful candidates must fill application forms available in downloadable documents. Once the application is complete, applicants should wait for processing and licensure. 

How Long Does It Take to Get a Bookkeeping Certification? 

Bookkeeping certification doesn’t take quite long as accounting certifications. Individuals qualified to become certified bookkeepers don’t need to worry much about the bookkeeping certification duration. Bookkeeping courses take approximately 12 months. Upon completing the bookkeeping program, bookkeeping graduates are expected to complete two-year work experience from a dynamic business organization to gain bookkeeping and accounting experience. The bookkeepers are allowed to take their certification exams. 

It takes approximately two years for prospective bookkeepers to earn their bookkeeping certification. Students enrolled in online bookkeeping certification programs might take a few years to gain their bookkeeping certification. The online certification programs are always flexible and allow students to take the coursework at their preferred times. With this, full-time online students are likely to complete the coursework earlier than part-timers and traditional on-campus students. 

What Does a Bookkeeping Certification Program Require? 

Bookkeepers seeking to become certified public bookkeepers must fulfill specific requirements before gaining a license to practice as certified public bookkeepers. The requirements aim to ensure the bookkeeping professions seeking certification have met the quality standards, including earning the required knowledge and skills to become certified bookkeepers. Even though certification programs have varied requirements, there are several standard bookkeeping certification program requirements. On this page, we explore some of the basic requirements of the programs. 

  1. High School Diploma

 Bookkeeping certification programs require students to seek admission to have a high school diploma. The knowledge and skills earned in high school education are quite beneficial to aspiring certified bookkeepers. Some of the bookkeeping skills are learned in high school courses such as Math and English courses. Please note that this is always the minimum requirement for admission. 

  1. GPA Score 

Bookkeeping requires hardworking and ambitious individuals who can perform bookkeeping-related tasks such as payroll processing and the generation of financial statements with ease. Admission officers gauge academic prowess through a student’s capabilities. Therefore, most institutions require students to have an average GPA of 2.0. Students enrolling for continuing education programs must have an average GPA of 2.0 earned in their previous certificate programs. 

  1. College Preparatory Courses

Some schools require aspiring bookkeeping students to have prior bookkeeping experience. The bookkeeping experience is earned from various high school elective courses such as computer courses, Math, and business courses. The elective business course provides students with the basic knowledge of financial transactions, business records, financial statements, and payroll preparation. 

  1. Standardized Test Scores 

While this isn’t a common requirement, many schools require students enrolling in bookkeeping certificate programs to take standardized test scores. The scores determine abilities, attributes, and make academic projections. Some of the typical standardized test scores used by learning institutions include SAT and ACT. 

Best Bookkeeping Certification Programs 

Enrolling in a bookkeeping certification program is the first step to becoming a certified bookkeeper. The bookkeeping course gives aspiring bookkeepers the foundational understanding of bookkeeping processes. Students get an insight into accounting principles which might help broaden their knowledge of bookkeeping. Bookkeeping certification programs are mainly offered in community schools and vocational colleges. 

The certification programs are relatively cheap and take approximately twelve months to complete. Earning your certification and completing your work experience hours allows the professional bookkeeper to take their certification exam, after which they become certified public bookkeepers. The programs are also a quick way of transitioning to accounting degrees. 

What Should You Look for in A Bookkeeping Certification Program? 

There are several bookkeeping certification programs offered in various schools around the country. Each bookkeeping certificate program provides a unique learning experience. Prospective certified public bookkeepers should first determine the suitability of the certificate program before seeking admission. Choosing a suitable bookkeeping certification program can be difficult. Our experts analyzed several programs and came up with the factors you need to consider when choosing a bookkeeping certification program. Be on the look-out for the following: 

  1. Accreditation 

Program accreditation demonstrates that the specific program has met all the quality standards set by the accrediting organization. Accredited programs increase your chances of getting an employment opportunity as employers prefer graduates who have earned accredited bookkeeping certification programs. Some common accrediting organizations include Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and many more. Always do online research to ensure that a recognized accrediting organization accredits the program. Also, ensure the accreditation status is active. 

  1. Affordability

The cost of bookkeeping certificate programs is rapidly increasing due to the high demand for bookkeeping certificates. Like choosing a suitable accounting degree, prospective bookkeepers should also consider the bookkeeping program’s cost to ensure they meet their budget. Online bookkeeping certification programs are relatively cheaper compared to on-campus programs, which is a factor that students should consider, especially adults who might have difficulties balancing schoolwork and other responsibilities. Additionally, enrolling in a bookkeeping certification program in a community school near you could cut costs. 

  1. Reputation 

The reputation of the college offering the bookkeeping course is a vital factor that aspiring certified bookkeepers should consider before applying to enroll in the program. Top-notch bookkeeping programs have good reputations with accrediting agencies, alumni, and ongoing students, demonstrating devotion to student success in the education programs. It is best to consider the graduation rate as this indicates chances of success in the program. 

What Are the Benefits of an Online Bookkeeping Certification? 

Online bookkeeping and accounting programs have increasingly become common. Currently, professional bookkeepers and accounting professionals have embraced digitalization to help solve bookkeeping challenges, and this is the main reason why most prospective certified bookkeepers should consider completing their certificate programs online. Online bookkeeping certificate programs are the fastest ways of earning your career credentials as the programs prepare students to sit for their certification exams earlier than their counterparts in traditional on-campus certificate programs. Here are some of the significant on earning your bookkeeping certification online: 

  • Self-Paced Learning: Online bookkeeping certificate programs allow students to study at their own pace. Students might choose between full-time and part-time learning programs. The learning program enables students to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule. All they need is to log in to their online learning portals whenever they are accessible and able to, allowing the students to integrate their work obligation and coursework. 
  • Flexibility: Unlike traditional bookkeeping and accounting programs that require students to attend classes in college lecture halls physically, online students learn from locations of choice. Additionally, the online bookkeeping programs have no fixed learning schedules. Students have the full mandate to choose their learning time and program duration. 
  • Affordability: Online bookkeeping certificate programs are relatively affordable compared to on-campus programs. Apart from relatively lower tuition fees, the program helps students cut on various costs, including the expenses students incur to choose various school facilities such as parking. 
  • Gain Experience: Online students can gain hands-on experience in bookkeeping from small business entities within the locations while at the same time pursuing their bookkeeping course program, ensuring students enter the job market knowledgeable and with a valuable skill set. 

What Are the Most Respected Bookkeeping Certification Programs? 

If you are looking for some of the best bookkeeping certification programs, you are in the right place. Keep reading as this page explores some of the most respected programs. 

  1. Harper College, Palatine 

The college offers accounting bookkeeping and clerk certificate programs that help prepare students for the bookkeeping profession and sit for the certification exam. The program allows them to continue with their education to higher levels, such as accounting associate degree. The coursework covers various areas, including business software courses. 

  1. Central Wyoming College, Riverton 

Central Wyoming College offers business and entrepreneurship programs. The accounting bookkeeping certificate program prepares aspiring bookkeepers for entry-level careers. The program covers several courses, including business math, general accounting, QuickBooks, spreadsheets, and business communications. Students enrolled in the school can take advantage of the Wyoming Works grant to finance their education. 

  1. Triton College, River Grove 

Triton college provides a bookkeeping certificate program that targets students aspiring to enter accounting and bookkeeping careers. Students learn essential financial software and accounting skills and other courses such as workbook management and computer packages through the program. The program is offered both as an on-campus and online program. 

  1. Northcentral Technical College 

Students seeking to enter the bookkeeping profession might consider enrolling in the college’s bookkeeping technology certificate program. The bookkeeping program enables students to earn vital skills and knowledge in payroll accounting, formula creation, QuickBooks, and fundamental bookkeeping processes. 

Conclusion 

Bookkeeping certification provides essential career skills to prospective certified public bookkeepers and accounting professionals. Bookkeepers have become critical to small business entities as they offer invaluable services in managing business transactions. They keep track of financial transactions, manage general ledgers, make payrolls, and balance business financial statements. With this, bookkeepers help identify errors in the financial reports, detect fraud elements, and prevent misuse of funds in the organization. 

Bookkeeping certificate programs unlock several career opportunities for aspiring bookkeepers and accountants. Some bookkeeping field careers apart from bookkeepers include auditing clerks, office administrative assistants, bill and account collectors, accounting clerks, and financial clerks. The Bureau of Labor considers these careers high paying careers that don’t require degrees. 

The typical career path in the bookkeeping profession begins with earning a bookkeeping certificate program. The bookkeeping programs are offered mainly through community and technical colleges. The programs are relatively affordable compared to associate and bachelor’s degree accounting programs. Upon completion of the one-year certificate program, graduates are required to complete a two-year working program to enable them to gain the knowledge and skills needed to sit for the certification exams. 

Acquiring the bookkeeping certification has several benefits to certified public bookkeepers. Bookkeeping certifications attract higher earning potential than the earnings of bookkeepers without certification. The certification leads to broader job prospects as they unlock several career opportunities. Those considering earning their certificate faster should consider enrolling in online bookkeeping certificate programs, which are highly flexible and affordable. 

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