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What is a Bookkeeper? Definition Meaning Example

meaning of bookkeeper

It is not uncommon for an experienced bookkeeper to make a career transition into accounting or another profession. As bookkeepers work closely with raw data, they tend to develop a good understanding of how a business works. Not only are you entrusting your bookkeeper with sensitive data, you are relying on their accuracy to maintain the financial records for your business. A good bookkeeper never cuts corners, and they are indispensable to small business owners who want to spend time growing their business, instead of maintaining it.

What is a bookkeeper in simple terms?

Bookkeeping is the process of recording your company's financial transactions into organized accounts on a daily basis. It can also refer to the different recording techniques businesses can use. Bookkeeping is an essential part of your accounting process for a few reasons.

Each person should consult his or her own attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Bench assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein. You don’t need any special training to be a bookkeeper—you don’t even need a bachelor’s degree.

What is Bookkeeping?

Accountants are more concerned with the larger picture and use the data bookkeepers keep track of to generate reports, identify important trends, and make projections. In addition, bookkeepers are not required to have an undergraduate degree; accountants typically are expected to have, at least, four years of formal training. Bookkeeping requires a basic knowledge of accounting, but not an accounting degree.

My suggestion is to first read our free 13-part Bookkeeping Explanation and take our Bookkeeping Practice Quiz. Next, you can start studying each of the bookkeeping-related topics found on our Bookkeeping training page. All content on this website, including dictionary, thesaurus, literature, geography, and other reference data is for informational purposes only. This information should not be considered complete, up to date, and is not intended to be used in place of a visit, consultation, or advice of a legal, medical, or any other professional. This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, business, or tax advice.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

Book of Life “the roll of those chosen for eternal life” is from mid-14c. Latin and Sanskrit also have words for “writing” that are based on tree names (“birch” and “ash,” respectively). And compare French livre “book,” from Latin librum, originally “the inner bark of trees” (see library). Some sophisticated accountancy software packages now have AI within their programs.

Why is it called bookkeeper?

The reason this practice is called “bookkeeping” is because in the past, these tasks were managed using books and ledgers as transactions were recorded in daybooks, cashbooks and diaries and then transferred to a ledger.

Any process of recording financial data is considered bookkeeping and is the first step of data entry into the accounting system. Standard methods of bookkeeping are the double-entry bookkeeping system and the single-entry bookkeeping system. Good bookkeeping practices are essential for a business to succeed, especially when it comes to the tax-paying season. There are some financial tasks that bookkeepers aren’t equipped for; that’s where accountants come in. While bookkeepers record daily transactions, accountants use the information compiled by a bookkeeper to produce financial reports. Bookkeeping is straightforward and transactional, while accounting is more subjective and calls for skilled interpretation—like helping you understand when it’s time to incorporate, or filing your taxes to get the best return possible.

BOOKKEEPING Definition & Legal Meaning

These people record and classify the financial transactions of an entity, such as a company. Examples of financial transactions include the payment of bills, payroll, sales, cash receipts, invoices, travel expense forms/reports, requisitions, etc. Bookkeeping can also be defined by what it is not, which includes any of the more advanced one-time journal entries to account for unusual events, as well as the preparation of more detailed accounting schedules.

A multinational corporation performs hundreds of transactions a second, while a small business might perform less than a hundred in a day. If you opt for bookkeeping software—like Quickbooks—keep in mind the time commitment required to learn how to properly use the program. While these programs are cost effective, you are paying with your time. And at a certain point, your time is better spent building your business than navigating DIY tutorial videos. In colonial America, bookkeepers would record transactions in a “wastebook”—so called because the data would eventually find its way into an official ledger and the original book would go into the trash.

Meaning of bookkeeper in English

While these may be viewed as “real” bookkeeping, any process for recording financial transactions is a bookkeeping process. Primary bookkeeping skills include knowledge of double-entry bookkeeping principles, the ability to record financial transactions, the reconciliation of accounts, and the preparation of financial statements. It also includes analysis of financial data, maintenance of financial records, preparation of tax returns, ability to use bookkeeping software, and excellent organizational skills.

meaning of bookkeeper

However, businesses all over the world utilize the double-entry system. Also book-keeper, “person who keeps accounts, one whose occupation is to make a formal balanced record of pecuniary transactions what is a bookkeeper in account-books,” 1550s, from book (n.) + keeper. Another is bookkeeping, attested from 1680s in the sense of “the work of keeping account books;” book-keep (v.) is a back-formation from 1886.

Bookkeeping Definition & Overview

As part of the billing process, the bookkeeper also remits sales taxes to the government. The bookkeeper records supplier invoices in the accounting system, obtains approvals for them, and pays suppliers in accordance with the payment terms stated on each invoice. Bookkeeping involves the recordation of basic business transactions in a recordkeeping system. In essence, the term implies that an individual is tasked with the most common ongoing accounting transactions; more complex transactions are reserved for those with more advanced accounting training. They also summarize the data when presenting it to lay people, i.e., those who are not accountants. Bookkeeping summarizes data to help organizations prepare their financial statements.

  • They can call upon the local certified public accountant for answers to the more difficult questions that may arise.
  • Etymology refers to the origin of words and how their meanings evolved over time.
  • A bookkeeper is responsible for recording transactions into the system, which is part of the wider and more general practice of accounting.
  • Instead, bookkeepers can become quite proficient with hands-on training and a modest amount of accounting knowledge.

AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, i.e., software technology that makes smart machines like computers or robots think and behave like human beings. The term first appeared in the English language in the 1550s, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. Etymology refers to the origin of words and how their meanings evolved over time.

Words Near Bookkeeper in the Dictionary

It also provides information to make general strategic decisions and a benchmark for its revenue and income goals. In short, once a business is up and running, spending extra time and money on maintaining proper records is critical. That said, bookkeeping is more than just dropping numbers into a spreadsheet—it takes meticulous analysis and just enough legal know-how.

The person in an organisation who is employed to perform bookkeeping functions is usually called the bookkeeper (or book-keeper). Thereafter, an accountant can create financial reports from the information recorded by the bookkeeper. The bookkeeper brings the books to the trial balance stage, from which an accountant may prepare financial reports for the organisation, such as the income statement and balance sheet. Transactions include purchases, sales, receipts and payments by an individual person or an organization/corporation. There are several standard methods of bookkeeping, including the single-entry and double-entry bookkeeping systems.

Simply put, business entities rely on accurate and reliable bookkeeping for both internal and external users. Depending on the stage of your small business, you may not need to hire a full-time professional bookkeeper. You can either get some bookkeeping software and learn how to do it yourself, or you can outsource your bookkeeping to a part-time, virtual bookkeeping service like Bench. Some people, usually those not involved in bookkeeping or accountancy, use the terms accountant and bookkeeper interchangeably.

  • Next, you can start studying each of the bookkeeping-related topics found on our Bookkeeping training page.
  • Today’s bookkeeper must be comfortable with accounting software such as QuickBooks and electronic worksheets.
  • Bookkeepers offer a literal look at where you stand financially at the moment.
  • She would record Tuesday’s sales of $1,430.75 as receipts for the given date.
  • Owing to their critical contribution to accounting, bookkeepers are integral to any modern business organization.