11 Qualities You Need to Be a Bookkeeper…and 1 You Don’tDec 18, 2023
In case you missed it, I was recently interviewed by Tara Armstrong on her show, The Lemonade Stand! We talked about a few really interesting and valuable topics, but for today, I want to focus on two particular questions she asked me…
What qualities you need to have in order to become a bookkeeper…and what you DON’T need to become a bookkeeper.
People often think that bookkeeping can't be taught, or that you already need to have the skill.
Bookkeeping can be taught. However, it’s not for everyone.
If you’re unsure whether it’s for you, I’m going to help you answer that right now. People who are well-suited for bookkeeping work most likely have the following qualities…
The Qualities of a Bookkeeper
Good at Managing Their Own Money
If you’re good at managing your own money, you could absolutely become a bookkeeper.
People who are good with their own money always have a finger on the pulse of their finances. They always have a system in place. And if you’re thinking, “Well, everyone does that, right?”…trust me, they don’t.
If you're good at managing your own money, you are in a very small percentage of people. It may come naturally to you, but it doesn’t to others. Most people have chaos around their numbers.
Have an Analytical Mind
Next up, if you're analytical, you could become a bookkeeper no problem.
For example, if you like to figure things out or if you're a great problem solver, you probably have an analytical mind.
People who are well-suited to bookkeeping work will often enjoy predictability.
A lot of people don't like predictability, but if you do, this could be something that you're really good at.
Unafraid of the Unknown
Another quality you need in order to become a bookkeeper: you can’t be afraid to search for answers. If you’re the type of person who will go down into the rabbit hole to find the answer to any question you have, you’ll likely do well with bookkeeping.
If you're the type of person who shuts down completely when you run into something you don’t know, you won’t be well-suited for bookkeeping.
Ethics are going to take you far in any work, but particularly bookkeeping, because there are definitely unethical bookkeepers out there.
Good bookkeepers are committed to ethics. When you’re committed to ensuring that you’re not going to lead your clients into trouble, they're going to value and appreciate that.
Enjoy Working Behind the Scenes
One of my favorite things about bookkeeping is that you get a true peek into the background of businesses. You get to see things no one else does. So if you enjoy getting to sneak a peek into the back end of business, you’re a good candidate to become a bookkeeper!
Curiosity About Business
If you’re curious about the ins and outs of how businesses are run, you’ll probably enjoy bookkeeping work.
Good with Technology
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. When you become a bookkeeper, you’ll have to learn new systems, and you’ll want to be able to get up to speed on them quickly.
(Bonus points if you enjoy learning the ins and outs of new systems!)
Good with Numbers
Next, you need to be good with numbers. (Sorry!)
I've had people reach out and say, “I hate math. Could I still be a good bookkeeper?” And here’s my favorite answer to give: if you hate numbers and want to become a bookkeeper, you have to at least be willing to get over that as part of your identity.
You can’t say you hate numbers and math anymore. That has to be part of your past life, because you can't hate numbers and look at them all day. That's not going to work.
Good with Deadlines
If you're good with deadlines, that’s another mark in your favor if you want to become a bookkeeper.
You want to make sure you’ll be good at managing and creating your own schedule, because, well…you're going to have to. Every month, you're going to have a deadline, and you’ll have to meet it without a boss hovering over your shoulder to provide pressure and accountability.
Social, But Able to Take Steps Back
Last but not least, another trait that will help you if you want to become a bookkeeper is the ability to be social.
However, it helps if you have a good balance between being social while also valuing not having to be “on” all the time.
One of the great things about choosing to become a bookkeeper is that you can sort of go into a cocoon when your client base is steady. You’ll have to do some marketing, but you don’t have to be constantly creating content!
What You DON’T Need to Become a Bookkeeper
One thing you DON’T need in order to become a bookkeeper?
A degree in tax.
I have a master’s in tax. And while that’s certainly not going to hurt if you have or pursue that, but it’s not required.
What you do need is to understand accounting. You have to have an understanding of how tax works on a basic level. And if you don’t have that, you can always join my program BABs (Become A Bookkeeper), where you’ll learn the basics of tax so you can have some competence around it.
That familiarity is important, because you want to be able to know how to talk about tax…while also knowing when to defer them back to their tax preparer, who should not be you.
Want to Know More? Here’s Where To Go…
If you're looking into starting the process to become a bookkeeper, the best place that you can go is to my event, The Six Secrets to a Simple, Scalable Bookkeeping Business.
On top of that, if you have any questions about what you read here, please feel free to DM me on Instagram! I’m always happy to answer questions!
To listen to the full interview between me and Tara Armstrong, head over to The Lemonade Stand on Instagram and scroll down to find our chat!
Check out Tara Armstrong and her show The Lemonade Stand on IG at https://www.instagram.com/taraarmstrongofficial/
Ready to become a bookkeeper? Join BABs now: https://www.katieferro.com/become
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