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Looking for a bookkeeper? Make sure he has the following traits and qualifications

by , 23 October 2013
According to Total Jobs, a financial bookkeeper's role is to keep official track of company spending so there's an accurate trail of all the outgoings when it comes to filing accounts. If your company is looking for a bookkeeper, make sure he has the following traits and qualifications.

Hiring a bookkeeper?

Don't cut corners. This person will be responsible for sensitive company information such as:

  1. Balancing accounts
  2. Processing sales invoices, receipts and payment
  3. Completing Vat returns
  4. Checking company bank statements
  5. Repairing cash flow statements
  6. Dealing with financial paperwork and filing

To help you hire the best person for the job, the Practical Accountancy Loose Leaf recommends you use this sample job description for your bookkeeper to clarify who he reports to, the skill set he needs to perform the job and his key responsibilities and work activities.

Use this sample job description if you're hiring a bookkeeper

Department: Finance
Job title: Bookkeeper
Job title this position reports to: Accountant/Management accountant/ Finance manager

Brief description of job purpose: To complete the full bookkeeping function from source documentation to trial balance and record the day-to-day financial transactions of the business. These include purchases, sales, receipts and payments. Responsible for ensuring all transactions are recorded in the correct ledger and computing, classifying and recording numerical data to keep financial records.

Qualifications, experience, competencies

Qualifications: Diploma/Certificate /National Diploma or BCom Accounting

Experience: At least 5 years' working experience within a financial or similar environment.


  • General accounting system knowledge – various accounting systems;
  • Working knowledge of relevant legislation, for example the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA);
  • Advanced knowledge of Excel and proven track record in the use thereof.

Besides from a natural flair with numbers, other skills that your bookkeeper must possess are:


  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships;
  • Time management skills;
  • Ability to plan and organise.


  • Honest;
  • Analytical;
  • Self-starter;
  • Pressure resilient;
  • Deadline driven;
  • Persistent; and
  • Able to handle large volumes of data.

Key responsibilities of this role:

  • Finalise and interpret accounts;
  • Interpret and draft financial statements;
  • Maintain financial records and prepare general ledger accounts;
  • Calculate and record statutory returns;
  • Establish, maintain and use a computerised bookkeeping system.

Main activities of this role:

  • Record general journal entries;
  • Record in special journals;
  • Post to ledgers;
  • Record purchases and accounts payable;
  • Record sales and accounts receivable;
  • Record inventory and receivables;
  • Plan assets and depreciation;
  • Payroll transactions;
  • Adjust and close entries;
  • Control petty cash;
  • Capture cashbooks;
  • Bank reconciliations;
  • Capture statutory returns, for example, PAYE, Vat and SDL;
  • Assist with statement for cash flows; and
  • Assist with budgets.

Remember, a properly drafted job description will encourage suitably qualified people to apply for the job.

So use this job description sample to hire a competent bookkeeper who's not only great with numbers, but also highly organised. You company's books depend on it.

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