If you are currently employed in an accounting related field, a bookkeeping certification could be just what you’re looking for to propel your career to new heights. Certified Bookkeepers are employed in almost any business or organization of reasonable size that has a need or requirement to track its finances.
Bookkeeping Certification – Why it’s Important
Most entry-level positions will require some bookkeeping classes or related education, but a bookkeeping certification is a logical option for someone wishing to advance in their career as a bookkeeper. The certification process will give the individual that completes the process a distinct skill set and knowledge base that will separate them from others in their field and organization.
When someone tells you they are a certified bookkeeper, it generally means that they have been certified by one of two organizations: the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) or the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB).
Career Outlook for Certified Bookkeepers
The career outlook for Bookkeepers and the comparable job titles of accounting technicians and accounting clerks is bright. Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of 2010 there 1,898,300 bookkeeping professionals working in accounting related fields. The USBLS projects that these jobs will by 14% by 2020, adding more than a quarter of a million new professionals to the field.
The question that all career-minded people should be asking themselves is simple: Am I doing enough to separate myself from my peers? In the field of bookkeeping, acquiring your certification is an essential step in the getting the leg up on the competition.
What Bookkeepers Do
Someone has to take care of the books. When someone goes into business for themselves, no matter what that business may be, chances are they serve as their own accounting department.
But what happens when someone is successful and their business begins to grow and they no longer have the time necessary to devote to the ledger? That’s where the bookkeeper comes in.
Companies and organizations of all shapes and sizes need someone to track the financial transactions of the business. These transactions will include sales and purchases made, incoming receipts and outgoing payments made by individuals or other companies, or any number of day-to-day financial interaction in which the organization engages.
The Differences Between the NACPB and the AIPB
As noted above, there is more than one certification body within the world of bookkeeping. So you may naturally be asking, which certification is right for me. The quick answer is that both organizations are widely respected and a certification from each could serve as a boost to any bookkeeper’s career. The primary difference between the two bodies is the designation one can use in their career.
One advantage those who are certified by the NACPB have is the option of using the title of Certified Public Bookkeeper and place the abbreviation of CPB behind your name in all your communications.
But job title doesn’t tell the whole story. Certification bodies are generally judged by how stringent their certification process is. Prospective employers will be will more often than not well aware of the certification process that job seekers have completed. With that in mind, let’s look a little closer at:
Bookkeeping Certification Requirements
As we already stated there are two primary organizations that are recognized with the business community as legitimate certifiers of bookkeepers. Those Organizations and their certification requirements are detailed below.
The National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers requires that all who they certify:
- Pass the Uniform Certified Public Bookkeeper Examination
- Possess one year (2000 hours) of bookkeeping or accounting experience
- Agree to abide by the NACPB Professional code of conduct
- Obtain 24 hours of CPE (certified professional education) each year
- Complete and submit the CPB application for licensure
To learn more about the NACPB and their requirements, click here.
The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers requires that all who they certify:
- Have two years full-time experience or part-time equivalent. This experience can be gained either before or after the examination process
- Have passed a 4 part National Examination, including two parts given at any of the more than 300 Prometric Test Centers
- Sign the AIPB Code of Ethics
To learn more about the AIPB and their requirements, click here.
Career Paths for Bookkeepers
If you are a bookkeeping professional already considering the certification process, you’ve probably given some thought to your career path and what possibilities may exist in your chosen field. Like most career paths, those in the bookkeeping and accounting related professions are uncharted and filled with possibilities.
As we’ve already mentioned, virtually every company and organization of any size have a need for bookkeeping professionals. As you gain education and experience, an entire world of options that you never considered may present itself and take your life in career in directions you never pondered.
For a more detailed look at some of these possibilities, please visit our Bookkeeping Jobs and Career Page.
Bookkeeper Training Classes
The amount and type of training you must complete in pursuit of your bookkeeping certification may vary based on the organization you choose to certify with. The NACPB allows largely for the possibility of self-study at your own pace while the AIPB has much stricter requirements for training, including the completion of 4 national examinations, two of which must be completed at AIPB dictated Prometric testing centers.
No matter what certification you choose though, it’s impossible to do any harm to yourself or your career with additional training and classes. The completion of additional and ongoing education is essential for sharpening skills and can provide just the edge one needs on the competition hen employers are making decisions on who to hire.
Online Training is Available
So maybe this all sounds great, but between work, and raising a family and just living your life, the idea of commuting to campus and sitting through hours of classes at night just won’t work for you. Thankfully, the world we live in today offers so many advantages through the use of technology. One of those advantages is the advent of distance learning, or quite simply, the ability to take classes in a virtual classroom over the internet from the comfort of your home.
Most of the institutions that offer bookkeeping certification training programs have online options available. To find online classes that fit your busy life and schedule, use the search option at the top of this page.
If you’re already a certified bookkeeper and are considering returning to your studies, an Online Accounting Degree program could be just what you’re looking for to address your busy life and career goals.
Financial Aid is Available
The cost of pursuing any advanced education or training can make the decision to get started a difficult one, and the pursuit of a bookkeeping certification is no exception. The good news is that there are a multitude of federal assistance programs that can help you finance your education.
A great way to start is by filling out the Free Application for Student Aid or FAFSA. You should also contact the financial aid office of the institution you’d like to attend. They may already have a number of financial aid programs in place.
How to Get Started
So whether you’re ready to get your bookkeeping certification, or if you’re just interested in pursuing a career in accounting and would like more information on classes in your area, you can get started by using the search form on this page. Your future is just a click away.