What is bookkeeping and how can I learn it?
May 20, 2008 3:55 PM   Subscribe

What is bookkeeping as it relates to office/secretarial work, and how can I learn more about it?

In job listings for secretaries and other office staff, one listed skill requirement is that of bookkeeping. What exactly does this entail in an office environment, and how can I learn more about it? I'd really prefer online sources but if you know of a great book on the topic, that'd be great too.

posted by DMan to Work & Money (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's accounting. It means keeping track of money spent and money received.
posted by Class Goat at 4:01 PM on May 20, 2008

Here's a quick overview from the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Bookkeepers have a professional organization,the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers - there are some good articles about the field on their site.
posted by zepheria at 4:08 PM on May 20, 2008

posted by jeffamaphone at 4:16 PM on May 20, 2008

In the US, familiarity with Quickbooks is both standard and helpful. The basic Quickbooks certification classes are common and not too expensive, and I think they would help you resume-wise when applying for positions that require light bookkeeping.
posted by robinpME at 5:51 PM on May 20, 2008

In a nutshell, whether you do it via computer or by hand in a ledger book, what you'll have to do is:

Post payables (list incoming invoices that need to be paid on a monthly ledger sheet)
Post receivables (list invoices that your company sends out)
Keep track of all checks the company issues
Post any payments received against your receivables
Reconcile the bank statement (check the bank statement for any outstanding checks, make sure the checks they've cashed are for the same amount they were written for, etc.)
Make a list of accruables (that is, payables you've received in one month that are dated another month)

At the end of each month, your company's accountant will need a report that shows the list of payables, receivables and accruals, along with a total for each. He'll also want to review your check register and bank reconciliation. You'll have to provide a report for non-payables-related checks written (that is, regular monthly payments like rent, insurance, office supplies, etc) with a breakdown by category.

Quickbooks is handy, but it may be better to learn the basics manually at first and then get Quickbooks and let the computer handle it.
posted by Oriole Adams at 7:33 PM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

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