Career Information

Personality Traits of Great Bookkeepers

  • organized
  • logical thinking
  • methodical
  • careful
  • orderly
  • patience
  • persistence
  • detail-oriented to avoid making errors and to recognize errors made by others
  • trustworthy and discreet because they frequently come in contact with confidential material
  • good communication skills, because they increasingly work with customers
  • strong aptitude and tolerance for lots of numbers and calculations

Career Paths for Bookkeepers/Accountants

Certified Bookkeeper

  • is to bookkeepers what a CPA is to accountants: the cream of the profession.
  • has at least 3,000 hours’ (two years’) experience, and signed a code of ethics.
  • must earn an average 30 continuing professional education credits a year to maintain certification.
  • has met the highest national standards for bookkeepers in accounting, tax and payroll.
  • has passed a national examination at Sylvan-Prometric test centers and achieved a grade of at least 75% on each of five tests:
    1. Adjusting entries
    2. Error correction, including the bank reconciliation
    3. Depreciation, book and tax, including passenger autos
    4. Payroll
    5. Inventory under the perpetual and periodic systems, including moving and weighted average, LIFO, FIFO and LCM costing.

Full-charge Bookkeeper

  • Maintains and handles all books through the adjusted trial balance.
  • Records assets, leases and expenditures and performs the monthly bank reconciliation.
  • Analyzes and corrects current-period errors in the general ledger.
  • Does the payroll, files federal and state payroll tax returns and computes related deposits.


  • Has at least two years’ bookkeeping experience in general bookkeeping, accounts receivable and payable and the bank reconciliation.
  • Records transactions in the journals and subsidiary journals.
  • Posts entries to the ledger accounts.
  • May or may not do adjusting entries, file federal and state payroll returns and compute related deposits.

Assistant Bookkeeper

  • Has up to one year’s bookkeeping experience.
  • Records basic transactions in the journals and subsidiary journals and posts entries to the ledger accounts with minimum supervision.
  • Totals the subsidiary ledger accounts and, under supervision, reconciles with the control accounts.

Freelance Bookkeeper

  • Is responsible for setting up and maintaining books for small- to mid-size businesses.
  • Maintains all journals and ledger accounts.
  • Records assets, leases and expenditures, and does the monthly bank reconciliation.
  • Maintains the journals, subsidiary journals and ledger accounts.
  • May do the payroll, file the employment tax returns and compute related deposits.

The Freelance Bookkeeper, Bookkeeper and Full-charge Bookkeeper have higher potential for career opportunities if they are Certified Bookkeepers.

Job descriptions and associated tasks are compliments of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeeping (AIPB).

Gainful Employment Information

Federal regulations require academic institutions to disclose to prospective students certain information about the institution’s Gainful Employment (GE) Programs, and about students who enrolled in those programs eligible for Title IV funding that lead to gainful employment in a recognized occupation.  See the list of eligible certificates, but note that it may be out of date of current offerings.

Additional career information can be found on Bellevue College’s Center for Career Connection’s Career Pathways site.

Last Updated March 24, 2022