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How to Become a Certified Bookkeeper

Wondering how to become a certified bookkeeper in Australia? Read about working as a bookkeeper and the qualifications needed to become one.

How to Become a Certified Bookkeeper in Australia

In Australia the statutory recognised team for a Certified Bookkeeper is actually a registered BAS Agent.

Want to become a bookkeeper but unsure of the qualifications needed to become one? Wonder how to become a certified bookkeeper in Australia and provide bookkeeping services to clients? Becoming a bookkeeper is a relatively straightforward process, and the qualification needed to be a bookkeeper (FNS40217 – Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping can be completed in 6 months (Full time study).

How do you become a certified bookkeeper if you’re working full time or part time? Depending on whether you plan on undertaking this Cert IV course at a TAFE or a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), part time, online and accelerated learning options are also available. VET Student Loans are no longer available for the accredited bookkeeping courses Cert IV and below, though you may be eligible for Austudy or a Pensioner Education Supplement.

Please note that this course doesn’t qualify you as a BAS Agent. To become a Registered BAS Agent, you’ll need to engage in Continued Professional Education (CPE) in bookkeeping (1400 hours of relevant experience) and undertake a formal application process through the TPB. The Australian Bookkeepers Network has a special service called ABN BAS that can assist new bookkeepers gain their hours of relevant experience by acting as their supervising agents. This professional development for bookkeepers can be reduced to 1000 hours for Australian Bookkeepers Association (ABA) members. As an ABN member you will receive complementary membership with ABA.

What does a bookkeeper do?

Bookkeepers are responsible for a variety of essential tasks that help business to operate profitably and compliantly. Depending on the client, these tasks can include maintaining and ensuring the accuracy of financial records, collating data, updating statements, monitoring transactions, setting up accounting software or add-ons and producing financial reports. Additional responsibilities may include payroll, invoicing, purchasing and lodging Business Activity Statements (BAS), which requires BAS Registration with the Tax Board.

What skills does a bookkeeper need?

Many of the people who work as a freelance bookkeeper or operate a bookkeeping business gravitate towards the profession because they enjoy working with numbers and taking a methodical approach to their work. An analytical mind and strong problem-solving skills are a must, as are solid computer skills and the ability to adapt to new software applications and online platforms. After all, the days of ‘keeping books’ are long gone and most of the work performed by bookkeepers is computer-based, so you’ll need to be comfortable working with spreadsheets and databases. The bookkeeping software that you’ll be required to use when providing bookkeeping services for small business and other clients includes but is not limited to:

  • MYOB
  • Xero
  • Reckon
  • QuickBooks
  • Sage
  • And many more

Along with these major accounting and bookkeeping applications, you’ll also use spreadsheet apps, ATO portals and other various software platforms on a daily basis.


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