Bookkeepers compute, classify, and verify monetary transactions in order to develop and maintain financial records. They keep a systematic record of financial transactions by keeping different sets of accounting books.  They may be responsible for the books of a small company, or part of an accounting department in a larger organisation.

Bookkeepers keep records of the credits owed to the company and the debts of the company. They record debits and credit in cash books, ledgers, subsidiary books and journals, compare current and past balance sheets, summarise details of separate ledgers and prepare reports for supervisors and managers. They may also prepare bank deposits and send cash, cheques, and other forms of payment to the bank. Every month they prepare statements regarding the money owed to the company. In some cases the amounts are adjusted by the addition of interest that has accrued.  The final statement or account is checked by the accountant or auditor and sent through to the client or customer.

When bookkeepers receive cash they write a receipt in duplicate, one for the company and one for the client. A record is kept of the daily balance and this balance is reconciled monthly and then annually. In smaller organisations bookkeepers handle all aspects of financial transactions. This money is regularly banked and bank forms have to be filled in by the bookkeepers.  A record is kept of the daily balance.  The increased use of computers has allowed the use of specialised accounting software on personal computers.

When merchandise is ordered from a factory or wholesaler by a dealer, they do not pay cash.  The dealers receive a summary of the amounts they owe at regular intervals and the bookkeepers arrange for payment of the account.

In department stores, bookkeepers deal with the goods that are bought and sold, while in a legal organisation, they check the securities of the clients and note the interest.  They often work with trust money and post entries into journals.  In some cases bookkeepers complete income tax returns for their employers or clients.

Work settings vary widely. Bookkeepers may have their own offices or may work in offices with many other employees. The actual settings in which they operate will depend on the type, size, location and financial resources of the various employers. Offices are, however, usually convenient and equipped with modern aids such as calculators, bookkeeping machines and computers.  Bookkeepers work normal office hours but they may be required to work overtime when balance sheets are drawn up.

Areas of specialisation and advancement positions include:

  • Credit Controller

  • Debit Controller

  • Stores Controller

  • Head Bookkeeper

  • Office Manager


  • public, provincial and municipal services

  • commerce and industry

  • educational institutions

  • professional and research bodies.

  • wholesale firms

  • retail stores and factories

  • banks and insurance companies

  • health care units

  • local authorities

  • government departments

  • self-employment, in private or part-time practices

Getting Started

  • take part in any work or study programme your school may offer in bookkeeping or accountancy

  • try to obtain part-time or holiday work in the book-keeping or accounts section of a local company


Abm University College, Boland TVET College, Boston City Campus & Business College, Botswana College of Distance and Open Learning, Buffalo City TVET College, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Capricorn TVET College, Central Johannesburg TVET College, Central University of Technology, Centre for Training and Projects Development (CTPD), Coastal KZN TVET College, College of Cape Town , Durban University of Technology , Eastcape Midlands TVET College, Ehlanzeni TVET College, Ekurhuleni East TVET College, Ekurhuleni West TVET College, Esayidi TVET College, False Bay College, Gert Sibande TVET College, Goldfields TVET College, Ingwe TVET College, Institute of Development Management, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Karatina University, KCA University, Kenya Highlands Evangelical University, Kenyatta University, Kepler Kigali, Kibabii University, King Hintsa TVET College, King Sabata TVET College, Kirinyaga University College, Kisii University, Letaba TVET College, Lovedale Public TVET College, Majuba TVET College, Maluti TVET College, Marian University College, Milpark Education, Mnambithi TVET College, Mopani South East TVET College, Motheo TVET College, Mount Kenya University, Muhabura Integrated Polytechnic College, Nelson Mandela University, New Era College, Nkangala TVET College, Northern Cape Urban TVET College, Northlink College, Open University of Tanzania, Orbit TVET College, Port Elizabeth TVET College, Presbyterian University College, Rongo University College, Rosebank College, Scott Christian University, Sedibeng TVET College, Sekhukhune TVET College, South West Gauteng TVET College, St Paul's University, St. Augustine University of Tanzania, Taita Taveta University College, Thekwini TVET College, Tshwane North TVET College, Tshwane South TVET College, Uganda Catholic Management and Training Institute, Uganda Technology and Management University, Umfolozi TVET College, Umgungundlovu TVET College, University of Dar Es Salaam, University of Eldoret, University of Fort Hare, University of Johannesburg, University of Kigali, University of Kisubi, University of Pretoria, University of South Africa, University of Zululand, Varsity College, Vuselela TVET College, Waterberg TVET College, Web-Info-Net Institute of Technology, West Coast TVET College, Western TVET College, YMCA Comprehensive Institute

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