Bookkeeping: Expectations vs. Reality

For centuries, bookkeepers have played an essential role in maintaining the financial health of businesses across many different industries.

However, the job has changed significantly over time, and there are lots of misconceptions about what bookkeeping actually involves in the 21st century.

Let’s take a look at some commonly believed myths about bookkeeping and see how they stack up.

1) Myth: Bookkeeping mainly involves data entry. 

Reality: While it’s true that bookkeepers are responsible for carefully organising and reporting on a business’s financial transactions, bookkeeping can be a complex and varied role. Bookkeepers make sure that businesses have all the information they need to make good financial decisions. Standard bookkeeping responsibilities include recording purchases, receipts and payments; reporting for GST and looking after payroll processing. Now that we have accounting software such as Xero to streamline these processes, modern bookkeeping can also involve finding ways to improve business systems, ensuring business compliance, and providing key information about business performance.

2) Myth: Businesses don’t need bookkeepers if they use accounting software like Xero.  

Reality: Technology in the accounting sector is constantly changing and evolving, but accounting tools like Xero don’t replace the need for bookkeepers. Businesses need employees with the training and expertise required to input and check financial data and ensure that accounting systems are working as they should. Bookkeepers understand the logic behind these tools and play a key role in making sure that everything runs smoothly.

3) Myth: Businesses employ bookkeepers to help prepare tax returns. 

Reality: We already know that bookkeepers usually perform a wide range of tasks, and it’s true that this can include helping businesses keep financial records for taxation purposes.  Bookkeepers in New Zealand can also register with Inland Revenue to become bookkeeper agents or tax agents. However, bookkeepers work year-round to keep up-to-date financial records for a wide variety of purposes.

4) Myth: Bookkeepers are stuck in an office all day. 

Reality: Not necessarily! Now that we have cloud-based accounting software like Xero, some bookkeepers choose work remotely, allowing them to create their own schedule and travel as they work. Others may work on-site, whether that’s in an accounting firm, a film studio, a medical practice, or a fashion designer’s head office.

5) Myth: It’s better to become an accountant. 

Reality: Yes, bookkeeping can be a great steppingstone for those working towards becoming an accountant. However, bookkeeping is an important and well-respected profession in its own right.

Businesses rely on bookkeepers to provide the financial intelligence they need to keep growing.

Are you interested in a career in bookkeeping?  

If you like the sound of bookkeeping, but need the confidence and expertise to take the next step, the New Zealand Certificate in Business (Accounting Support Services) (Level 4) will give you a sound understanding of crucial business accounting functions. Contact us at [email protected] and make it happen at eCampus NZ!

Important information for new learners

eCampus NZ as a business unit of Open Polytechnic, is now part of Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.

From 1 January 2023, eCampus NZ will no longer enrol new learners into study plans delivered on the eCampus NZ learning platform.

However, all courses/programmes will still be available for online study through Open Polytechnic - Te Pūkenga.

The eCampus NZ team is here for you. If you are still experiencing ongoing issues related to Cyclone Gabrielle, please contact your advisor or facilitator so we can work with you to get you back on track.