Sandra Beck, Motherhood Incorporated
Do you enjoy working with numbers? Do you have an eye for detail? Bookkeeping may be the work-at-home job for you. An expensive education is not required. Most bookkeepers and accounting clerks need a high school diploma, while some professionals advance their careers through a 2-year associate degree. On-the-job training is common in this field. Flexible telecommuting options make this career especially family friendly, and a great fit for the work-at-home mother.
A strong aptitude for numbers is a must for bookkeepers and accounting clerks. Familiarity with computers, word processing software, and spreadsheets is also required. You must be an organized, detail-oriented person, with an ability to spot and correct errors. A bookkeeper or accounting clerk must also be trustworthy with a strong sense of ethics, as she will frequently work with confidential information. Good communication skills are always beneficial.
You will need a computer equipped with a printer, as well as word processing and spreadsheet software to work as a bookkeeper or accounting clerk out of your home. Basic communication tools, such as a phone line and email address, are also necessary. Fax capabilities are a plus. An online fax service may be a viable option for those who do not wish to invest in a fax machine.
The easiest way to build bookkeeping and accounting skills when you are starting out is to volunteer your time to a nonprofit organization. There are plenty of organizations looking for bookkeeping and accounting assistance. Try searching volunteer.gov for local or virtual opportunities. If you put forth your best effort, a satisfied patron will usually be happy to serve as a reference while you search for a paid position.
The Certified Bookkeeper designation is awarded by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. Candidates must have at least 2 years of bookkeeping experience, follow a code of ethics, and pass a four-part examination. Though certification is not necessary to be successful, it will boost your credibility with potential employers.