- Posted by Liesa Malik
- On August 4, 2016
As organizations struggle to keep up with an ever-changing financial climate and the constant advances in technology, many bookkeepers are now expected to take on additional duties that were traditionally part of an accountant’s role.
Which do you Need, Bookkeeper or Accountant?
Both accountants and bookkeepers are essential to every organization, and must work closely together in order to keep their organizations’ finances in good order. The main difference between the two is a bookkeeper is responsible for consistently recording financial transactions for revenue and expenditures, while an accountant is responsible for interpreting, analyzing, and reporting on financial data.
Keeping up-to-date with the latest changes in bookkeeping, record keeping, filing and tax rules can be a daunting task. And Bookkeepers are not immune to the effect of rapidly changing technologies. The good news is, there are many resources available for today’s bookkeeping professionals.
What are the best ways to increase your nonprofit bookkeeper’s skill set?
1. Continuing Education
Bookkeepers can update their skills by pursuing online education courses. Access to online resources, many of which are free, has revolutionized the way people improve their workplace skills. Online resources offer bookkeepers the opportunity to update and refresh skills at their own pace and in their own environment.
Online continuing education is available through professional bookkeepers’ organizations, the Small Business Administration, online universities, and more.
2. Professional Associations
Whether joining a bookkeeping-specific group, special-focus industry organization, local association, or a chapter of a national association, bookkeepers can gain access to a wealth of useful information.
Some of the benefits these memberships offer are:
- access to exclusive resources
- free or discounted publications
- discounted access to conferences and seminars
- potential to make valuable professional contacts
Some industry specific associations for bookkeepers include National Bookkeepers Association (NBA), National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB), American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB), and the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB).
3. Social Media Communities
Social media offers bookkeeping pros the opportunity to increase networking potential and work with others regardless of distance or location. Social networking sites allow users to find, connect, and network with communities of like-minded people. They also offer the opportunity to expand industry specific-knowledge by connecting to a larger pool of new information and experiences.
Industry specific communities can be found on social sites such as BookKeeperlink.com, as well as larger communities with bookkeeping oriented groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Meetup, Data.com or Networking for Professionals.
4. Blogs and Podcasts
Blogs and podcasts provide access to information which further supports a bookkeeper’s growth, and offers a wealth of shared experiences from industry professionals. The constant flow of new information and shared experiences is a great way for a bookkeeper to keep up-to-date at no cost to them or your organization.
Bookkeeping specific podcasts can be found on Accounting Tools listing ‘The Accounting Best Practices Podcast – Index’, Bookkeeping Radio Shows and Podcasts, and Podfeed.net directory of tagged Bookkeeping Podcasts.
5. Skills Testing
Frequent skills testing helps gage a bookkeeper’s knowledge and identify gaps and opportunities for growth. Free online bookkeeping skills tests are readily available from sites such as Bookkeepingexam.com and The American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers ‘How good are your Skills’, Bookkeeping Skills Testing, and Nonprofit Bookkeeping Test.
Ensure You Have the Right Tools for the Job
In order for your bookkeeper to be able to perform to the highest ability, it’s vital to have the right tools for the job. In the case of a bookkeeper, this usually means access to the best fitting software for your organization. This can be a challenge for non-profits, as many accounting packages are not tailored to meet the complex financial requirements of a publicly-funded organization.
Tangicloud can help. Tangicloud is a fund accounting solution specifically designed for non-profits and governments. It uses cloud technology, offering a variety of benefits, including increased security, greater storage capacity, and mobile access. This mobile access allows your bookkeeper to work anywhere, and any time on almost any mobile device.
Your bookkeeper is already an essential part of your organization. You can increase your bookkeeper’s value even more by equipping him or her with the right skills and knowledge, and the right tools to facilitate their very important job.