A great way to assure clients and employers of your skill as a bookkeeper is to earn and display your credentials via certification. The right credentials lend credibility, not to mention the ability to increase your rate. For freelance bookkeepers, certification distinguishes them as true professionals who have taken the time to prepare for and pass a difficult exam, and arms them with skills that make them an asset to employers.
The Importance of Bookkeeper Credentials
Why Getting Certified Would Increase Your Desirability
If you’ve decided that this career is for you, there are two main organizations that currently offer certification in the United States. Both require some measure of paid experience as a bookkeeper. Both also require extensive preparation and a nominal fee. When considering getting certified, it is helpful to keep in mind your goals. If you have a solid understanding of bookkeeping principles and a few years of experience under your belt, certification may be a wise next step.bookkeeper certification
The National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers offers certification via the Uniform Bookkeeper Certification Exam. The online exam presents 50 multiple choice questions and simulations, and tests skills and knowledge in such things as accounting basics, payroll, and financial statements. Candidates must earn at least an 80% in order to qualify for certification. If necessary, an additional exam may be administered after one week. The fee for this exam is currently $100 for members and $150 for non-members. The fee includes the exam, as well as a certificate and use of the NACP logo upon earning a passing score. In the case of re-examination, fees range from $50 – $75.
The Certified Bookkeeper designation is offered by the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. Potential candidates for this certification must prove at least two years full-time experience as a bookkeeper or the freelance equivalent. Candidates must also pass a four-part national exam, which includes two parts that must be taken at their local testing center. Additionally, all applicants must agree to sign an ethics code. The passing score for the in-center exam is 75% while the passing score for the online component is 70%. The cost for the exam is $25 for members and $60 for non-members. Upon earning a passing score on the exam, the successful candidate receives a certificate and the use of “CB” after their professional title. To maintain certification, an additional twenty hours of continuing professional education must be completed and reported each year. A certification from the AIPB indicates that the certified bookkeeper the ability to handle the books for a company with up to 100 employees. Find out more information here.
It is a worthy exercise to ask yourself what your goals are for your bookkeeping practice. If you plan to start your own freelance practice, or are already self-employed and would like to increase your rate, bookkeeper certification will go a long way towards landing clients and building your business. In this current tough financial climate, small businesses need clean books now more than ever, and the demand for certified professional will continue to grow. Credentials bring higher standards not only to your own practice but to the field of bookkeeping as well.
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