What makes a good bookkeeper?

Bookkeeping is something all businesses have to do. 

Keeping records of all incoming and outgoing transactions, and evidence of payments so that you can file your accounts and/or tax return at the end of the year is essential to your business, it’s not something you can avoid. 

Whether you choose to take on your bookkeeping yourself or hire a bookkeeper, it’s something that just has to be done.

So, what makes a good bookkeeper?

Bookkeepers have so many strengths that you may not have considered. 

Bookkeeping isn’t just data entry like some may assume. A bookkeeper will take the information you are giving them and interpret it in ways that can give your business structure and meaning. 

What skills are required?

Organisational skills

A bookkeeper needs to be organised and efficient. They need to be able to access data at the touch of a button to be responsive to questions and concerns.

Be a numbers person

They need to make sense of all the figures that are thrown at them, interpret them and be able to explain what they mean by using insightful reporting. Surprisingly, they don’t need to be good at maths, though it helps, as numbers are their main focus.

Problem solving

A bookkeeper needs to ensure that accounts are reconciled. 

Bookkeepers’ are often given a backlog of information to decipher and it can be difficult without relevant documentation, what relates to what.


A bookkeeper will deal with your finances. They will know your current financial situation. They should be discreet and sensitive in handling your data. 

Dedication and understanding

Getting to know your business, how you work and all of your processes is essential for a bookkeeper to do their job efficiently. 

By having an understanding of your business structure and the processes behind it means that they can help you to become more efficient. 

For example, you may ask your bookkeeper to do your credit control. They will get to know clients and be able to deal with them on a more personal level to ensure that you are maintaining a high level of service and know how to approach them when it comes to asking for payment. 


Even though it’s not essential for bookkeepers to be qualified or have relevant experience at the beginning, it is vital that your bookkeeper is offered support or training to help them understand how to be a good bookkeeper and learn the ropes.

A bookkeeper who has real world experience means that they know how to react and adapt to particular situations which can’t always easily be taught in theory.


Being able to explain a company’s finances in a way in which the business owner understands is crucial. It’s no good having the data at the ready and not being able to explain what it means. 

A good bookkeeper will need to be a ‘people person.’ They will need to be able to pick up the phone if there’s a question they need answering and develop close relationships to ensure the bookkeeping is as accurate as possible.

Tech Savvy

Staying ahead of the times when it comes to technology plays a big part of a bookkeeper’s role. With technology ever changing and more bookkeepers than ever before playing a virtual role, the software they use is significant. Investing in the right software and addons and learning how best to use the systems, can streamline your bookkeeping making it more effective and cost effective.

If you’re currently using Sage software for your bookkeeping and need a bit of extra guidance, why not join The Sage Lady Academy?


“Any advice relating to accounts or tax should be sought from your tax accountant. Sage Accounts Solutions Limited will not be held responsible for any loss or damage caused as a result of the information contained herein.”

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