Do Bookkeepers Need a Degree?

Posted by: Andre Post Date: 25th September 2015

If you have a knack for numbers, you might have considered going into bookkeeping, and have probably wondered what qualifications you need to achieve your career goals. The good news is that you don’t need to go to uni, so let’s take a look at what you do need in order to become a practising bookkeeper.


While you don’t need a degree, you will need to gain a relevant qualification in order to bring your knowledge up to scratch, and gain the trust of potential customers. This applies whether you’ll be self-employed or working for a company.

Do Bookkeepers Need a Degree?

As a minimum, it’s a good idea to gain the level 2 Bookkeeping Certificate from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT). This internationally recognised qualification will get you to grips with accounting basics, including double-entry bookkeeping, processing invoices and credit notes, balancing cash books, processing ledger transactions, and extracting a trial balance.

If you’re looking to go into a more senior role, or build your reputation among potential customers, you might consider building on what you have already studied and going on to complete the AAT level 2 Certificate in Accounting, or even the full qualification.

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As with the right qualifications, having good work experience helps build credibility with potential customers or employers. Apply for entry level roles with accounting firms or companies in need of bookkeeping assistants to start building industry experience. This might be easier once you’ve gained, or started gaining, a qualification, although many employers support junior accounting staff to gain necessary qualifications.

If you find it difficult to gain paid employment in a relevant role at first, it’s a good idea to contact local businesses for work experience. Employers are often open to this, as it gives them an extra pair of hands without having to add a new member of staff to their payroll. For you, it’s a great opportunity to pick up industry skills from qualified professionals, and to add a relevant role to your CV.

If you’re already studying for a bookkeeping qualification, gaining experience at the same time can help you to develop a fuller, more practical understanding of the information your learning.

If your aim is to become a self-employed bookkeeper, download the recording of our recent webinar on how to start your own bookkeeping business.

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