By William Cowie
How Much Is a Bookkeeping Course?
Less than you might expect…or more? Read on!
Bookkeeping, as you probably know, is a subset of accounting. It is best understood in the context of business: it IS the recording of financial transactions. These transactions can include purchases, sales, receipts and other payments made by individuals or organisations. If you’re mathematically inclined with an attention to detail, bookkeeping can be an excellent profession that never seems to lose relevance to the business world.
Non-accredited bookkeeping courses
If you don’t need formal bookkeeping qualifications you don’t need to spend that much. You’ll probably be able to get most, if not all, the skills you need with some research and dedication of time to learn, practice and apply bookkeeping skills. There are a number of websites available that offer a great breadth and depth of bookkeeping information to the public at no cost.
There are also short bookkeeping courses available, online and in classroom based environments, that take you through the bookkeeping basics in the space of a couple of days. These can still be quite cheap, and will probably cost no more than a few hundred dollars.
Accredited bookkeeping courses
Planning a career in bookkeeping? You’ll probably need to formalise your qualifications. For beginners, the Certificate III in Accounts Administration with a focus on bookkeeping can be a good starting point. It runs between 6 and 12 months in most cases and will probably set you back around $800-2000, depending on where you study.
Or, you can jump ahead straight to the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping! There are no formal entry requirements but it is recommended you complete the Certificate III in Accounts Administration or already have experience as a bookkeeper.
This is a more advanced bookkeeping qualification and it meets the educational requirements to complete Business Activity Statements (BAS) for businesses. The course normally runs for 12 months, depending on the institution you study at. Your Cert IV Bookkeeping course will likely set you back $1000-3000, dependent on where and how you study the program. Online is frequently cheaper than face-to-face delivery of the course.
The Certificate IV in Bookkeeping is about the highest level dedicated bookkeeping qualification in Australia. If you want to do further training in bookkeeping, it involves taking on accounting courses. You can study accounting courses that will further your bookkeeping skills, such as the Diploma of Accounting or university degrees in accounting and related disciplines. University fees can set you back $10,000+ per year depending on your course. Practical skills learnt in the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping coupled with industry experience and the theoretical knowledge learnt in an accounting degree can make a killer combination though!
How should you study your bookkeeping course?
How you study is often a matter of personal preference. Online study of bookkeeping definitely has a number of advantages over traditional classroom based learning. You can learn at your own pace, have a more flexible schedule, course materials are always available to you, and you save a lot of time, effort and money you’d spend commuting to and from university of TAFE to attend classes. Online bookkeeping course do require you to have self discipline and manage your time – though you need this with any kind of study!
What level of study should you do?
If you’re only planning to do your own finances or run a very small business, learning some bookkeeping basics on your own or with a non-accredited course will likely give you all the skills you need.
If you’re planning on making a career as a bookkeeping professional, it’s worth considering doing at least the Certificate IV in Bookkeeping. The ability to do BAS statements is a huge boon for you and/or your employer. Even if you’re running your own business, it can be worth doing a Certificate IV in Bookkeeping. The knowledge and skills you develop can save you a lot of money that could be lost if you make a mistake in recording or reporting; especially when you’re dealing with taxes.
Of course, going on to university education is always an option if you want to develop your skills beyond the scope of bookkeeping alone – but a Cert IV in Bookkeeping can make for an excellent foundation.
Anecdotally, a discussion with a specialist bookkeeping company revealed that they preferred the Cert IV Bookkeeping as a minimum qualification for job candidates. However! The company also internally tested job candidates to determine their competence; industry experience was also very highly regarded. YMMV.
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