So you’ve just finished your Certificate IV in Bookkeeping. You’re looking for a job, just got a job, or have started your own bookkeeping business.
Should you join a bookkeeping association?
It’s important to remember that it is not now, nor is it expected to be in the future, a requirement for bookkeepers to be a member of a professional association.
However, there are good reasons for the existence of bookkeeping associations, and they can be an important resource to help you succeed in your career. They offer a range of publications, technical advice, professional development, seminars and associated benefits – networking possibilities, recognition, moral support, lobbying for the industry and increased personal status. Membership can add a degree of gravitas to a job application or be reassuring for customers requesting your services.
There are a number of professional bodies that offer membership in Australia for bookkeepers:
Professional Bookkeeping Associations in Australia
Institute of Certified Bookkeepers
Inspire Education is an accredited training provider for the Institute of Certified Bookkeeping.
About the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers:
The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers is the largest bookkeeping institute in the world. It promotes and maintains the standards of bookkeeping as a profession, through the establishment of a series of relevant qualifications and the award of grades of membership that recognise academic attainment, working experience and competence.
The Institute’s objectives are:
– To promote bookkeeping as a profession
– To enable bookkeeping to gain recognition as an integral part of the financial profession
– To promote training in the principles of bookkeeping
– To improve the career prospects of its members
The ICB works closely with many parts of the bookkeeping industry including training providers, MYOB and Reckon (bookkeeping software developers) and bookkeepers. They release a number of monthly newsletters with information for various industry stakeholders. Membership offers access to a number of practical resources, phone and email support, forums, discounted shopping opportunities, public indemnity insurance specifically for bookkeepers, notification of jobs in your area, posting on their ‘Find a bookkeeper’ list, notification of urgent updates to the industry, professional name badge and email address, representation with the ATO and access to & lobbying of government on behalf of bookkeepers.
There are many levels of membership with varying requirements and costs so check their website to decide which is best for you.
Association of Accounting Technicians
AAT is a not-for-profit organisation open to anyone interested in a career in accounting. They have a focus on maintaining high standards of professional ethics and are accountable to their members.
From the Association of Accounting Technicians website:
The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) Australia is the country’s largest paraprofessional body in the accounting / finance / bookkeeping sector and is the only association that has the support of the three professional bodies in CPA Australia, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and the Institute of Public Accountants.
AAT Australia membership provides a commitment to high standards, professionalism, recognition and status for paraprofessional accounting technicians including self employed bookkeepers; payroll officers; BAS Agents; assistant accountants, accounts payable/receivable officers and other accounting support staff.
They offer several levels of membership depending on your experience and qualifications. For more information, check their Membership Structure & Levels page. Course fees are due at the same time annually and change throughout the year so check for up to date prices.
Australian Bookkeepers Network
The Australian Bookkeepers Network is a for-profit service that considers itself to be a value proposition – their focus is on commercial solutions and value for money resources and support – and they must ensure that they provide their customers with quality services and products that are genuinely needed to succeed in the bookkeeping business.
From the Australian Bookkeepers Network website:
Australian Bookkeepers Network (ABN) helps bookkeepers build bigger and better businesses by providing them with the right support, tools and resources. ABN has served the bookkeeping industry since 2001 and in that time has grown to become Australia’s largest private representative body for self-employed and contract bookkeepers.
ABN is headed by five directors who have the very enjoyable role of driving forward the company at the strategic level and innovating its ever growing range of products and services. The directors have been actively involved in the bookkeeping industry for nearly a decade. Of these five directors, two are Chartered Accountants and two are CPAs. The fifth director, Leanne Lewis, is the operational lifeblood of ABN and the primary contact point for our members.
Membership costs $462 per year and can be paid annually or monthly (at a rate of $38.50 per month).
Do you need a professional bookkeeping association membership?
You are not required to be a member of any of these organisations in order to work as a bookkeeper. Membership offers you extra benefits which may help you succeed or simply make your life a little easier. Which one is best for you? It really depends on your personal needs and preferences. Joining any one organisation shouldn’t preclude you from also be a member of another, so you can potentially gain the benefits of two or more if you chose.
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