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How Much Can a Bookkeeper Earn?

Bookkeeper SalaryBookkeepers are essential to every business in every industry. Managing and auditing finances are both vital tasks that bookkeepers are expected to oversee in these positions. As such, bookkeepers enjoy a much better than average entry-level wage in most circumstances. However, it is important to note that experience and education can also play a part in determining the salary of bookkeeping professionals.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The average salary for accounts payable bookkeepers and other accounting clerk positions was $34,000 per year in 2010. The lowest 10% of accounting professionals earned less than $22,000 per year, while the highest 10% brought in more than $51,000 per year.

Bookkeepers may be employed on a part-time or full-time basis. In some cases, this means an hourly wage instead of an annual salary for these workers. The average hourly wage for bookkeeping clerks in 2010 was just over $16. The lowest 10% earned just over $10 per hour, while the highest 10% of bookkeeping professionals earned almost $25 per hour.

Generally speaking, the best-paid bookkeeping professionals tend to be accountants, tax professionals and individuals who work in payroll services. Industry specific bookkeeping positions—such as accounting clerks in the natural gas and banking industry—also enjoy a much higher than average pay scale.

If you are considering a bookkeeping job, it may benefit you to focus on a particular industry. After you learn the basics of managing financial statements and other bookkeeping practices you can learn industry-specific concepts that will make you much more competitive as a candidate.


Typically, accounting professionals and bookkeepers earn a higher than average salary in large cities in metropolitan areas. The San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, and Dallas are all examples of areas of the country where bookkeepers enjoy a higher wage.

Ways to Increase Your Potential Salary

If you are a bookkeeping professional or considering a bookkeeper job, there are ways to increase your likely earnings in any given position. For example, a four-year degree in accounting or finance will place you ahead of other candidates due to your education. Also, many bookkeepers will take classes at community colleges in bookkeeping and bookkeeping software.


One excellent way to increase your value in the marketplace is to obtain a certification in bookkeeping. This will require you to pass an exam and gain 150 hours of experience in your field. Although certifications require an investment of time, they will demonstrate to your employer your level of dedication and mastery regarding bookkeeping concepts.

If you are developing a long-term plan for your career, than you may be considering career advancement options in management. Bookkeeping gives you a unique perspective regarding financial workings of your company and this can prepare you for many management opportunities. In some cases employers may expect you to obtain an MBA before allowing you to move into managerial positions. However, vertical movements within the company can grow your salary substantially.

If you’re looking for a stable job with plenty of options for career advancement, then you should consider a bookkeeping job. Organizations will always have a need for accounting clerks and other financial positions.

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