Andrew Klimishyn | January 30, 2018 at 16:43
Home > Blog > What is an Average Pay for a Bookkeeper?

Bookkeeper job implies performing a wide range of tasks. They are usually hired by small to mid-sized companies. The annual salary for a bookkeeper may vary by working experience, location, company size and other factors.

Bookkeeper’s Duties

The main duty of every bookkeeper is to keep a record of company transactions and accounts. Bookkeeper job is to archive all data beginning with costs and finishing with income, payroll, loss, etc. If the company hires both bookkeeper and accountant, they divide the duties depending on their nature. While bookkeeper job implies more technical tasks such as managing payroll, performing payments to the workers, paying bills, making purchases, the accountant is dealing with more complicated tasks such as calculating taxes, producing forms, checking the accuracy of financial statements, etc.

Depending on the company size, specific responsibilities may include:

  • recording company transactions;
  • producing and checking financial statements;
  • managing bank reconciliations;
  • creating annually report, month-end closing;
  • calculating taxes;
  • conducting an internal audit;
  • processing payroll. Paperwork of every company is impossible without calculating payroll. As this task is ensured to the bookkeeper, he needs to maintain good relationships with workers in order to discuss changes in salary, bonuses and benefits, etc;
  • making purchases. It means that you are obliged to pay the bills. The expenses incurred by the business may include electricity, internet, office supplies, phone bills and other.

What Is the Hourly Pay Rate for Bookkeepers?

A half of professionals in the USA working in this position are paid $20 an hour which is a median hourly pay. The lowest hourly pay bookkeepers are expected to make is $15 while the highest pay per hour is estimated $24. These figures are provided with taking into account that they show starting compensation on one hand and hourly rate for professionals with 20+ years of working experience.


How much does a bookkeeper make annually?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about half of all bookkeepers in the USA earn approximately $35 thous. a year or more. On the website, you might see a pay scale of their annual salaries as of January 2018. The median annual salary is $41 thous., with a range between $36-$46 thous. The lowest salary for the entry level specialist is $31 thous. while the highest expected wage may reach up to $51 thous.

This chart is depicting a variation of “standard” salaries through the full charge bookkeepers earn a little more due to the duties they are performing. As of 2018, full charge workers can expect to earn $39 to $52 thous. per year. Those who conduct additional tasks like processing payroll, calculating taxes and preparing financial statements earn between $43 and $60 thous. And this is without taking into account bonuses and benefits.

Only 20-25% of bookkeepers can boast a maximal annual salary. It can be estimated at $46 thous. without bonuses. This salary can be earned by specialists that feature a bunch of highest indicators. They are 20 and more years of working experience, 100+ direct reports prepared, JD, MD, Ph.D. degree, excellent or superior performance, etc.

Also, wages are higher in the metropolitan areas of the USA. Among the 50 metropolitan areas in the USA, 5 have annual and hourly wages for bookkeepers significantly higher than in the rest states. As of January 2018, these five are the following: California, DC, New York, New Jersey and Maryland. These top paying states better place to work in not only for bookkeepers.  It is also a preferred workplace for such professionals in the field of accounting like auditors, financial analysts, management accountants, etc. While the nationwide average hourly/annual rate is $41,073/$20, you can compare these data with the local figures.


Hourly rate

Annual rate

New York



New Jersey



District of Columbia










There are different levels of accounting jobs. Actually, to perform bookkeeping employees are not obliged to earn bachelor’s or master’s degree. Though the minimal skills would satisfy the needs of only small companies. For those who have just hit the market having no working experience but some ambitions, high school diploma is not enough. In order to become a full-charge professional, you would need to spend at least five years on the position.

Education recommended working in this field must be related either to business or accounting.

Professional Skills Required to Work in the Bookkeeper Position

The skills required for bookkeeper job are the following:

  • strong math skills
  • an excellent knowledge of such programs as MS Excel, QuickBooks or other computer accounting software. Depending on the size of the company, you are asked to work either manually or use specialized programs the most popular of which is QuickBooks. It is developed to enable workers to perform all the possible operations mentioned above. The whole process is totally automatized. You cut down the time needed to do paperwork significantly and work is done accurately
  • communication skills. As clerk job is related to processing payroll, he may need to communicate to other workers the details about salaries, bonuses, and benefits, etc. It is one of the closest persons to the managers and business owners. He helps them to undertake smart decisions. He can evaluate the possible increase or decrease of company’s total revenue, profits, losses, give advice in selling company assets, making investments and show the possible ways of solving problems.  

One more personal feature clerk is obliged to possess is a being trustworthy person. He is dealing with information of a confidential nature, so discretion something that makes him stand out among other employees. Also, a good specialist in this field is always accurate, detail-oriented, and well organized to keep all the records in an appropriate order.

The Factors Influencing Bookkeeper’s Salary

The pay for standard professionals depends on a variety of factors. People with the job title Bookkeeper inhabiting the USA earn in average $40 thousands per year but the pay is lower for specialists who are working on the entry-level positions. One who has gained a basic accounting education has a variety of ways to increase his salary.

Like in every profession, working experience influences the pay to some extent though in bookkeeper job experience doesn’t matter much. When working first 5 to 10 years, salary increases quite slowly. The bigger effect can be seen only after 20 years.

For the reason that working experience doesn’t have any significant effect on the income, some specialists change their job even having 20 years of experience on this position. It also may be explained by difficulties and disadvantages of this job. For example, clerks’ work can be overwhelming as they need to handle large amounts of company data. It is usually stressful as they are responsible for confidential information. Also, they must be highly attentive to the detail. It is interesting that demand for these specialists is expected to decline up to 10% until 2024. This is an approximate prognosis based on the datum provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What are the benefits of gaining a Bookkeeping Certification?

Comparing to general bookkeeper, certified professional salary increases by 5 to 10 percent. As of 2018, certified employees can expect to earn from $40 to $62 thous. With professional certification, professionals may command higher salaries but for this, they need to be licensed by AIPB, American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. Also, if they have a certification from the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) or Quickbooks Certified ProAdvisors, they are paid a higher salary.

What is the Difference between the Bookkeeper and Accountant Salaries?

One can estimate that a bookkeeper's salary is pretty much lower than accountant's salary. If an accountant can on average earn $50 thous. per year, a bookkeeper will make approximately $40K annually. The maximal salaries for these positions reach $50 and $70 thous. respectively. Given the fact that to be a clerk you are not even obliged to finish higher education, this job is expected to consist of keeping books and doing paperwork. Though these duties are time- and effort consuming, bookkeeping is not considered the highest payable work in the accounting area.


Bookkeeper job is one of the most needed in the finance market. It has its advantages such as the possibility to work from home, education is not necessary as well as disadvantages including low pay rate compared to other accounting designations, lack of career growth, etc. The salary depends on the range of factors, for example, years of working experience, level of obtained education, performance, location and other.


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