Are Bookkeeping Jobs Declining? - What You Need To Know

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You’ve probably heard it said that bookkeepers and accountants are always in high demand.

Businesses will always have accounts to record, and taxes to file, with very few exceptions. And even businesses that don’t earn enough to pay certain taxes still need to occasionally review how well the business is doing. But without perfect detailed records of all the transactions this cannot be achieved.

So, you have to agree that there’s a strong argument there that there will always be a need for bookkeeping and accounting jobs.

However, there have been some striking changes in recent times, thanks to the introduction of new technologies and software that has been developed specifically for freelancers, business managers, and business owners, that can be used to help them track their own business accounts.

So, this raises the question of whether or not a career in bookkeeping is still a sure thing for those who have the mathematical, organizational, and analytical ability, as well as a desire to work in this sort of role.

In this article, we will be discussing whether jobs in bookkeeping are in fact declining, and in turn we will also go on to discuss how easy or difficult it may be to go into a career in bookkeeping.  

And without further ado, let’s get straight into it.

Also read: The Golden Rules Of Accounting 

Table Of Contents

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Demand For Bookkeepers: The Story So Far

Bookkeeping is one of the oldest professions. For many a century, the demand for bookkeeping skills was strong and steadfast.

And when in the 1900s, new technologies were developed for bookkeeping, this was not done with the intention of removing bookkeepers from their role, but rather to assist them in their endeavors, and generally make life easier for them in their job.

But now it seems new technology is making things too easy. The software is intuitive, streamlined, more automated, and easy to learn your way around.

And this in turn means that freelancers and owners of small businesses are starting to feel more confident in taking on their bookkeeping themselves, especially when there are very low overheads and financial transactions in the first place.

And changes in technology also mean a different outlook on the range of jobs out there. For one reason or another, fewer people have been majoring in accounting for their bachelor’s degree

But what are the numbers?

According to the 2021 AICPA Trends report, “Accounting graduates trended downward in the 2019/2020 academic year, with decreases of 2.8% and 8.4% at the bachelor’s and master’s levels, respectively.”

You could speculate that people are less attracted to the profession because of a belief that there’s less demand for the role or that it’s because it is now deemed as less skilled than it once was, because of advances in technology.

Well, there have been organizations that have been looking into the prevalence of bookkeeping jobs, not only currently, but also making projections on models they have developed to provide an estimate of bookkeeping job figures in future years.

And, this leads us nicely onto our next section.  

Also read: Why Stay-At-Home Parents Should Consider A Career In Virtual Bookkeeping 

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Figures On The Prevalence Or Lack Thereof Of Jobs In Bookkeeping

In our research, we found that, on the whole, jobs in bookkeeping are on the decline. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the United States reported that bookkeepers and accounting clerks will experience a 4% decline in employment during the decade ending in 2028.

However, they also reported that there will be a 6% increase in opportunities for accountants and auditors during the same time frame.

As laid out in the introduction, bookkeeping is becoming more automated, but accounting knowledge and skills are still very valuable assets for working life.

Also read: Starting A Virtual Bookkeeping Business

The Nature Of The Bookkeeping Profession Now And In The Future

So, bookkeeping jobs do appear to be declining on the whole. But automation in bookkeeping isn’t killing the profession altogether. And the figures aren’t as dire as you might think.

Yes, bookkeeping is more automated these days, but although the demand for bookkeepers is certainly decreasing, it isn’t decreasing too rapidly.

If you wish to become a bookkeeper, there will still be a market for your knowledge and skills. Sure, you’ll have less opportunity now than you may have done in previous decades, but it is widely considered that a bookkeeping or accounting bachelor’s degree remains a worthy investment.

There are no two ways about it, however, the nature of the role of the bookkeeper is already moving with the times and will continue to do so.

Education and training in the field of bookkeeping and accounting is also already moving with the times. And training in bookkeeping requires the knowledge of and skills developed in using the typical bookkeeping and accounting software used by such professionals.

If you have a good level of ability in math, going into bookkeeping and accounting are far from your only options if you are put off by the thought of such jobs declining. For example, in recent times, there has been an increase in demand for data analytics roles. 

And other skills frequently used by bookkeepers and accountants such as the ability to spot mistakes can come in handy for all sorts of jobs, such as proofreading.

Also read: The 6 Golden Rules Of Personal Finance

Wrap Up

So, in summary, it appears to be the case that jobs in bookkeeping and accounting are slowly but surely declining.

There still is some demand for the role, but it’s not quite as pressing as it once was.

If you would like to become a bookkeeper or accountant, there could still be a role out there somewhere for you. And a bachelor's degree in accounting could still be a very worthy investment for you.

What’s more, there are bookkeeping jobs available for both office-based staff and for those who want to venture out on their own to start their very own bookkeeping business as a virtual bookkeeper.

If you do decide to become a bookkeeper, be sure to keep up with the times, get to grips with the modern technology used in bookkeeping, and keep your skills relevant.

Our pay stub maker could be a useful tool to use alongside your various other softwares that keep your business running efficiently. 
 

Also read: 10 Free Bookkeeping Courses 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, bookkeeping jobs are experiencing a decline due to advancements in technology and automation.

Yes, remote and freelance bookkeeping opportunities exist, particularly for those who have experience with various accounting software programs and can offer value-added services to clients.

Yes, many bookkeepers can transition to other accounting roles by obtaining relevant certifications, such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and gaining experience in those fields.

Bookkeepers can stay relevant by embracing technology, learning new software, acquiring additional skills in data analysis, and focusing on providing value-added services such as financial analysis and advisory roles.

Technology, particularly accounting software and automation tools, has made it easier for businesses to manage their finances, leading to a reduced demand for manual bookkeeping tasks.

It can still be worth pursuing a career in bookkeeping if you are willing to adapt to new technologies and focus on value-added services. The demand for skilled bookkeepers remains, although the job market is becoming more competitive.

Alternative career options include financial analysts, tax professionals, payroll specialists, and accounting software trainers or consultants.

The primary reasons are the increase in automation, advancements in accounting software, and the growing trend of outsourcing bookkeeping tasks to reduce costs.

The outlook for bookkeeping jobs is uncertain, as technology continues to advance, and businesses increasingly rely on automated systems and outsourcing. However, skilled bookkeepers who adapt to new technologies will still be in demand.

Bookkeepers should focus on developing their technology skills, data analysis capabilities, and communication skills to work effectively with clients and adapt to the changing industry.
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Are Bookkeeping Jobs Declining? - What You Need To Know
Samantha Clark

A Warrington College of Business graduate, Samantha handles all client relations with our top-tier partners. Read More

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