How Much Does A Bookkeeper Make In The US? - A Full Breakdown


Suppose you're open to getting into bookkeeping as a career. In that case, you can develop your working with numbers, attention to detail, time management, organizational skills, and data entry, which might be skills you already have.

If that's the case, you might wonder what the average salary is, typically $43,400 and $22,100 at its lowest and $66,800 at its highest. While the hourly rate can determine this figure, this can depend on the experience, location, and size of the business.

To find out what this means for factors like career progression and the industry's current state, read on to find out more. 

Also read: How To Calculate Contribution Margin

Table Of Contents

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What is The Earning Potential?

Even though the highest salary is $66,800, this is an average for the industry, so that senior roles can rise beyond this amount. For a head bookkeeper, the range can reach up to $73,500 a year, while a senior bookkeeper can reach up to $61,500 per year.

You also have a full-charge bookkeeper, booking clerk, accounts payable bookkeeper, and junior bookkeepers who earn below the figures above and usually don't fall below $20,000. 

This will depend on the size of the business and whether or not they have an accountant that offers this service and may save the business money rather than outsourcing the work to a 3rd party service provider or using an automated service that your bookkeeper uses.

Also read: How to Save Money on Utilities 

How Does This Stack Up With The Average US Salary? 

In 2021, the average US salary was $51,480, which applies to full-time or salaried employees, so entry-level jobs in this industry fall significantly behind. If you compare this across all the different states, it tells a more varied picture.

In all 50 states, the yearly salary of a bookkeeper ranges from $25,286.40 to $41,913.60, so this disparity might be due to a particular business needing these services more, and the lower end may be advertised to those with less experience.

A full charge bookkeeper, who is someone who is solely responsible for accounting, can earn between $33,888 and up to $49,389, and even though this position has more oversight than a general bookkeeper, the salaries fall behind the average by $2,091.

Also read: What is Unearned Revenue? 

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Will Certification Improve My Salary?

The main reason to go for a certification or a degree program is to stand out over other potential candidates. You can complete other programs that develop your skills in sub-topics such as lean accounting, accounting concepts, and types of entry.

Depending on where you look for this certification, you can find costs up to $3,000. If you want to get this through the American institute of professional bookkeepers, you can pay a fee of $479 for non-members to access resources and the certification exam.

According to its own website, 81% of certified bookkeepers said that when looking for a new role, the certification was necessary when they obtained job interviews. Many other respondents also noted that the accreditation got a promotion or gained more responsibilities as a result. 

With this certification, you might find it easier as a freelance bookkeeper as you may be able to gain new clients, which can be a good stepping stone if you are looking to do your role for a larger business or organization.

Also read: PPP Loan Forgiveness for Sole Proprietors


The Issues Of Bookkeeping 

While these prospects sound reasonable, there needs to be more clarity regarding how likely you are to land a job at an entry-level position, as the certification alone might be enough. Still, if you want to go for bookkeeping, that is full charge, you might find there is some competition.

However, This doesn't mean there is a lack of bookkeeping roles, as the US bureau of labor statistics project that around 170,200 openings are made for this role, but it does account for auditing and accounting, so for bookkeeping, this might be a bit less. 

You might also consider that automation has transformed this industry as employers can look to those who are efficient in services like QuickBooks to keep costs down. These can be scaled up as the customer base rises, so optimizations are in place.

Also read: Does Paying Off Credit Cards Help Your Credit Score?

If Going Self-Employed 

This might be beneficial to those who want to work directly with business owners and are able to set their own timetables. An issue of this is when you have to negotiate payment as you might under or overvalue your service.

For this, you'll have to consider your costs for things like marketing, stationery, the upkeep of your website, QuickBooks software, insurance, and continued education, as you are a business yourself and have to manage your own outgoings as well.

However, this does give you more flexibility as you can work for multiple clients that range in size, and you can tailor your costs, so you can accommodate larger workloads and get a balance that suits you. 


The Value Of Continued Development 

Even though you may have experience with using automotive software, getting to grips with it means you have a better range of knowledge and can carry on with courses or resources that mean you can stay at the forefront of your field.

For example, a client or employer may ask you to go beyond your job title and look at different kinds of entries, inventory, purchases, and using other forms of software that might go beyond your current level of knowledge. 

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Closing Thoughts 

With this new knowledge, there aren't any barriers to your progression, and can work up to a higher salary the more experienced you are. 

The only limit is how much you can afford on the certification and the time available to you, as well as your location so it pays to be as flexible as you can, even if this means you have to look in another state.  

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How Much Does A Bookkeeper Make In The US? - A Full Breakdown
James Wilson

After graduating from McCombs School of Business in Texas, James joined ThePayStubs as a CPA to make sure the numbers we provide our clients are correct. Read More

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