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NOC Code: NOC Code: 1231 Occupation: Bookkeepers
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Bookkeepers maintain complete sets of books, keep records of accounts, verify the procedures used for recording financial transactions, and provide personal bookkeeping services. They are employed throughout the private and public sectors, or they may be self-employed. Bookkeepers maintain complete sets of books, keep records of accounts, verify the procedures used for recording financial transactions, and provide personal bookkeeping services. They are employed throughout the private and public sectors, or they may be self-employed.

  • Click on any of the Essential Skills to view sample workplace tasks for this occupation.
  • Skill levels are assigned to tasks: Level 1 tasks are the least complex and level 4 or 5 tasks (depending upon the specific skill) are the most complex. Skill levels are associated with workplace tasks and not the workers performing these tasks.
  • Scroll down the page to get information on career planning, education and training, and employment and volunteer opportunities.

Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Text Reading Text 1 2 3
Writing Writing 1 2 3
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3
Computer Use Computer Use 1 2 3 4
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3 4
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3


  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.


Reading Text
  • Read handwritten notes from supervisors, co-workers and clients, and comments on forms such as invoices and receipts. (1)
  • Read brochures, information releases and newsletters to learn about computer software and stay abreast of upcoming changes and upgrades to programs. (2)
  • Read short email from supervisors and clients. Read responses to questions, details of meeting schedules and requests for clarifications of payroll, utility bill and government remittance amounts. (2)
  • Read the Income Tax Act, the Privacy Act, provincial labour codes and other legislation to verify rules and regulations. Integrate information from a number of acts to provide advice to clients. For example, review the Income Tax Act to ensure that certain types of expense claims are valid and will be approved by the Canada Revenue Agency. Review the province's labour code to determine who is entitled to paid statutory holidays. (3)
  • Read instruction manuals and help files when using computer software. For example, read accounting software manuals and help files to review specific functions and steps needed to modify account descriptions and produce custom financial statements. (3)
  • Read bulletins outlining procedure changes from the Canada Revenue Agency, provincial ministries of revenue, Industry Canada and other federal and provincial authorities. For example, read about new procedures for the completion of tax and payroll remittance forms and the submission of payments. Read these bulletins for information which will affect your practice. (3)
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Writing
  • Write comments on forms and notes for record keeping. For example, write short descriptions of financial transactions being recorded in general ledgers. Write notes in accounting files to draw attention to missing documents that are needed to complete government forms and financial statements. (1)
  • Write minutes of meetings. For example, write the minutes for finance committee and annual shareholder meetings. (2)
  • Write email to managers and clients. For example, write short messages to schedule appointments, respond to enquiries and request clarifications of receipt and invoice amounts. (2)
  • Prepare procedures and guidelines to assist co-workers, subcontractors and clients using financial software. Describe the steps software users have to follow when using particular functions. Refer to generally accepted accounting principles and specific taxation rules and regulations. Be explicit and precise to reduce ambiguity and the possibility of misinterpretation. (3)
  • Write letters to the Canada Revenue Agency, provincial ministries of revenue and other federal and provincial authorities on behalf of employers and clients. For example, bookkeepers may write to the Canada Revenue Agency to justify expense claim requests and request corrections of monthly instalments that were applied to the wrong periods. They may also write letters to tax auditors about business tax returns. (3)
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Document Use
  • Scan labels on floppy disks, files and office products for a variety of data. For example, scan labels on file folders to locate dates and account numbers. (1)
  • Locate data in a variety of lists, tables and schedules. For example, scan lists to locate account numbers and ensure the accuracy of posted journal entries. Locate employee names and hours worked on timesheet. Locate source deductions in complex tax remittance tables. (2)
  • Complete forms such as general ledgers, tax and source deductions, remittances, workers' compensation, pension contribution reports, records of employment, annual financial reports and income tax returns. In some cases, combine data from several sources to complete such forms. For example, enter dates, dollar amounts, account numbers and other data in manual and computerized general ledgers. (3)
  • Locate data in completed forms. For example, scan receipts to identify claimable business expenditures. Search different sections of the receipts to locate the names of product vendors and service providers, before and after tax amounts, federal and provincial sales taxes, and other data. (3)
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Computer Use
  • Enter and retrieve sales and costs data from databases using programs such as Access. Display and print existing database reports. (2)
  • Use programs such as Internet Explorer to access the Canada Revenue Agency website and download tax forms. Pay invoices through on-line banking services. Perform keyword searches to get information about financial software products. (2)
  • Use word processing. For example, write, edit and format text for letters, minutes of meeting and procedures using programs such as Word. (2)
  • Create and maintain distribution lists, receive and send email and attachments to clients, co-workers and colleagues. (3)
  • Use a program such as Excel to create new accounting and financial spreadsheets and modify the structure of existing ones. Use the program to organize corporate account balances by department and fiscal period. Use the programs to calculate tax remittances, workers' pay and payroll deductions such as vacation pay, employment insurance and pension plan contributions. (3)
  • Use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software. For example, use programs like QuickBooks, MYOB, ACCPAC, Acomba and Simply Accounting to record financial transactions and prepare pay cheques, invoices and monthly financial statements, including balance sheets and income and expense statements. Install these programs and train co-workers, employees, subcontractors and clients to use them. Use programs such as Tax Wiz and Taxprep to assist in the preparation of personal and corporate tax returns, and Amortiz to calculate interests on car loan payments for income tax purposes. Bookkeepers working for the retail industry may also use programs like Business Vision to integrate accounting processes with point-of-sale software systems. (4)
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Oral Communication
  • Interact with suppliers to enquire about products, verify prices, lodge complaints and ask for refunds. For example, call suppliers to verify invoice amounts when sales taxes seem to have been miscalculated. (1)
  • Interact with co-workers and subcontractors to provide directions, coordinate bookkeeping tasks and help resolve difficulties in balancing financial statements. Assign new tasks, review completed tasks and enquire about the status of ongoing work. (2)
  • Discuss the interpretation of tax laws and generally accepted accounting principles with accountants and other bookkeepers. For example, a bookkeeper may talk to an accountant to verify how to treat an expense item. (2)
  • Interact with supervisors and clients to collect receipts and invoices for record keeping, clarify financial transactions made and coordinate the preparation of cheques for payrolls, utilities and tax remittances. Discuss expenditures and overdue accounts receivable. (2)
  • Talk to representatives from the Canada Revenue Agency, provincial ministries of revenue and other federal and provincial authorities to sort out the details of remittance payments and claims. (2)
  • Present financial reports to shareholders. For example, present overviews of monthly financial statements, including balance sheets, income and expense statements, and statements of cash flows. Recommend areas for improvement such as cost-cutting and investment banking. Answer complex questions and handle audiences with varying degrees of financial expertise. (3)
  • Train co-workers, employees, subcontractors and clients to use financial software. Teach the steps trainees have to follow when using particular software functions. Explain applicable methods, demonstrate tasks, facilitate discussions and question trainees to ascertain their understanding of procedures. Establish trust and encourage trainees' active involvement in the learning process. (3)
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Money Math
  • Calculate and verify invoice and receipt amounts. Calculate amounts for goods and services, determine discounts and surcharges, and add federal and provincial sales taxes. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Compare transactions listed on bank statements to journal entries to identify errors and produce monthly reconciliations. (2)
  • Record amounts payable and receivable against various accounts in general ledgers. For each financial transaction, debit and credit several accounts. (2)
  • Calculate fiscal year-end dollar values given inventory amounts and quantities. Create capital cost allowance schedules to calculate the new values of depreciated capital equipment. (3)
  • Calculate amounts for payroll, utility and tax accounts. For example, to calculate payroll amounts, generally multiply time worked by hourly rates and then deduct federal and provincial income taxes, contributions to pension plans and employment insurance fees. In some cases, use different hourly rates for overtime and holidays. (3)
  • Calculate time intervals and identify dates for a variety of schedules and timetables. For example, schedule payments of utilities and tax remittances in order to avoid late penalties. (3)
  • Prepare and monitor operational budgets for businesses and organizations of all sizes. Frequently change budget line items because of unexpected events. (4)
  • Prepare and verify monthly financial statements including balance sheets, income and expense statements and statements of cash flows. (4)
  • Prepare and verify personal and corporate tax returns. For example, verify gross incomes by adding all sources of revenue. Calculate and subtract a variety of deductions such as registered retirement and pension plan contributions, union dues, day care, financial fees, moving fees and capital gains to obtain net and disposable incomes. Refer to taxation tables to determine net taxes and subtract taxes already paid to obtain amounts due and owed. In some provinces, calculate both federal and provincial income tax returns. (4)
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Data Analysis
  • Analyze data from financial statements to obtain summary measures and compare financial performance across time periods. For example, calculate average sales expenses over several years to design realistic budgets. Compare incomes over quarters to identify seasonal trends and may also calculate several financial ratios to assess the financial performance of corporations. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate times to carry out job tasks using past experience as a guide. For example, estimate the number of hours needed to post entries in general ledgers and prepare tax returns. (1)
  • Estimate cash balances at the ends of upcoming months by analyzing accounts receivable and payable. The rate of receipt of payments is somewhat uncertain and bookkeepers must help corporations maintain sufficient cash flow to meet fixed expenses such as rent and payroll. (2)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Bookkeepers have wide scope to plan and schedule their tasks within timeframes set by employers and clients, Canada Revenue Agency, provincial ministries of revenue and other federal and provincial authorities. Bookkeepers working in accounting and bookkeeping firms experience a significant increase in their volume of work at tax time. At these times, they require above average planning and organizing skills to ensure the timely delivery of tax returns. Missing documents, equipment failures and other unexpected events may force them to reorganize job tasks. (3)
  • Bookkeepers contribute to short and long-term financial planning for public and private sector organizations. They may be responsible for assigning tasks to co-workers and subcontractors. (3)
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Decision Making
  • Select procedures to record financial transactions. Standards established by the Canada Revenue Agency leave room for discretion. For example, decide to classify new offices as capital expenses to be depreciated over a number of years as appropriate. (2)
  • Select accounting software to use for particular applications. Consider factors such as the type and size of business, reporting requirements and your own personal preferences. (2)
  • Decide which bookkeeping tasks to assign to co-workers and subcontractors. Consider individual strengths and weaknesses, work experiences and abilities to meet deadlines. (2)
  • Decide to transfer funds from one account to another to meet payroll and tax remittance obligations. To help make decisions, perform cash flow analyses regularly and closely monitor bank statements. (2)
  • Choose or recommend methods and procedures for handling delinquent accounts. Write off bad debts, use collection agencies or pursue debtors in small claims courts. Consider several factors to make appropriate choices. (3)
  • Decide to terminate relationships with clients who ask for unethical bookkeeping. Assess the potential for legal liability suits. For example, decide to terminate a relationship with clients who cheat workers out of pay and insist on finding loopholes in tax regulations. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • You are unable to access the Canada Revenue Agency website. The situation is further complicated if you need to collect new income tax rates immediately to calculate pay amounts. To avoid undue delays in issuing pay cheques, contact other bookkeepers and accountants to obtain the required rates. (2)
  • Financial records are inaccurate, incomplete or missing. For example, discover that there are missing invoices to match expenditures shown on bank statements. Speak with supervisors and clients to identify purchases made and seek assistance in obtaining copies of missing invoices. (2)
  • Receive complaints from employees who believe they are entitled to more pay. Bookkeepers re-examine timesheets and punch cards and recalculate income and deductions for the employees concerned. If the pay has been miscalculated, adjust it. Otherwise, refer complaints to employers. (3)
  • Encounter discrepancies between bank statements and journal entries when performing bank reconciliations. Undertake thorough verifications of cheques issued, deposits made, and debits and credits shown both in journal entries and on bank statements. If you discover errors generated by bank computers, ask employers and clients to advise bank representatives. If you are unable to locate the errors, ask other accounting professionals for assistance. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Find historical information on the financial performance of the employers' and clients' organizations by consulting shareholders and reviewing past financial statements and income tax returns. (3)
  • Search government bulletins and websites to find information about corporate and personal taxes. For example, search for taxation rates, source deduction tables, equipment depreciation schedules and remittance guidelines. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Assess the accuracy and reasonableness of financial reports generated using accounting software. Compare data to previous reports and use experience to identify potential errors. (2)
  • Evaluate the completeness of procedures and guidelines written to assist co-workers, subcontractors and clients using bookkeeping, billing and accounting software. Ensure that important information has not been omitted and wording is not ambiguous. (3)
  • Evaluate the suitability of bookkeeping methods. Consider a number of complex factors including various taxation laws and rates, generally accepted accounting principles and the scope of business operations. Bookkeepers' reputations suffer if they make errors in judgement. (3)
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