Why Full Charge Bookkeepers are Outdated


What is full charger bookkeeper

Full Charge Bookkeeper: A Thing of the Past Because of the limited scope (and growth) in knowledge.

The role “full charge bookkeeper” was created decades ago primarily because of an awkward stage of business. The stage where the entrepreneurs have become so busy that they can no longer ignore do their bookkeeping / accounting themselves. Yet, they have not grown big enough to warrant a real accounting department.

As such, individuals who knew a little bit about every aspect of accounting was hired to perform the entire cycle of accounting – record and pay bills, write invoices, collect payments, maybe even do some light reconciliation at month end.

What does a full charger bookkeeper do

Full charge bookkeepers are often individuals who have taken a few classes of accounting in school, have held the AP/AR position for a few years or have semi-retired from an AP/AR position after a long tenure (yes, there are some exceptions but we are talking about in general here.)

Record keeping

They can do the record keeping relatively well but seldom have the insight to make sense of accounting as a whole. Because of their limited scope and knowledge, full charge bookkeepers often require the help of another outside CPA (usually the taxman of the company) to overlook what they are doing on a monthly or quarterly basis.

Report generating

They’d usually do some light review of the bookkeeping performed, record journal entries as needed (to make adjustments, record incidents or fix mistakes,) perform the month-end closing and produce financial reports.

Why full charger bookkeeper is outdated

Technology provides an alternative solution

That was then. Now, thanks to technology and new thinking, companies have options. The position of a full charge bookkeeper can often be replaced by a complete Outsourced Accounting Department – with a carefully tailored team. In a firm environment, accountants are held to a higher standard of knowledge than individuals with their own practice. Continuing education requirement is an easy difference to focus on, most firms provide their employees with training, seminars, and encouragement (sometimes even monetary assistance) for an advanced degree.

A team of well-trained accountant

Also, the team environment fosters knowledge exchange as well as team growth. For technical knowledge, it is common for controllers to educate the senior staffs while the senior staffs educate the junior staffs. For everything else, it is not uncommon for younger staffs to provide surprising insights into a new process, idea, or technology for doing certain tasks. Finally, the variety of different clients that the team works on is probably the biggest known source we have.

What’s stopping you?

Yes, I am talking about you, the entrepreneurs and your company. Because of the fact that each company’s situation is unique in its own way, we learn a lot from all of our clients. These knowledge are often adopted and reused again during a separate but similar incident. In fact, this knowledge sometimes even help prevent issues before it happens. So thank you.

There you have it, full charge bookkeeper is a thing of the past because of the limited scope (and growth) in knowledge.

p.s. I’ve decided to do a series of “A Thing of the Past Because….” where I will address the different areas of advantages between the old way of doing accounting and the new/smarter way of doing accounting. So if you have suggestions, comments or ideas for this series please email [email protected] or reply in the comment area below. Thanks!