In the seven years since bookkeeper certification was introduced, 10,000 bookkeepers have registered for certification. Another 15,000 have requested information on the certification process. Yet the question remains: can employers find enough certified bookkeepers (CB) to meet their needs?
“The good news for employers,” says Steve Sahlein, Co-President of the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB), “is that between the increased demand for Certified Bookkeepers and the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook predicting that the best jobs will go to Certified Bookkeepers, we expect to see a lot more CBs in the near future.”
Chris Brademas, Human Resources Director at Beach, Fleischman & Co. P.C., southern Arizona’s largest CPA firm, has felt the pinch. “I knew that a CB would fit in with our firm’s emphasis on highly trained professionals,” she says. Unfortunately, a “Certified Bookkeeper highly preferred” job posting, returned no CB applicants. So she turned to nearby Pima County Community College, one of more than 100 colleges and universities nationwide certification preparatory courses, and hired a student on the certification track.
Across the country, in Nashville, Tennessee, Certified Bookkeeper Kelly Ritts, sent out six resumes, interviewed with five companies and received three job offers.
Certification may even mean more to employers than an Associate Degree in accounting, as Brenda Lee Shelt of Kalispell, Montana found out. Without certification, the CPA firm she wanted to work at wouldn’t even interview her. As soon as she became a certified bookkeeper, the same firm not only hired her, they’re paying her 50 percent more than they pay individuals with Associate’s Degrees and have promised to review her performance and contract after three months.
This is not news to employment agencies who have long found Certified Bookkeepers have a tremendous advantage when it comes to competing for jobs.
“Employers will pay more for bookkeepers who have proven their technical knowledge in a national exam,” says Stan Hartman who manages the AIPB’s job placement Web site. “Many bookkeepers may have only on-the-job training.”