Bookkeepers

Unit Group 1231

Skill Type: Business, Finance and Administration Occupations

Type of work

Bookkeepers maintain complete sets of books, keep records of accounts, verify the procedures used for recording financial transactions, and provide personal bookkeeping services.

For the full and official description of this occupation according to the National Occupational Classification, visit the NOC site.

Examples of Occupational Titles

  • accounting bookkeeper
  • bookkeeper

Outlook

Job prospects in this occupation are good.

(Update: December 2014)

After plummeting during the early 1990s recession and following years, the number of bookkeepers has increased significantly. The changes correspond, firstly, to the pace at which companies have computerized their accounting operations and, secondly, to the growth in employment in the sectors in which bookkeepers work. Since we expect a level of growth lower than in the past in the main industries in which they work, the number of bookkeepers should increase slightly in the next few years.

Sources of employment

Job opportunities will arise primarily from the need to replace the many bookkeepers who will retire and those who change jobs and obtain promotions. Other opportunities will result from employment increase. Experience as a bookkeeper gives access to administrative positions with a variety of tasks including accounting or financial duties. Furthermore, this experience combined with relevant training makes the candidate eligible for accounting positions (see 1111).

Labour pool

Experience in clerical positions in accounting gives access to these career opportunities. Other employment opportunities will be filled by experienced bookkeepers and accounting clerks who are unemployed and by immigrants who meet this occupation requirements. . According to the 2011 National Household Survey data, the proportion of immigrants in this occupation group (15% compared with 14% for all occupations) shows that the occupation is accessible to newcomers.

The program most directly related to this occupation, which is the DEC in accounting and management technology, train more than 1,000 graduates every year, , although this number decreased more than 30% between 2002-2003 and 2011-2012, according to the results from the provincial government Relance survey. The other programs strongly linked with this occupation, namely the AEC in accounting and management and the DEP in accounting, produced more than 2,550 graduates in 2010-2011.

An indication of growing employer expectations is that graduates with a DEC in accounting and management technology fare better than the average of technical training graduates, while graduates with a DEP in accounting do not fare quite as well as the average of occupational training graduates. Finally, a very high percentage of graduates with a DEC in accounting and management technology, more than 50% on average between 2004 and 2013, choose to continue on to a university education, generally in administration or accounting, despite the good performance of graduates who opt for the labour market. The labour market status of accounting and management AEC graduates is usually fairly similar to that of accounting DEP graduates.

Industries

According to the National Household Survey data, in 2011 bookkeepers worked in all industries, with a certain concentration in accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services (22%), public administration (16%), wholesale and retail trade (13%), manufacturing (7%) and construction (6%).

Trends

The evolution of employment in this occupation depends primarily on the demand for bookkeeping, which varies mainly according to the economic situation and computerization of bookkeeping.

Economic situation

Because accounting services are present in all industries, the main factor influencing job growth in this occupation is certainly the economic situation. When economic activities are on the upswing, demand for accounting services grows. Accounting services should benefit somewhat from the modest growth expected over the forecast period (2014-2018).

Computerization of bookkeeping

The 1980s and early 1990s saw a sharp decline in the number of bookkeepers because of the computerization of bookkeeping, which sped up accounts entry and report production. As a result, computerization not only directly reduced demand for bookkeepers, but also allowed employers to assign some tasks that previously only bookkeepers could perform to less specialized but more versatile administrative employees (such as accounting clerks, data entry clerks, receptionists and administrative clerks). As the major effects of computerization had played themselves out by the mid 1990s, the number of bookkeepers started rising again at about the same pace as employment in the sectors that hire bookkeepers.

-Other trends

Outsourcing of bookkeeping has led to a sharp increase in the number of bookkeepers in accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services (from less than 10% in the early 1990s to about 30% in 2013, according to Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey). However, outsourcing has not really resulted in an increase in employment in this occupation, as the trend was accompanied by an equivalent drop in the number of bookkeepers in industries that sub-contracted their bookkeeping.

In view of these factors, the number of bookkeepers should increase slightly over the next few years.

Employment characteristics

According to census data, women held about 82% of the jobs in this occupation in 2011, a percentage that has been fairly stable since 1991 (84%). The annual employment income ($39,816) shown in the "Statistics" section applies only to the 59% of people in this occupation who worked full time and full-year in 2010. The average employment income for those who did not work full time and full-year in 2010 came to $22,955.

Education and Training

To enter this profession, a Diploma of Collegial Studies (DEC) in in accounting and management technology is usually required. Several years' experience as an accounting clerk or in financial services combined with a vocational diploma in accounting may replace college training.

Important Considerations

The number of bookkeepers should increase slightly over the next few years.

An indication of growing employer expectations is that graduates with a DEC in accounting and management technology fare better than the average of technical training graduates, while graduates with a DEP in accounting do not fare quite as well as the average of occupational training graduates. The labour market status of accounting and management AEC graduates is usually fairly similar to that of accounting DEP graduates.

Statistics 1231 - Bookkeepers

Main Labour Market Indicators

In the following table, indicators such as the growth rate, yearly variation in employment, yearly attrition and total annual requirements are forecasts generated by economists from Service Canada, Quebec region. The data source for employment is Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. The volumes of unemployment insurance beneficiaries come from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)’s administrative data. All of the data are rounded.

  Unit Group 1231 All occupations
Employment, average 2011-2013 15,300 3,990,050
Employment Insurance claimants in 2013 200 80,700
Average Annual Growth Rate 2014-2018 0.5% 0.7%
Annual Employment Variation 2014-2018 70 26,500
Annual Attrition 2014-2018 450 74,300
Total Annual Needs 2014-2018 520 100,800

Employment Distribution

The data from the following employment distribution tables come from Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey (NHS).

  Unit Group 1231 All occupations
Employment by Gender
Males 17.6% 51.9%
Females 82.4% 48.1%
Employment by Age
15 - 24 years 8.4% 13.3%
25 - 44 years 40.5% 42.7%
45 - 64 years 47.2% 41.1%
65 years and over 3.9% 2.8%
Employment by Status
Full-time 79.4% 81.2%
Part-time 20.6% 18.8%
Employment by Annual Income
Full-time, full-year 58.8% 54.8%
Annual Average Income $39,800 $50,300
$0 - $19,999 11.7% 13.3%
$20,000 - $49,999 69.0% 48.0%
$50,000 and over 19.3% 38.8%
Employment by Highest Level of Schooling
Less than high-school 3.4% 12.1%
High-school 18.7% 20.3%
Post-secondary 58.9% 44.2%
Bachelors 19.1% 23.4%
Others Employment Distribution
Self-employment 13.3% 10.7%
Immigration 14.6% 13.7%
Employment by Region
Region Unit Group 1231 All occupations
Abitibi-Témiscamingue 1.8% 1.8%
Bas-Saint-Laurent 2.6% 2.3%
Capitale-Nationale 9.4% 9.4%
Centre-du-Québec 2.5% 2.9%
Chaudière-Appalaches 5.6% 5.5%
Côte-Nord / Nord-du-Québec 1.3% 1.6%
Estrie 3.2% 3.8%
Gaspésie–îles-de-la-Madeleine 0.8% 0.9%
Lanaudière 5.7% 6.1%
Laurentides 7.3% 7.3%
Laval 5.9% 5.2%
Mauricie 2.6% 3.0%
Montérégie 20.7% 19.2%
Montréal 21.0% 22.9%
Outaouais 6.4% 4.9%
Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean 3.2% 3.3%

Main Sectors of Employment

The data of the following table were prepared by economists from Service Canada, Quebec region. The data source is Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey (NHS).

Sector Unit Group 1231
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services 27.2%
- Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping and Payroll Services 21.9%
Public Administration 15.6%
Retail trade 7.5%
Manufacturing 7.2%
Construction 5.9%
Wholesale trade 5.8%