How To Get a Bookkeeper’s Certification in 5 Steps

The best bookkeeping service for you is the one that fits your budget, allows you to be as involved as you want to be, and meets your expectations for communication. To compare Bench vs Merritt Bookkeeping, consider your business needs. Bench provides a broader variety of services besides bookkeeping, while Merritt Bookkeeping offers a flat rate for basic bookkeeping services―no matter the size of your business.

To earn either certification, bookkeepers must successfully pass a four-part multiple-choice exam, verify their bookkeeping education and experience, and agree to follow a professional code of conduct. These requirements are the same for all U.S. professionals, regardless of state residency.

How to become a Certified Bookkeeping Professional

Benefits of earning a bookkeeper certification

Consider the following benefits of earning your bookkeeper certification:

Increases your earning potential

Creates opportunities for advancement

Similar to increasing your earning potential, earning a bookkeepers certification can support your career advancement. Your certification demonstrates that you have the skills and expertise necessary to perform effectively in your profession. Your credentials also showcase your knowledge and experience in bookkeeping and accounting, resulting in advancement opportunities into accounting, finance and management positions with higher-level responsibilities. These types of advancement opportunities can help you build new skills, apply your unique capabilities and support your professional development.

Demonstrates a high level of proficiency

Earning your professional bookkeeping certification also shows your level of expertise and knowledge in the field of accounting. Many bookkeepers must possess a broad range of skills in basic bookkeeping functions (like reporting sales and purchases). Through experience, bookkeepers may often learn and apply accounting principles, too. However, earning a professional certification can help you deepen your knowledge of important accounting processes and methods that are necessary in business operations, showing employers your level of proficiency.

Provides development opportunities

When you prepare for your certification, youre likely to have opportunities to take additional classes to learn and apply new skills. Keeping your bookkeepers certification can give you more opportunities for Professional Development through continuing education coursework, professional development programs and training workshops. For example, bookkeepers who hold professional certifications must often complete continuing education to renew their credentials. The coursework they complete during their continuing education can support their skill development and keep them updated on current topics in accounting and finance.

What is a bookkeeper certification?

A bookkeeper certification is a credential that bookkeeping and finance professionals can earn to showcase their skills and expertise. While most employers may not require bookkeepers to have professional certifications, obtaining your professional license as a bookkeeper can help you advance in your career. Many bookkeepers who complete professional certification may choose to pursue higher-level roles in accounting and finance, where they can increase their earning potential.

The National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB), the National Bookkeepers Association (NAB) and the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) are several institutes that offer the Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB) credential. Additionally, you may have to meet specific eligibility requirements before taking your exam, depending on the institution you earn your certification through. However, several common requirements for certification can include:

How to get a bookkeeper’s certification

The following steps provide additional insight into how to get your professional bookkeeper certification:

1. Choose which certification exam to take

Its important to research the various institutions that offer accredited training and certification programs for bookkeepers. Consider the type of coursework you need for exams that different institutes offer. For instance, some institutions may provide a short training class that prepares you for the exam, while other institutions may require you to take several classes to ensure your knowledge of accounting and bookkeeping. Depending on your needs, consider each institution before pursuing your certification to make sure it fits your career goals.

2. Meet the education requirements

Depending on the institution you choose, you may need to meet certain education requirements to take the exam. For instance, some institutions may require you to hold an associates or bachelors degree in accounting or another financial field. Similarly, some institutions may have education requirements but offer certification coursework or classes that help prepare you for professional certification. Because educational requirements can vary between certifying institutions, its important to understand what you need to meet the exam requirements.

3. Meet work experience requirements

All bookkeepers must have a minimum number of years working as a bookkeeper. Some certification exams require bookkeepers to have a minimum of two years in the field, and others may require three, four or five years in the profession. Depending on the certification path you choose, you must build your work experience to meet the eligibility requirements for your exam.

4. Take and pass the Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB) exam

Once you meet your eligibility requirements, you can take your exam. The topics your certification exam covers depends on the institution youre earning it through, however, most CPB exams cover generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), accounting methods, financial forecasting, budget analysis, accounting legislation and other important finance topics. After you pass your CPB exam, youre eligible to apply for your professional bookkeepers certification.

5. Apply for your bookkeeper certification

Depending on the institution you obtain certification from, you may need to pay an application fee when you apply for your CPB credential. Additionally, bookkeepers must complete 24 hours of continuing education each year to keep their licenses current. Once you obtain your license, you can add the credential to your job title, signifying your advanced level of proficiency in the industry.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.


What qualifications do you need to be a bookkeeper?

You’ll need:
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail.
  • the ability to work well with others.
  • administration skills.
  • customer service skills.
  • the ability to use your initiative.
  • to be flexible and open to change.
  • maths knowledge.
  • excellent verbal communication skills.

Which bookkeeper certification is best?

However, if you’re just starting out in bookkeeping, or if you’re trying to set yourself apart from other bookkeepers, the various bookkeeping or technology certifications may be very worth your while as they might enable you to charge more, market your services more effectively, and, in fact, do a better job given …

Is a bookkeeping certificate worth it?

The bookkeeping certification exam should be considered very difficult. While it’s certainly not as difficult as the certified public accountant (CPA) exam, candidates should be sure to prepare as much as possible.

How hard is the Certified Bookkeeper exam?

The bookkeeping certification exam should be considered very difficult. While it’s certainly not as difficult as the certified public accountant (CPA) exam, candidates should be sure to prepare as much as possible.

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