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Career and Education Opportunities for Bookkeepers in Portland, Maine

Bookkeeper career and educational opportunities abound in Portland, Maine. Currently, 8,120 people work as bookkeepers in Maine. This is expected to grow by 6% to about 8,620 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for bookkeepers, which sees this job pool growing by about 10.3% over the next eight years. In general, bookkeepers compute, classify, and record numerical data to keep financial records complete.

Bookkeepers earn approximately $14 per hour or $31,020 yearly on average in Maine. Nationally they average about $15 hourly or $32,510 per year. Earnings for bookkeepers are better than earnings in the general category of Billing and Bookkeeping in Maine and better than general Billing and Bookkeeping category earnings nationally.

There are twenty-three schools of higher education in the Portland area, including one within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can get a degree to start your career as a bookkeeper. The most common level of education for bookkeepers is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a bookkeeper if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Bookkeeper

Bookkeeper video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, bookkeepers compute, classify, and record numerical data to keep financial records complete. They also perform any combination of routine calculating, posting, and verifying duties to obtain primary financial data for use in maintaining accounting records.

Bookkeepers operate 10-key calculators and copy machines to perform calculations and produce documents. They also perform general office duties such as filing and handling routine correspondence. Equally important, bookkeepers have to check figures and documents for correct entry and proper codes. They are often called upon to operate computers programmed with accounting software to record and analyze data. Finally, bookkeepers comply with federal and company policies, procedures, and regulations.

Every day, bookkeepers are expected to be able to listen to and understand others in meetings. They need to read and understand documents and reports.

It is important for bookkeepers to classify and summarize numerical and financial data to compile and keep financial archives, using journals and ledgers or computers. They are often called upon to access computerized financial data to respond to general questions as well as those pertaining to specific accounts. They also debit and total accounts on computer spreadsheets and databases, using specialized accounting software. They are sometimes expected to reconcile or note and report discrepancies found in archives. Somewhat less frequently, bookkeepers are also expected to reconcile archives of bank transactions.

Bookkeepers sometimes are asked to compile budget data and documents, on the basis of estimated revenues and expenses and previous budgets. and receive and bank cash, checks, and vouchers. And finally, they sometimes have to calculate and ready checks for utilities and other payments.

Like many other jobs, bookkeepers must have exceptional integrity and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Portland include:

  • Accounts Receivable Specialist. Locate and notify customers of delinquent accounts by mail, telephone, or personal visit to solicit payment. Duties include receiving payment and posting amount to customer's account; preparing statements to credit department if customer fails to respond; initiating repossession proceedings or service disconnection; keeping records of collection and status of accounts.
  • Bank Teller. Receive and pay out money. Keep records of money and negotiable instruments involved in a financial institution's various transactions.
  • Broker Assistant. Perform clerical duties involving the purchase or sale of securities. Duties include writing orders for stock purchases and sales, computing transfer taxes, verifying stock transactions, accepting and delivering securities, tracking stock price fluctuations, computing equity, and keeping records of daily transactions and holdings.
  • Clerk. Compile data, compute fees and charges, and prepare invoices for billing purposes. Duties include computing costs and calculating rates for goods, services, and shipment of goods; posting data; and keeping other relevant records. May involve use of computer or typewriter, calculator, and adding and bookkeeping machines.
  • Gaming Cashier. Conduct financial transactions for patrons in gaming establishments. May reconcile daily summaries of transactions to balance books. Accept patron's credit application and verify credit references to provide check-cashing authorization or to establish house credit accounts. May sell gambling chips, tokens, or tickets to patrons, or to other workers for resale to patrons. May convert gaming chips, tokens, or tickets to currency upon patron's request. May use a cash register or computer to record transaction.
  • Loan Inspector. Interview loan applicants to elicit information; investigate applicants' backgrounds and verify references; prepare loan request papers; and forward findings, reports, and documents to appraisal department. Review loan papers to ensure completeness, and complete transactions between loan establishment, borrowers, and sellers upon approval of loan.
  • Payroll Machine Operator. Operate machines that automatically perform mathematical processes, such as addition, subtraction, and division, to calculate and record billing, accounting, and other numerical data. Duties include operating special billing machines to prepare statements, bills, and invoices, and operating bookkeeping machines to copy and post data, make computations, and compile records of transactions.
  • Secretary. Perform routine clerical and administrative functions such as drafting correspondence, scheduling appointments, organizing and maintaining paper and electronic files, or providing information to callers.
  • Statement Clerk. Prepare and distribute bank statements to customers, answer inquiries, and reconcile discrepancies in records and accounts.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Bookkeeper Training

Central Maine Community College - Auburn, ME

Central Maine Community College, 1250 Turner Street, Auburn, ME 04210-6498. Central Maine Community College is a small college located in Auburn, Maine. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,426 students. Central Maine Community College has an associate's degree program in Accounting Technology/Technician and Bookkeeping which graduated nineteen students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Patient Account Technician: The Certified Patient Account Manager exam is every bit as challenging for patient account managers as the CPA and Bar exams are for their respective fields.

For more information, see the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management website.

Certified Clinic Account Technician: AAHAM developed the Certified Clinic Account Technician (CCAT) examination to test the proficiency of individuals involved in the collection of patient accounts and to prepare them for the many changes to come.

For more information, see the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine
Portland, Maine photo by Pauk

Portland is situated in Cumberland County, Maine. It has a population of over 62,561, which has shrunk by 2.6% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 102, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $164,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, twenty-three new homes were built in Portland, down from thirty-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average commute to work is about 19 minutes. More than 36.4% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 13.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 6.3%, which is less than Maine's average of 7.6%. About 14.1% of Portland's residents are below the poverty line, which is worse than the state average.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.4%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Mariners Church, Swedenborgian Church and Stroudwater Christian Church are among the churches located in Portland. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Portland is home to the Cumberland Wharf and the Browns Wharf as well as Longfellow Square and Hadlock Field. Shopping centers in the area include Mill Creek Shopping Center, Monument Square Shopping Center and Portland East Shopping Center. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Fairfield Inn Portland Airport and Ramada Limited Portland for temporary stays in the area.