It’s Bookkeeping Day- A Day In The Life of an Accountant

By PRETTY BOOKS ON September 3, 2020
DAY IN THE LIFE is a snapshot of the life of an accountant, taken one day at a time. If you ask an accountant what they do, they will probably tell you “it depends on the day.” Because an accountant’s scope of responsibilities is vast and integrated into the decision making and operations of a business, it frequently shifts depending on the time of month, day of the year, and the needs of their clients. While you can’t pinpoint a typical day for an accountant, there are some days that pay out similarly throughout the year.

Today is Bookkeeping Day. The means the accountants are recording massive amounts of transactions from various bank accounts and credit cards for their clients. Accountants are assigning each transaction to a different category (such as equipment purchasing, payroll, office expenses, taxes, etc.) to record where money comes from and where it’s going. Using a combination of tools, importing, and manual inputting lets them map the movement of money within a business so business owners can make informed decisions for their future.

7:00 AM: Wake up excited because bookkeeping days are pretty easy. There is a little bit of a challenge, but it’s not deep or analytical. It’s like a 100 piece puzzle. It’s not too hard, but its not a kid’s puzzle, either.

9:00 AM: Arrive at the office and grab a coffee.

9:15 AM: Check my emails for anything pressing. Forward a few things, read a newsletter. Nothing interesting.

9:30 AM: Pull up my first client’s bank feed and vendor list on one monitor and Quickbooks on the other. I always start with the easiest bookkeeping clients as a warm up. I’ve been doing my first couple of clients’ bookkeeping for months. I already created rules in Quickbooks to automatically categorize certain reoccurring transactions to the right place. The rest of the transactions are coded based on common sense and knowledge I’ve gathered from the previous several months of doing their bookkeeping.

10:00 AM: Crack my knuckles, feeling satisfied already. The first couple are less like a puzzle and more like those games for babies where you match a shaped block to its corresponding hole and push it through to the middle. Next client, please.

10:31 AM: Match the star-shaped client to the star shaped hole and push it on through.

11:03 AM: Square-shaped client slides into the square hole.

11:35 AM: The circle glides through the circular hole.

12:06 PM: Finally time for a harder puzzle, my favorite! My next client is new to us. They switched from another accountant and their Quickbooks already has three pages of rules set up to code transactions. Since every accountant has a different approach to rules, I usually have to change quite a few existing rules to make sense with the way I take care of accounting. I wonder how many of these rules I’ll have to change.

12:06:34 PM: The client’s first rule has to do with where to send the 401K transaction. It should be categorized to the 401K account on the balance sheet. The client’s last accountant coded it to payroll. Let’s delete this rule and create a new rule that categorizes it to the right place.

12:06:53 PM: Let’s see what the next rule looks like. My guess is that I’ll have to recategorize this one, too. It codes the purchase of a $2,000 laptop to the same category as monthly subscriptions. Delete and recategorize.

12:07:17 PM: Third rule and counting. I have a feeling that I’ll have to delete this one and recategorize it as well. Yep. It’s like they’re coding a square block to a circular hole. It just will not fit.

12:09 PM: Get bored of the guessing game and delete the remaining rules. It’s better to start with a clean slate.

12:10 PM: Starts coding transactions based on common sense. Is it payroll? Code it to payroll. Is it technology? Code it to technology. Pretty easy stuff. Create rules as I go. Rent? That will be the same every month until they move. Create a rule to code it to the right category.

12:20 PM: What’s this? A vendor I don’t recognize on the bank feed. I look through the vendor list, but can’t find a match. Maybe Google knows… Nope. Maybe Google would help if I type in “bank feed+vendor name+Quickbooks?”

12:21 PM: Find a list of common misspellings on Quickbooks. Yep, this one is on there. It’s a 401K company that is apparently always misspelled. I go through the vendor center to doublecheck, and sure enough, the client made a payment to them on the same date and for the same amount that is on the bank feed. Problem solved. Another piece is added to the puzzle.

12:30 PM: Start on the next client without really hitting any issues. A few common sense transactions here, a little vendor list searching there. Keep going with the next client, then the next, then the next.

2:10 PM: Wait, a check? Who pays with a check anymore? Let’s see… the check is from someone named Vera. Who are you, Vera, and why did you pay us? I look at the transaction on the bank feed for some more information but find nothing. There’s no “Vera” in our vendor feed. Who are you, Vera? I sit for a few seconds and try to remember if our client mentioned a Vera, then realize I have no idea. I code the transaction to “uncategorized.” At the end of the month I’ll send the “uncategorized” list to the client so they can tell me what each transaction was for. Vera’s check joins a list of Target trips and other transactions waiting to be coded.

2:25 PM: Start on another client, and another client after that. Solved some puzzles here and there; they don’t have many uncategorized transactions.

3:15 PM: Wow, this company buys a lot of office supplies. Code to operating costs.

3:45 PM: Oh, Quickbooks. Dear, sweet, Quickbooks. Why is it that whenever my client pays for a Google Ad you code it to software as a subscription? No matter what rule I set, you just can’t differentiate between SAAS and Google ads. Code this ad transaction to the correct place. Delete rule. Think about another way to write the rule next time.

4:30 PM: Finished the last client’s bookkeeping! What a fun day. I solved some small problems, got to play detective and search the internet for answers, and finished the puzzle. I complete some last-minute tasks.

5:30 PM: Head home feeling accomplished. I finished the puzzle completely (except for the puzzle pieces that the client will help me with at the end of the month). It’s sunny out, and I have no follow up questions or concerns. Bookkeeping days are the best.

Share this article

The information provided in this post is for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Consult your financial, business, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in this post. Pretty Books assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon this information.
Sign up for our newsletter.