A common image of bookkeepers is a person sitting in a back room, with a desk covered in paper, pouring over financials and bills that are due. We wanted to investigate this since at Expex, we love bookkeepers and strive to make their lives easier and more streamlined, so we googled, “What is a bookkeeper and what do they do?”
Merriam Webster defines bookkeeper as
‘a person who records the accounts or transactions of a business’
Really? We think it’s more than that. Let’s take a fun look at bookkeeping and bookkeepers and see what we can find about this group of people and accounting practices.
- The Oxford Dictionary tells us the word bookkeeper “isn’t the only word of this kind, but it’s the only one in which removing the hyphen and merging the two words is a practical option. If you took the hyphens out of words like hoof-footed or sweet-toothed, for example, you’d be left with the off-putting and fairly unrecognizable forms hooffooted and sweettoothed”
- Wikipedia gives some insight into the history of bookkeeping as well. The term “waste book” was used in colonial America referring to bookkeeping. The purpose was to document daily transactions including receipts and expenditures. This was recorded in chronological order, and the purpose was for temporary use only. The daily transactions would then be recorded in a daybook or account ledger in order to balance the accounts. The name “waste book” comes from the fact that once the waste book’s data were transferred to the actual journal, the waste book could be discarded.
- There are pages and pages, sites upon sites for bookkeepers and about bookkeepers. Just Google it. You will be amazed.
Bookkeepers exist all over the world and go by many names. According to Collins Dictionary, Bookkeeper in other languages is:
- Brazilian Portuguese: escriturário
- Chinese: 簿记员
- French: comptable
- German: Buchhalter
- Italian: contabile
- Japanese: 簿記係
- Korean: 회계장부담당자
- Spanish: contable
At Expex, we built our app to help bookkeepers and provide them with tools to make their lives easier and the job they provide to millions of small to medium sized businesses across the U.S. If you are a bookkeeper or accounting firm that provides bookkeeping services, ask us how we can help provide Better Bookkeeping. Improved Cash Flow. Healthier Business.