Bookkeeping certification is a straight-forward process that requires applicants to meet three main requirements. In the United States, there are two main organizations that offer bookkeeping certification. The most well known is the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB), but the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) also offers certification (more information about NACPB bookkeeping certification).
The first requirement to become a certified bookkeeper, as outlined by the AIPB, is passing the multiple-choice national certification exam. The 4-part test is administered at over 300 testing centers, and parts 3 and 4 of the exam are open-book. The total cost to complete the exam is $200 ($100 each for parts 1 and 2). Parts 3 and 4 of the certification exam are not proctored but are given via workbook. There is no additional fee for these items.
The second requirement to become a Certified Bookkeeper is to agree to and sign the AIPB Code of Ethics, which outlines the professional responsibilities of the profession.
Finally, within 3 years of passing the bookkeeping certification exam, bookkeepers must also supply evidence that they have worked as a bookkeeper full-time for a minimum of 2 years, or part-time for 3,000 hours.
More Details About the Bookkeeping Certification Test
Part 1 of the bookkeeping certification exam consists of 2 tests, entitled “Accruals, Deferrals and the Adjusted Trial Balance,” and “Correction of Accounting Errors and the Bank Rec.”
Part 2 of the exam covers Payroll and Depreciation — each component is given its own separate test. The workbook exams cover inventory (part 3) and internal controls and fraud prevention (part 4).
If you fail to pass a part of any of the exams, you have to opportunity to retest for that single part. For example, if you were to pass all of the tests except for the Payroll portion (Test 1 in Part 2), you could retake that single test. Each of the components from part 1 and part 2 of the bookkeeping certification exam can be taken again at a cost of $60. Each test has a 1 hour time limit. The fee to retake part 3 or 4 (the workbook portions of the exam) is $25.
Parts 1 and 2 of the bookkeeping certification test require a minimum passing score of 75%. The open-book portions (parts 3 and 4) require a 70% grade to pass.
Once you become certified, you will be responsible for attaining ongoing education in order to maintain your status as a Certified Bookkeeper. The AIPB requires that 60 hours of continuing professional education credits (CPECs) be completed every 3 years. Loss of certification status is the result for failure to comply with these continuing education requirements.
To learn more about the benefits of certification, bookkeeping job opportunities, and other related information, please browse the following information: