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Raising the status of bookkeepers

It’s hard to believe there’s never been a formal qualification or standard for New Zealand bookkeepers. While this provides employment for well intentioned individuals to set up from the kitchen table, there’s no benchmark for consumers when choosing a practitioner or redress if it all turns sour.

So it’s great to learn that the newly formed New Zealand Bookkeepers Association Incorporated (NZBAI) has developed a certification process for bookkeepers. By sitting the online NZBAI Certification Test – covering topics such as accounts structure and terminology, business expenses, GST, payroll and best practice – bookkeepers become full NZBAI members. This in turn allows them to use the official NZBAI logo on their website or collateral.

It’s initiatives like this that prompted Xero to become the founding sponsor of NZBAI. “We’re proud get behind the NZBAI as it establishes itself,” says Xero’s NZ Country Manger, Leanne Graham. “We believe in creating a profession.”

New Zealand’s tax body Inland Revenue also supports the NZBAI in setting up the certification test.

“Inland Revenue works with many intermediaries, such as the NZBAI, and offers support to professional associations whose members positively assist businesses with their tax compliance” – Inland Revenue

Bookkeepers must achieve 80% in the certification test to pass and there’s the opportunity to re-sit and get some help through NZBAI with any aspects they are unsure of.

As well as the new certification, NZBAI has scheduled events throughout the year in the main centres for bookkeepers to help upskill and update their knowledge. Topics covered include end of year and GST reconciliation, marketing your business, IR updates and changes, legal and compliance and insurance.

If you’re a bookkeeper and would like to sit the test or find out more about this new qualification, you can contact the NZBAI here.


Read more about Bookkeepers, New Zealand



Gavin Knight
18 July 2011 #

I’m not sure about “there’s never been a formal qualification or standard for New Zealand bookkeepers” … ICANZ have had “Accounting Technicians” for a long time (since 1990s I think) and I think it covers a similar field, although I’m not sure how many have qualified.

While I am a Chartered Accountant (by qualification, my work is IT Consulting) I’m not exactly enamoured with ICANZ (costs me way too much to keep my membership each year, but it took too long to qualify just to give it away!) … but let’s be fair and recognise their role in this area too.

Heather McDonald
19 July 2011 #

I am an AT and pay an arm and half a leg to NZICA each year… but ATs are not “allowed” (under NZICA’s rules) to offer accounting services to the public. Try asking them what accounting services means and whether it includes bookkeeping, and let me know how far you get!

Melanie Morris
19 July 2011 #

Hi Gavin. NZICA do offer an excellent Accounting Technician Qualification. Generally speaking, Bookkeepers do not work in this space. That said should our NZBAI Members wish to further their formal qualifications, then the AT qualification is good pathway for them.
Melanie Morris – President NZBAI

angela knight
19 July 2011 #

to all those who do not want to be ICANZ members, but do have accounting qualifications and skills, try the tax agents institure of New Zealand

Accountants For Contractors
7 September 2011 #

Great article. i like it…..

Gayle Buchanan
3 November 2011 #

Melanie, thank you for all the ground work that I am sure many a book keeper in New Zealand will benefit from. This is just the boost we all needed.

Melanie Morris
1 February 2012 #

Gayle, thank you for this, we are gaining excellent traction and appreciate the support we have from our Members.

angela knight
5 February 2012 #

Gayle….most people in business do not actually need a member ICANZ….a SME accountant (such as me) also a member of TINZ (tax agent institute) and qualified chartered accountant in the UK – unwilling to sit more exams to convert to ICANZ! your organisation sounds awesome!

Sylvie Eymin
7 November 2014 #

I am French and in our country, we have a diploma that recognize us as bookkeeper, when you study your university entry with speciality Accounting,and get your equivalent of NCAE Level 3/university entrance you are recognize as a bookkeeper and can work as such…

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