How To Get A Bookkeeper’s License

Although licensing is not required for a bookkeeper, programs that supply licensing or certification enhance a bookkeeper’s marketability in the workplace. A bookkeeper’s role in business is to handle the company’s financial records including deposits, billing and payroll. A corporate job in a larger company may include specialization, where certification or licensing is a valuable asset for a bookkeeper. The National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers offers licensing and certification, and the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers offers certification only.

Obtain an application form for the Certified Public Bookkeeper license online at the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers website. Complete the form and submit it to the NACPB. The fee for applying is $100.

Take the Certified Public Bookkeeper exam. You must pass this exam, which was developed by the NACPB. It is maintained by the organization and administered to bookkeepers who wish to receive certification and become licensed. This exam is recognized throughout the United States. Applicants must have one year or 2,000 hours of bookkeeping experience to pass.

Complete the Certified Public Bookkeeper Application for Licensure. Agree to the NACPB Code of Professional Conduct, and submit the application. Once this is complete, you are qualified to use the initials “CPB” after your name, as well as the CPB logo on letterhead, websites and promotional materials to build your professional reputation.

Maintain your license by obtaining 24 hours of CPB credit each year. Renew your license annually after obtaining the required Continuing Professional Education — or CPE — credits. Courses in bookkeeping, payroll or QuickBooks count toward this credit and may be taken with any organization offering CPE credits. College courses also count toward this requirement, and 50 minutes of classroom time qualifies as 1 hour of CPE credit. Annual license renewal fees are $25 for NACPB members and $50 for non-members. Licenses expire on December 31 each year, unless it was obtained in the fourth quarter. Licenses obtained then are good until December 31 of the following year.


Although you can be a bookkeeper with only a high school diploma, most companies prefer one or two years’ college and several years’ experience in the workplace. A certificate in bookkeeping may be obtained with one year of college, or a two-year degree such as an associate of applied science in accounting.

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