Professional Bookkeeper training and certification


Many professions use designations and certifications to identify their areas of expertise. In the medical field, there are pediatricians, dermatologists, surgeons, and many more who can claim an area in which they specialize, providing quality service while doing something that they love.

In accounting, the Professional Bookkeeper™ designation represents a person who is proficient in the day-to-day practical application of the accounting process in small to mid-sized businesses. This demonstrates the accountant’s expertise and commitment in this profession while providing quality service for their employer or client. Become a Professional Bookkeeper™ designation click here.


1. The Professional Bookkeeper program. The Professional Bookkeeper program is a comprehensive full charge accounting training, specifically focusing on the small business model. It is a 60 hour online course, self paced, taught by Allen Bostrom, CPA. The instructional approach is one of practical hands on training, as that is how Universal has found our students learn best. First, you watch the video lessons with Allen Bostrom, CPA. You will learn the principles of accounting, beginning with the fundamentals, and quickly building principle upon principle, as you go through the full 8 step process of accounting from beginning to end. Next, read the corresponding lessons. This will reinforce and expand upon the video lesson. The third step is to apply that lesson. You will be putting pencil to paper and completing sets of books for a total of 11 different actual businesses as you go through the lessons. You will be exposed to a wide variety of industries, from service to retail, manufacturing, a contractor, a non profit, a car dealership, etc.

There are four modules of learning; after each of the first three modules, you take a practice exam, to measure your comprehension of what you’ve learned thus far. This is a great resource because as soon as you hit the final enter key on your computer, you receive your grade. Also, if you’ve missed questions, it tells you which ones, and where to look up the answers in your book. You have an academic coach that is a toll free phone call (or email) away to support you each and every time questions arise. Then, once you’ve completed the lessons, done the homework, taken the practice exams, you will be ready to go online and take your final certification exam. With 70% or better, you receive your certificate of completion; with 90% or better, you are certified as a Professional Bookkeeper. This professional designation is recognized throughout the US (and Canada) and is something that you can put on your business cards, as well as the website that we build you. It will tell your clients – and your potential clients – that you are someone that has studied, and shown mastery, of full charge accounting for small business.

The Value of the PB Designation

Today’s universities train individuals in the complexities of audit, tax, and accounting standards for large corporations. Little is mentioned regarding the day-to-day bookkeeping practices for the small business.

In addition, bookkeepers are taking on more duties. In the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the Bureau of Labor declares that the “Demand for full-charge bookkeepers is expected to increase as they are called upon to do much of the work of accountants.”

In response to this demand, and to better prepare bookkeepers for their job requirements, the Universal Accounting Center (UAC) offers a Professional Bookkeeper (PB) Program that trains individuals in full bookkeeper and accounting services. Upon completion, qualified students receive the PB designation, assuring potential employers and clients that these UAC graduates are qualified to take care of the small business owner’s bookkeeping needs.

The Personal Benefits of Becoming a PB

While many want to increase their incomes, either through better jobs or opening their own bookkeeping services, there are many other benefits in attaining the PB designation.

The PB designation will enable you to do the following:

  • Demonstrate that you have proven skills in bookkeeping and accounting
  • Advance your career and potentially increase your compensation
  • Place “PB” after your name, distinguishing you from other bookkeepers
  • Raise your value to your company, employer or clients

How to Become a PB

The Coursework

Becoming a Professional Bookkeeper is essential for those involved in the day-to-day accounting procedures of small to mid-sized businesses. The PB designation is only offered to students of UAC.

The PB Program offers three learning modules in preparation for a final exam. The first module, Accounting Made Easy, will train you in the fundamental principles of accounting for small businesses. The second module, Practical Small Business Application, will train you in the day-to-day procedures used by businesses each month to record and tabulate their financial events. The third and final module, Advanced Accounting, will train you in the more sophisticated issues associated with creating a set of books from scratch, auditing the results internally, and closing out the books at the end of the year.

After approximately 48 hours of focused training in the practical applications of accounting procedure, you will take a final exam. To prepare, you must complete the three modules of the PB Program, including all the learning activities. Doing the workbooks in each section of each course should help you master the subject material and pass the test. Those passing with scores of 90% or greater are certified as Professional Bookkeepers.

The Exam

The exam questions, all multiple-choice, are taken from material covered in the three modules of the PB Program. The exam measures the skills and knowledge appropriate to a bookkeeper that handles all the bookkeeping and accounting responsibilities in a small business of virtually any industry.

To ensure exam integrity, each test is different. The questions are randomly selected from a pool of exam questions.

Upon completion, you will receive your score immediately, along with the questions you missed and the areas of the program you should review. To receive the Professional Bookkeeper Designation, you must earn a score of 90% or higher. However, to receive a Certificate of Completion, you only need a 65%. If unsuccessful in achieving an adequate score at your first sitting, you may retake the test after 30 days.

90-100% Professional Bookkeeper Designation
65-89% Certificate of Completion
0-64% Fail

You will receive your Professional Bookkeeper Designation or your Certificate of Completion in the mail within four weeks of taking the exam.

Praise of the PB Program

Here’s what some of our recent graduates have said about the PB Program:

The Universal Accounting course was absolutely wonderful. I learned more in these 4 weeks than I ever imagined. This course is definitely NOT just an introductory course, although it is wonderful even for beginners. It is a comprehensive accounting and bookkeeping course that truly taught me everything I would need.
—Jessica Young

This course was fantastic! I already had an associate’s degree in accounting and eight years great accounting experience, including four years in small business accounting. I took the class and WOW! I was so excited everyday with how much I was learning, day one on. I would recommend it to anyone. This course is changing my life. It was worth every penny.
—Marianne Johnston

I have been bookkeeping for over 6 years and I have learned more over the past 4 weeks than I have in the past 6 years. I now understand what it is I have been doing. I am so excited about being an accountant now and not just a bookkeeper. I feel confident and well prepared to have my own accounting business. Thank you for opening new doors of opportunity.
—Nadine Malpas

I was amazed how practical this course was, and surprised how much I learned. Having an accounting degree and over 17 years experience in accounting, I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know. This is well worth the time and money, and you will be benefited from this class for years to come.
—Philip Luflair

While graduates have found the program useful, employers have also noted the value of the PB designation. Employers have said the following about their experience with Professional Bookkeepers:

I have had the opportunity of not only interviewing, but in many cases placing graduates of the UAC’s training program. I truly look forward to each graduating class and the opportunities that come from working with these candidates.
—Sue Ellen Chaney

This economy has a need for well-trained accounting personnel and Universal Accounting is supplying just that. The intensive training your graduates receive is a highly marketable asset in today’s market. Dollar for dollar I have found no better educational value than Universal Accounting Program. Your candidates are a valuable resource to our operation and are easily place-able in the majority of positions.
—Brett Thompson

I have experienced difficulty finding “full-charge” bookkeepers. I have found that many individuals who claim to be bookkeepers have experience with some aspect of accounting but they do not have a knowledge of the complete accounting cycle. After reviewing The Professional Bookkeeper Program I have concluded that it will give students the knowledge of the accounting cycle that is needed to serve my clients.
—Michael A. Fisher, CPA

Professional Bookkeeper Program Overview

Our in-class, hand-posted and computerized accounting and bookkeeping courses and home study programs are designed for anyone wanting to increase their income, either through getting a better job or through opening their own bookkeeping service. Through taking our courses, students will learn the methods of full-charge bookkeeping (taking the accounting process from data entry through preparation of financial statements), while gaining the ability to establish and keep accounting books through manual and computer methods.

Through completing this program, you will learn:

  • How to use double entry debit/credit bookkeeping journals, subsidiary ledgers and the final general ledger closing.
  • How to make original and final entries, posting to journals, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, general ledger, and customer statements.
  • How to create complete accounting and bookkeeping systems, through both manual and computer methods, including financial reports that contain balance sheets, profit/loss statements, and customer billings.
  • How to enter and develop a career that potentially pays you higher earnings, due to the training you receive and the new skills you gain in full-charge accounting.

Accounting Made Easy

(Module I of the Professional Bookkeeper Program)learn accounting with module one

This one-week course (available in DVD format) is designed to train you in the fundamental principles of accounting for small businesses. Through completing the course, you will gain an understanding of the tools, procedures, and underlying principles that make up the bookkeeping processes of small businesses. Furthermore, you will develop your skills and abilities by drilling with the daily transactions that all small business accountants have mastered.

Course Curriculum

  • The key components of the accounting process including General Ledgers, Specialty Journals, and Subsidiary Ledgers.
  • The various accounts used by specialty industries such as Flooring Payable, Contracts in Transit, and Bank Reserve Accounts.
  • The assessment of a company’s financial position.
  • The uses and methods of calculating depreciation, and allowance for bad debts.
  • Various collection techniques for slow-paying accounts that will improve success.
  • Mastering debits and credits through recording hundreds of daily and monthly transactions.

Total Course Hours (in-class): 12 Hours
Estimated Time of Completion: 14 Hours
Course Tuition and Fees (including books and materials): $485

Course Attendance Schedule

In-class: Three hours per class period for four days. Morning classes (when available) meet from 9 a.m. to noon; evening classes meet from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Upon registration, you will be notified as to the exact meeting times for your course.

Distance learning: You will receive four 2-hour DVD’s in an attractive album for easy storage along with a companion workbook.

Potential Occupations

This course prepares you for employment in the following occupations:

  • Accounts Payable Clerk
  • Accounts Receivable Clerk
  • Bookkeeping Clerk
  • Payroll Clerk

Practical Small Business Application

(Module II of the Professional Bookkeeper Program)

This one-week course (available on DVD) is designed to train you in the day-to-day procedures used by businesses each month to record and tabulate their financial events. During this course you will complete books for four different businesses, implementing the entire accounting process from entering data to the preparation of the financial reports. In addition, you will learn the process of preparing payroll, including calculation of payroll taxes.

Course Curriculum

  • The eight-step process of maintaining the financial records of a business, including collecting the information, entering it into specialty journals, and preparing the financial statements of a business.
  • The complete accounting cycle for four different businesses, including a furniture store, a convenience store, a clothing store and a bakery.
  • How payroll is calculated including gross pay and tax considerations. You will learn when to consider, and how to calculate and report the seven state payroll taxes including the rules of contractor versus employee status and how to apply them.
  • The three methods of calculating Cost of Goods Sold, as well as how and when to use each.
  • How to maintain Subsidiary Ledgers for Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, and Payroll.

Total Course Hours (in-class): 12 Hours
Estimated Time of Completion: 16 Hours
Course Tuition and Fees (including books and materials): $485

Course Attendance Schedule

Distance learning: You will receive four 2-hour DVD’s in an attractive album for easy storage along with a companion workbook.

Potential Occupations

This course prepares you for employment in the following occupations:

  • Accounts Payable Clerk
  • Accounts Receivable Clerk
  • Accounting Clerk
  • General Ledger Bookkeeper
  • Office Manager
  • Payroll Clerk

Advancing Your Account-Ability

(Module 3 of the Professional Bookkeeper program)

This one-week course (available on DVD) is designed to train you in the more sophisticated issues associated with creating a set of books from scratch, auditing the results internally, and closing out the books at the end of the year. In addition, you will learn the unique issues associated with accounting for an inventory-financed dealer, a construction company, a manufacturing company, and a not-for-profit institution.

Course Curriculum and Schedule

Total Course Hours (in-class): 12 Hours
Estimated Time of Completion: 18 Hours
Course Tuition and Fees (including books and materials): $485

  • Creating a set of books from scratch quickly and efficiently for three accounting scenarios: New Business, Replacing Previous Accountant, and Existing Business with No Prior Accountant.
  • The practical steps of internal auditing to ensure the accuracy of the financial reports of the business.
  • Choosing the right method of accounting for your business, including Cash and Accrual methods, and how to convert from one to another for greater efficiency and accuracy.
  • Closing out the books at the end of the year. You will also understand the ‘why’s’ and ‘when’s’ of choosing between a fiscal and calendar year.
  • The unique issues associated with inventory financing (dealerships), job cost accounting (construction), and cost accounting (manufacturing).
  • Accounting for not-for-profit institutions.

Course Attendance Schedule

Distance learning: You will receive four 2-hour DVD’s in an attractive album for easy storage along with a companion workbook.

Potential Occupations

This course prepares you for employment in the following occupations:

  • Accountant
  • Controller
  • Full-charge Bookkeeper
  • Internal Auditor
  • General Ledger Accountant
  • Office Manager

Learn Quicker So You Can Get to the Good Part – Earning Money

In just 16 days, you can learn the small-business accounting and bookkeeping process spending just 3 hours/day. Just think about it. In a month from now, you could be well on your way to financial freedom.

Less Expensive than Traditional University Education

Learning accounting through typical university education is certainly the way that most people picture learning accounting, but have you ever had the opportunity to weigh the total cost of education for a 4-year degree? Tuition and fees cost around $4000 per year. Over four years, this adds up to $16,000. Add to that about $1,000 in books for a total of $17,000. Housing during that time will easily cost $16,000 (at $4,000/year), bringing us to $33,000. While that is certainly a fairly large investment for most of us, that is not the only cost.

If you figure that it will take about a month for most students to complete our course and that it takes 4 years, or 48 months to get a traditional degree, how much money could you have made in that extra 47 months? If we estimate a conservative $3,000 per month in revenue with your bookkeeping business, that comes to 47 months X $3,000/month, or a grand total of $141,000 in lost income! Add the $33,000 for tuition, books, and housing, and the real cost of a 4-year degree comes to $174,000.

If you finance our course, it will cost only a small amount each month. The really great part is that many of our students have their first client before they are even finished with the course! Our proven marketing module teaches you how to easily get one to two new clients per month with almost no effort on your part. If you want to work at it, you can find small-business clients all around you at a surprising pace. From floral shops to tire centers, you bump into people every day that need what you have to offer them. We will teach you how to turn casual acquaintances into paying clients.

Our Professional Bookkeeper program teaches you how to do your work with the most efficiency possible so that you can service enough clients to make a very substantial income. On average, for your $300 per month for a client, you will work about 6-8 hours. If you serviced just one client per workday, you could easily service 23 clients, for a total of $6,900 per month or $82,800 per year! That kind of money excites most of us.

Universal’s PB Program Will Help You Start Your Own Accounting Practice

A laptop sits on a dining room table.This accounting course has evolved over the last 25 years into a comprehensive program in doing the day-to-day bookkeeping of a small business. The principles also apply exceptionally well to larger companies as our graduates have found. You not only get the theory taught in college, but you are taught by practical examples of real-world companies. From a bakery to a car lot, you will do books for 9 businesses and see how they are similar and how they differ. Our focus on small business accounting will give you the practical background you need to perform accounting for the majority of companies out there where few have the skills and training that you will acquire from the Professional Bookkeeper Program. Add to that the fact that you can complete the course on your own time and at your own pace and you have an ideal training program.

Universal Accounting Center has provided quality accounting training for more than two decades. Not only do we know about small business accounting, but we know how to market those valuable services so that you can grow your clientele and your bottom line.

The Professional Bookkeeper Program

There’s no doubt that the small business accounting you will learn through the Professional Bookkeeper Program is a valuable service that will benefit many clients. Some like to imagine their services attracting clients like a magnet. But the truth is no one will look for your help if they don’t know it exists.

Before you hang your shingle it is important to realize that regardless of your business’s specialty, you are in the business of marketing it. The idea of marketing can make many accountants nervous; we are generally more comfortable working with numbers than we are promoting ourselves. But without effective marketing efforts any good business will fail.

Included in the Professional Bookkeeper Program is an entire module on Building a Successful Accounting Business. In this module you’ll learn how to grow a thriving accounting practice, from how to design your business cards to effective networking techniques. Here is a breakdown of what you will learn in this module:

More information in the Professional Bookkeeper Module 4.

Purpose: To assist you in successfully creating your own professional in-home, or office-based bookkeeping and accounting service. Average time to complete: 10 Hours

  • Income tax forms you should become familiar with

CASE STUDY: Prepare all journals, general ledgers, subsidiary ledgers, and financial statements for Alfredo’s Deli

  • What you need to do to ensure success
  • The four fears that will stop your individual progress and what to do about them
  • Seven issues every freelancer should consider when starting an accounting service
  • Step-by-step process of starting right
  • What equipment you need to make it work
  • What to put on those business cards
  • The “Key Three” marketing strategies that everyone should begin with
  • Nine additional marketing strategies that will win you clients
  • Proven marketing letters
  • Preparing your “30 Second Commercial”
  • Keep your name in front of your contacts
  • How to network with the pros
  • Make every contact count
  • The three objectives of every presentation
  • Getting the client to scream “Yes”
  • Calculating a fair and honest fee for your services
  • Getting the money up front
  • What to charge for other services
  • The Ten Tips to Business Success

Start Today!

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