The Difference between a Bookkeeper and an Accountant

Feb 27, 2023 | Advice

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

As a small business owner, you may be wondering whether you need to hire a bookkeeper or an accountant—or if there’s even any difference between the two. Both bookkeepers and accountants can perform many of the same tasks, such as preparing financial statements and overseeing your company’s compliance with tax laws. However, there are some key distinctions between the two professions. Here’s a closer look at the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant.

Bookkeepers vs Accountants: Duties

One of the main duties of a bookkeeper is to keep track of all of the financial transactions made by your business on a daily basis. This includes recording sales, purchases, receipts, and payments in your company’s accounting software. In contrast, an accountant typically provides more high-level strategic advice and analysis based on the data entered by the bookkeeper. For example, an accountant might prepare monthly or quarterly financial statements or offer advice on how to reduce your tax liability.

Bookkeepers vs Accountants: Qualifications

Bookkeepers typically have less formal education than accountants. Many bookkeepers learn their trade through on-the-job training, although some choose to pursue formal certification through a community college or professional organization such as the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. In contrast, most accountants have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field such as finance or business administration. Many accountants also choose to pursue professional certification through organizations such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

As you can see, there are some key differences between bookkeepers and accountants. When deciding whether to hire a bookkeeper or an accountant for your small business, it’s important to consider your needs and budget. If you need someone to simply keep track of your financial transactions on a day-to-day basis, a bookkeeper may be all you need. However, if you require more strategic advice and analysis, you may want to hire an accountant.

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