The Difference Between Bookkeepers and Accountants


Today, we’ll go over the differences between bookkeeping and accounting so that you can figure out how to allocate resources effectively. When a bookkeeper wants to leap to being an accountant, they will need to take the CPA exam, plus earn a bachelor’s degree (most of the time), if they do not have one already. Fifty states plus the District of Columbia require accountants to earn 150 credit hours of college education before taking the national four-part Uniform CPA exam. Therefore, those who do not like math, get confused easily when making simple calculations, or are generally opposed to number crunching should not apply.

  • If you need an extra hand, you can also work with a team of QuickBooks-certified bookkeepers to help you manage and maintain your books virtually.
  • These elements are tracked and recorded in documents including balance sheets, income statements, and cash flow statements.
  • You might start your business by handling accounting tasks yourself, then decide to hand off the day-to-day transaction input to a bookkeeper as you grow.
  • Bookkeepers and accounting clerks both help manage a company’s financial records.
  • Managers can hire an accountant to know how much it costs to produce each vehicle.

Automated retrieval programs (commonly called «robots» or «bots») can cause delays and interfere with other customers’ timely access to information. Therefore, bot activity that doesn’t conform to BLS usage what is notes payable definition how to record and examples policy is prohibited. Julia is a writer in New York and started covering tech and business during the pandemic. You see the primary difference between the two is the size of the business they work in.

Best Online Bookkeeping Services

They can also walk you through a few financial decisions to recommend new ways of approaching a situation. Some of them can produce financial documentation solutions that far surpass those you’d get from a typical accountant. To qualify for the title of an accountant, generally an individual must have a bachelor’s degree in accounting. For those that don’t have a specific degree in accounting, finance degrees are often considered an adequate substitute. Businesses of all sizes need to keep careful track of income, expenses, and transactions, which includes everything from daily sales and invoices to receipts and payroll.

Accountants advise leadership on how to make more strategic financial changes that save the company money or generate more profit. For some of the businesses that they do, accountants also need to be registered certified public accountants (CPAs). Careless mistakes that seem inconsequential at the time can lead to bigger, costlier, more time-consuming problems down the road.

Are there any software or tools specific to these roles?

Accountants and bookkeepers provide similar services, but accountants can also provide financial advice where bookkeeps can’t. Bookkeepers can be an effective resource if you need to design a financial recording system—even when you have a relatively complex business. Bookkeepers and accountants sometimes do the same work, but have a different skill set. In general, a bookkeeper’s role is to record transactions and keep you financially organized, while accountants provide consultation, analysis, and are more qualified to advise on tax matters.

We’ve listed some of the key differences when it comes to the requirements and job market for each. While entry-level positions exist for both roles, bookkeeping often demands a deeper understanding of financial operations and reporting. Therefore, employers often prefer bookkeepers to have prior experience or formal education in accounting or bookkeeping.

Bookkeeping vs. accounting

Accounting focuses on using that data to assess the financial health of a business and make data-driven business decisions. A key part of the accounting process is analyzing financial reports to help you make business decisions. The result is a better understanding of actual profitability and an awareness of cash flow in your business. Accounting turns the information from the general ledger into insights that reveal the bigger picture of the business, and the path the company is progressing on. Business owners will often look to accountants for help with strategic tax planning, analysing their financial position, forecasting, and tax filing.

They then have an accountant as a consultant review their books and ledgers every week, month or quarter to analyze the financial data. From there, the accountant can advise business owners on how to spend, save and scale. Some of the major tasks for accountants include gathering tax return documents, conducting routine reviews of various financial statements, and performing account analysis. While certain tasks within these roles can be automated, the need for human oversight, analysis, and decision-making remains essential. Therefore, professionals in these fields should focus on upskilling and adapting to the technological advancements rather than fearing replacement. Accountants use bookkeeping records to assess big-picture finances and make smart business decisions.

In May 2017, the Bureau of Labor Statistics grouped both bookkeepers and accounting clerks together in its salary data, indicating these professionals earned similar wages. It mentioned they earned a median wage of $39,240, where half of bookkeepers and accounting clerks earned more and half earned less. The bottom percent of these accounting professionals earned less than $24,600 a year, while the top 10 percent had earnings exceeding $60,670.

What is the difference between accounting and bookkeeping answer? ›

An accounting clerk is responsible for recording and organizing financial transactions within a company. They typically handle tasks such as data entry, preparing invoices, tracking expenses, and reconciling accounts. Accounting clerks often work under the supervision of senior accountants and perform more administrative tasks within the accounting department. For example, certified public accountants (CPA) meet certain educational and experiential requirements and can perform audits, provide tax advisory services, or give financial advice. All small-business owners should consider hiring a professional accountant to handle their tax returns, at the least.

Control Your Bookkeeping and Accounting All in One

For entrepreneurs and small business owners, this frees up your time allowing you to focus on tasks more relevant to the overall business. In addition, this puts financial support in the hands of experts, as opposed to having someone at the company learn these skills on the fly. Outsourcing these services also saves you from hiring a full-time in-house employee for these roles.

A trusted accountant can help guide you through that process and help handle any audits that may arise. While a bookkeeper can help with the precise details of the business, an accountant is better suited to do bigger-picture analysis and strategic planning. If you’re looking to get a handle on the day-to-day finances of your business, look for an experienced bookkeeper. One of the most important parts of running a business of any kind is accurate recordkeeping, and a bookkeeper can help make that process simpler and more manageable.