Ever wonder what bookkeepers and accounts do? Below we highlight the similarities and differences.
Bookkeepers And Accountants
Accountants and bookkeepers both manage financial information within a business. They often have the same skills and are both excellent with money, but there are a few key differences between a bookkeeper’s work and an accountant’s work.
Being a bookkeeper involves keeping track of a business’s daily financial transactions. The transactions can be an item bought or a sale made. All these transactions must be recorded. These financial records are very important when it comes to following tax regulations.
It is vital that a business owner has a bookkeeper with keen attention to detail. This will ensure that all financial documents are up to date.
Recording daily transactions is just the beginning of bookkeeping. Other important tasks of a bookkeeper include:
- Recording financial transactions in the general ledger
- Managing bank statements and accommodating accounts
- Managing accounts receivable and accounts payable
- Manage payroll and process pay checks
- Collect expense receipts, invoices and reimbursements
- Track the depreciation of assets belonging to the company
- Help accountants prepare financial reports and statements
- Enter financial data and assist in the preparation of tax reports
Bookkeeping tasks can be performed manually or in a more modern way, by using software and applications. Some bookkeepers prefer to use the more traditional methods of handwritten ledgers. But, with technology advancing, bookkeepers can save time by learning how to use efficient applications.
Once bookkeeper records are complete and balanced, they are then passed onto the accountant.
Technically, a bookkeeper does not need any form of certification to deal with a business’s financial data, but you can gain licencing if you wish to. This can be obtained through the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB).
In the UK, the HMRC recognises the ICB as a professional body for tax purposes. ICB members that are also qualified Certified Chartered Accountants (CCA) can give their clients tax advice to save them money.
The ICB offers three different levels of bookkeeping courses. Each comes with its own “title”.
- ICB Level 2 Certificate – Associate
- ICB Level 3 – Member
- ICB Level 4 – Fellow
The AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) offers extra certifications. These are three short bookkeeping qualifications or levels that must be completed within two months to a year. The third level can be used as a pathway for a bookkeeper to achieve professional AAT bookkeeping member (AATQB) status.
Accountants focus on generating financial reports for the business.
Accountants get data from the bookkeeper. They begin to analyse and interpret the bookkeeping data. The accountant will then compile a report about the business’s financial standing. This report is vital because it can be used to determine future business needs.
It is important for a business to see the big picture when it comes to finances. This is because they will want the company to succeed and flourish without too many challenges. A transparent business with balancing ledgers will be sure to avoid any possible legal issues.
An accounting professional is someone with knowledge of finance and problem-solving skills. Because of this, they are crucial to the running of a company. Their recommendations are often used to make financial decisions that pertain to the well-being of the business.
Other important tasks of accounting include:
- Verify and analyse data or journal entries.
- Generate reports, and prepare financial report records e.g. tax returns, income statements and balance sheets of the business.
- Provide information to the company e.g. cost and earnings, liabilities and assets and profit and loss. This will forecast future business decisions on finance.
- Discover business trends and growth opportunities.
- Adjust data entries to ensure that the company is not paying for expenses prior to them happening.
The accounting process is generally performed using accounting software. All qualified accountants will have professional experience with the necessary accounting systems.
Your tax returns can be prepared by either a normal accountant or a certified public accountant (CPA). But, certified public accountants are more knowledgeable about the accounting process. They can help you deal with the HMRC or other government agencies.
Tax accountants specialize in all tax aspects (laws and regulations). They prepare and calculate local taxes.
To become an accounting professional, such as a chartered accountant or certified public accountant, you must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college.
This field of study will need you to participate in in-depth training and finish off by passing exams. The most popular accounting qualification is AAT which is made up of three levels.
Each level takes about one year to complete. This will need to be done through an industry-recognized body such as the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) or the ACCA (The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).
Successful accountants will need to keep their skills up-to-date. This includes knowledge of important tax laws and any possible changes to them.
Accountants are highly valuable to any company because they also understand and frequently work with tax codes. By knowing tax codes, accountants can help the company’s owner (their employer) work out how much income tax to take from their employees’ pay.
Accountants can work for various clients at once.
Other accounting titles
Apart from CCAs, a few other certifications may assist young accounting professionals win positions within larger organizations. It can also be beneficial to those individuals looking to expand their skill sets.
The roles of a chartered financial analyst (CFA) and certified internal auditor (CIA) also fall into the accounting category.
Bookkeeper Vs Accountant: Which Is Better For My Business?
A small business will manage with just someone in bookkeeping. As the business grows, however, so does the need for an experienced and qualified accountant.
A business owner will need to take costs into consideration – accounting services cost more than bookkeeping. The size of your company, industry, number of employees, and turnover are all factors that should inform your decision.
How is bookkeeping different from accounting?
A bookkeeper will record and organise financial information for a business. This data can include transactions, bank statements, business accounts, payroll documents, expense receipts etc. An accountant interprets and presents that data in the form of a report to the company owner or possible investors.
What skills do you need to be a bookkeeper?
To be a good bookkeeper, you will need to enjoy working with numbers, have good time management and be organised. Attention to detail is important; as is the ability to work with integrity and transparency. Bookkeeping expertise and/or formal qualifications will be helpful too.
Do accountants work with bookkeepers?
Yes, they do. Bookkeeping and accounting overlap when they work together. A bookkeeper records daily financial transactions. Accounting then builds on that information and turns it into a report.
Is bookkeeping better than accounting?
This is a subjective opinion that will differ from one person to the next. Both roles handle finances are valuable to the company. An accountant can, however, charge more for their services. Being a bookkeeper is a great starting point. From there, you can always advance to become an accountant.
Can a bookkeeper prepare financial statements?
Yes. A bookkeeper will prepare such statements for small businesses. For larger businesses, financial statements are typically prepared by the accountant.
Bookkeepers and accountants have some overlap in their roles, but both also have distinct duties and qualification requirements. Whereas a bookkeeper does not necessarily need formal certifications, a financial accountant does.
To have a successful business without constant financial worries, we recommend that you hire an accountant. Their skillset, qualifications and work experience always make them an invaluable asset to any enterprise and in every industry.
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