Bookkeeper vs Accountant – Are they the same?
Many people may think that a Bookkeeper and Accountant are the same thing. While both deal with the finances of a business it’s important to recognise the difference between the two roles. What is the difference between a bookkeeper vs accountant?
What is a bookkeeper?
Bookkeeping skills are invaluable to a business. A Bookkeeper is responsible for processing the financial transactions of a business, for example paying bills, creating Invoices etc. The main focus is on recording accurate and complete figures with less emphasis on analysis. A bookkeeper will work on your books daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly to ensure your accounting records are up to date ready for the final analysis to be done by your accountant.
Bookkeepers keep track of the money coming into and out of the business, carrying out tasks like managing the day-to-day cash flow, reconciling the bank, keeping the sales and purchase accounts up to date, credit control, filing of VAT returns, preparing for year-end tax returns and help keep the finances running efficiently.
What is an accountant?
An accountant performs a wider range of tasks and focuses on the bigger financial picture, analysing the information provided by bookkeepers to carry out audits, generate financial statements and forecast future business needs.
Accountants build on the financial information provided by the bookkeeper and will apply additional financial analysis to the records. The Accountant will generally work at less frequent intervals, for example to work on annual accounts. They could also be involved in more specialist projects at certain times; for example, to work on a business plan a or cash flow forecast. An accountant is more likely to give advice, guidance and assistance on financial affairs.
Bookkeepers are not tax advisors. This is an area in which accountants specialise in and give advice on how best to set up your company structure.