What Is the Difference Between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between an accountant and a bookkeeper?

If you’ve just started your business, you may be looking into getting help with your finances. Accountants and bookkeepers are actually very different, and both may actually be helpful.

We’re going to take a look at some of the main differences between accountants and bookkeepers in this blog, so keep reading.

Education Level

The first difference between an accountant and a bookkeeper is education level. An accountant has a degree in accounting, while a bookkeeper (usually) does not. 

This means that the only way to become a qualified accountant is by earning an accredited degree from an accredited university or college. On the other hand, bookkeepers do not need this kind of formal training. They get work based on their ability to keep accurate records and manage finances in their day-to-day business operations.

Accountants may choose to specialize in different types of accounting depending on what type of business they work for or what industry they’re involved with. There are two main types of accountants;

  • Accountants who specialise in business accounting. They often advise clients on how to reduce their tax burden by taking advantage of certain tax deductions and allowances.
  • Chartered Accountants, the most highly trained type of accountant, who focus on auditing and providing advice to individuals, businesses and government agencies

However, it’s still necessary for accountants to be trained at least somewhat formally before being hired by clients who require professional tax advice every year during tax season (January through April).

Job Tasks

The job tasks of an accountant and a bookkeeper are very different. 

Accountants perform financial statements and tax returns, while bookkeepers do data entry, pay bills and reconcile accounts.

Salary and Career Outlook

In the area of salary and career outlook, there are some quite stark differences between accountants and bookkeepers.

  • Accountants earn more than bookkeepers.
  • Accountants need a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Bookkeepers only need a certificate.

Accountants have a much better career outlook than bookkeepers, as well.

Can a Bookkeeper or Accountant Certify Documents?

If you are looking for someone who can certify your financial documents, you will need to hire an accountant. Bookkeepers do not have the same training and certification requirements to certify financial documents.

Accountants can work in both the public and private sectors. They tend to be more common in larger companies where they create reports on their clients’ finances and help them prepare tax returns. If a company is audited by the government, accountants help ensure that all records are accurate and up-to-date. 

In smaller businesses, they may also provide advice and act as financial planners for their clients or counsel on tax planning issues such as retirement plans or inheritance planning.

Do You Need an Accountant or Bookkeeper?

If you’ve been reading this and have realised you need either and accountant or bookkeeper… or even both, we’re here to help!

Countplus offers accountancy and bookkeeping services—but that’s not all! We also offer legal and business advice, so you really can get everything you need!

Get in touch for a free consultation today, or check out our blog for more helpful information and advice.

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