Understanding the Differences Between a Bookkeeper and an Accountant

Like many outside of the field of accounting, you may be unclear about the differences between a bookkeeper and an accountant. As a business owner, this differentiation is important to make since it will help you to understand what you company’s accounting needs are. Doing so will in turn assist you in getting the help you need.

The Traditional role of a Bookkeeper

The bookkeeper is at the very start of the accounting process because he or she is responsible to keeping track of the firm’s daily expenses. The traditional purpose of this professional is to note all financial transactions for the company for each day in chronological order. This means bookkeepers are entrusted with overseeing your ledgers, journals or whatever book of accounts you keep.

What an Accountant Does

An accountant uses the information your bookkeeper compiles to complete the other processes in the accounting area of your business. These include classifying, summarizing, reporting and analyzing your financial data. Accountants also interpret said data and may even be responsible for recording some financial information as well.

How the Nature of Outsourcing Changes Some of This

The roles of both positions are no longer as clear cut these days. In fact, bookkeepers are also called accounting clerks and some may have roles that extend far beyond the traditional job description for their occupation. This is mainly so because each company’s structure will determine what they need and this need will determine the tasks that make up each job description.
In addition to this, many freelancers and companies that offer bookkeeping services are aware that their target audience needs someone to do more than just chronicle their daily financial transactions. This understanding has led to an increase in the services that many offer to those who use outsourcing to fill these needs. The effect is that many bookkeepers serve a broader purpose while still providing add-on services at extra costs.

What This Means for You

While it may not be official, the broadening of the term “bookkeeper” means that you get more for your money. Not only do you get the traditional services offered by bookkeepers, you also get some accounting benefits even if these are basic. You can therefore tailor how much you spend on an actual accountant if anything at all. All companies can benefit from this, but small businesses seem to be reaping the greatest rewards since most cannot afford to employ an accountant.

Shopping Around

While there may be standard prices, not all bookkeepers will charge the same exact amount. Furthermore, not all of them will offer services that are suited to your business. Looking around allows you to find services that will benefit you, prices you are more likely to be able to afford, and it will give you a better idea of what each company or individual bookkeeper considers cost-cutting actions that will help you spend less for their services.

Hiring a bookkeeper may be one of the most important business decisions you make to improve your efficiency and viability. This means the process should not be taken lightly. We can help you get the most out of each dollar, contact us now.


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