Bookkeeping vs Accounting: What’s the Difference and Which One Does Your Business Need?

Enrolling in one of the best online bookkeeping classes is a smart way for those interested in this career to bolster their existing financial knowledge. Some of the key tasks for accountants include tax return preparation, conducting routine reviews of various financial statements, and performing account analysis. Another key responsibility for accountants includes conducting routine audits to ensure that statements and the books are following ethical and industry standards. Accounting consolidates financial information to make it understandable and clear for all stakeholders. It helps businesses to maintain timely and accurate records of their finances. Bookkeepers are individuals who manage all financial data for companies.

To become an accountant, they must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Bookkeepers aren’t required to be certified to handle the books for their customers or employer but licensing is available. Both the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) and the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB) offer accreditation and licensing to bookkeepers. The difference between bookkeeping and accounting isn’t always black and white. Forensic accounting combines auditing, accounting, and investigative skills to evaluate a businesses finances and determine any instances of fraud.

  1. Many experienced and knowledgeable bookkeepers honed their skills with on-the-job training.
  2. For example, KPMG offers employees up to 25 days of paid vacation time, telecommuting opportunities, and a robust health insurance package.
  3. She is a former Google Tech Entrepreneur and holds an MSc in international marketing from Edinburgh Napier University.
  4. And a Certified Public Accountant, or CPA, is an accountant who has taken a test called the Uniform CPA Examination and met your state’s requirements for state certification.

An accountant, on the other hand, will take your bookkeeper’s nuanced records and translate them into tax preparation, and also offer advice about the health of your business and future planning. Accountants, on the other hand, use the information provided by bookkeepers to summarize a business’s financial position and render financial advice to the business owner. Many accountants also prepare tax returns, independent audits and certified financial statements for lenders, potential buyers and investors. Bookkeeping focuses on the day-to-day financial activities and transactions of a business. In that case, you might consider outsourcing accounting or bookkeeping services on a freelance basis.


Accountants typically have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and many go on to become certified public accountants (CPAs) or certified management accountants (CMAs). Bookkeepers might also have degrees in accounting, but most have either technical certifications or on-the-job experience. Bookkeeping is broadly defined as the recording of financial transactions for a business. It’s a key component of the accounting process and can be done as frequently as daily, weekly or monthly. Accurate bookkeeping is vital to filing tax returns and having the financial insights to make sound business decisions. Bookkeeping is a transactional and administrative role that handles the day-to-day tasks of recording financial transactions, including purchases, receipts, sales and payments.

Bookkeeping for Your Small Business

And reconciliations happen almost in real time through daily bank feed maintenance, making the end-of-month closing process a snap. Now one bookkeeper can manage the bookkeeping for several businesses in fewer than eight hours a day. 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.

Common Misconceptions About Accounting vs. Bookkeeping

However, you might hire a CIA if you want a more specialized focus on financial risk assessment and security monitoring processes. A CPA is an accountant who bookkeeping vs accounting definition has met their state’s requirements and passed the Uniform CPA Exam. They must also meet ongoing education requirements to maintain their accreditation.

Our partners cannot pay us to guarantee favorable reviews of their products or services. After a business chooses a legal entity, such as an LLC or sole proprietorship, bookkeepers segregate personal and business financials and implement a method for tracking business expenses. Since every expense is a potential business tax deduction, bookkeepers have strong attention to detail and aim to record and categorize every transaction accurately.

Bookkeeping and accounting are both important

You can efile income tax return on your income from salary, house property, capital gains, business & profession and income from other sources. Further you can also file TDS returns, generate Form-16, use our Tax Calculator software, claim HRA, check refund status and generate rent receipts for Income Tax Filing. The books of account need to be up-to-date as it is the basis for accounting.

Key Differences Between Bookkeeping and Accounting

Company ledgers can be anything from a sheet of paper to a specialised bookkeeping and accounting software like Countingup. Using accounting software to track your financial data is often much more efficient. Your information is stored securely in the cloud, meaning you can access it from anywhere.

Your business’s accounting needs might not require the in-depth expertise of a hired professional. You might also be watching your company’s list of expenses and wondering where to reduce spending. In either case, consider handling the accounting yourself or delegating this responsibility to one or a few of your current employees. A CIA is an accountant who has been certified in conducting internal audits. To receive this certification, an accountant must pass the required exams and have two years of professional experience. Awarded by the CFA Institute, the CFA certification is one of the most respected designations in accounting.

Over 1.8 million professionals use CFI to learn accounting, financial analysis, modeling and more. Start with a free account to explore 20+ always-free courses and hundreds of finance templates and cheat sheets. The contra revenue account is commonly used in small businesses, especially in some cases wherein you may have items that are needed for refunds or returns. With so many competing priorities, it’s impossible to say when a business needs to engage professional help. But when you feel the time is right, indinero’s expert team is here to help. If you notice a decline in the quality of your products or services due to stretched resources, outsourcing can help maintain high standards.

After graduating, he moved to Germany to begin a life abroad as an expat. When he isn’t writing or thinking about economics, he’s probably playing music or basketball. Bookkeeping and accounting are not the same; they form a symbiotic relationship. If your business lacks in-house expertise, outsourcing becomes a strategic move to access skills not readily available internally.

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