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Accountant vs Bookkeeper, What is the Difference?

Accountants and Bookkeepers are both professionals who provide financial support, they are both a foundation to ensure that you have the finances to keep your business running. It is important to know the difference between the two so that your business is meeting its accounting needs.

Education and Training

A person may become a bookkeeper with on-the-job training and without a formal college degree. Skills such as attention to detail, good communication skills, and accuracy are required. On the other hand, an accountant is required to have a minimum of a 4-year college degree and should have the same skills required by a bookkeeper plus the ability to analyze data and draw conclusions from them. Moreover, A CPA must have a 4-year degree and have also met additional education and rigorous testing to earn this license; CPA’s must also take continuing education classes throughout their career to maintain their license.

The Role

Bookkeepers and accountants’ roles are often confused by most people. In simple terms, a bookkeeper is more of an administrative role and records financial transactions while an accountant can analyze the information input by a bookkeeper, provide advice, and create situational financial models for the business. Here are some key differences at a high level:

It is very valuable to have a bookkeeper or accountant so that your business is built on a solid financial foundation, and so its growth is supported for the future. Having systems in place from the beginning gives you a better picture of your business financials and avoids growing challenges.

Finally, having a bookkeeper and accountant working collaboratively should be the goal for most businesses. Bookkeepers deal with the transactional items, and accountants provide you the financial models and advice for your business based on the bookkeeper’s data. The bookkeeper is a crucial part of the team in order for an accountant do his/her best work.

The bottom line is that you don’t need to add these two positions to your payroll, you can outsource your accounting needs with us and we will provide you skilled and professional bookkeepers, accountants, and CPAs. Still not sure on what services your business needs? At CPA by Choice we can advise you on the accounting needs for your specific business. We are available to answer your questions, feel free to call us or send us a message.


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