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Bookkeeper vs Accountant: What Are the Differences?

If you are considering a future in accounting, you may be wondering which number-crunching career is right for you. Decision-makers often seek the advice of accountants when they need help with budget forecasting, calculating tax liabilities, and tax filing. When common people talk about bookkeepers, accountants, or CPAs , they cannot really make out the exact differences between them.

In this article, we’ll break down the seven differences between a bookkeeper vs accountant, including their roles, functions, and salary. The overall best bookkeeping software includes Zoho Books, FreshBooks, Xero, and Intuit QuickBooks. A bookkeeper can be the business owner, an in-house employee, freelancer or professional from an online bookkeeping service like QuickBooks Live or Bench.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

Bookkeepers handle the day-to-day tasks of recording financial transactions while accountants provide insight and analysis of that data and generate accounting reports. Transfer-friendly programs, online courses, and dedicated services for working professionals make Franklin University a top choice for those seeking a bachelor’s degree in accounting. In  Accounting will teach you accounting best practices, industry-standard account management software and account management tools software, and financial analysis skills that will set you up for success. For aspiring finance professionals, the question of bookkeeper vs. accountant is common. Initially, bookkeepers and accountants take the same foundational accounting courses. However, accountants go on for further training and education, which results in differences in their roles, earnings expectations and career growth.

  • It’s the bookkeeper’s task to record all the sales and purchases the business made in the ledger and to provide the supporting documents needed.
  • Bookkeepers who are interested in switching jobs but do not have a college degree might consider becoming an EA after a stint with the IRS.
  • Bookkeepers record financial transactions, post debits and credits, create invoices, manage payroll and maintain and balance the books.
  • How much you make as a first-year accountant depends mainly on the specific career path you pursue.
  • The two roles can have a significant impact on the success of your business.

Perform any combination of routine calculating, posting, and verifying duties to obtain primary financial data for use in maintaining accounting records. May also check the accuracy of figures, calculations, and postings pertaining to business transactions recorded by other workers. If you have a more analytical and strategic mind, the accounting profession may provide the type of challenges that excite you. If you prefer tasks that require attention to detail, involve working with computer programs and financial data, and require good math knowledge, bookkeeping might be a better fit. As a bookkeeper, you might create financial reports such as balance sheets for nonpublic companies.

However, they earn 8% less than the average pay of the Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services industry ($91,150). In 2021, there have been 65,430 more Bookkeeper roles than the previous year across the nation, and that marks a growth of 4.5%. Bookkeepers and staff accountants have different pay scales, as shown below. Accountants and bookkeepers perform different operations with the same objective. They use numerous softwares to manage the company’s account efficiently, to enhance efficiency and security purposes. Bookkeeping Softwares- In bookkeeping, we use the same softwares because bookkeeping is part of accounting.

Essential Finance Skills

Accounting careers may offer flexibility and opportunities across a wide range of sectors. Accountants can specialize in government or nonprofit accounting, consulting or freelance, or work in areas like forensic accounting, auditing or education. All these career paths often start with the same type of education, with many accountants pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree.

Bookkeeping vs. Accounting: Skills

However, you will typically work with raw financial data and not offer insights into compliance or performance. The accountants should have different licenses and certificates based on their experience. To be an advanced skillful accountant, you need to pass the state’s uniform CPA exam. If you pass the exam, it means you understand tax law, accounting softwares and have good communication skills.

The objectives of bookkeepers and accountants are similar as they perform different tasks to reach the organization or business up to a high level. A bookkeeper is responsible for maintaining full records of the income and expenses of any organization. They prepare the regular economic transactions in a continuous and easy-to-understand way.

Accounting Assistant vs. Bookkeeper

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them. Harold Averkamp (CPA, MBA) has worked as a university accounting instructor, accountant, and consultant for more than 25 years. Learn from our students and alumni who pursued their educational goals at University of Phoenix while balancing school, work and life.

Is bookkeeping a stressful job?

In either case, consider handling the accounting yourself or delegating this responsibility to one or a few of your current employees. CFAs must also pass a challenging three-part exam that had a pass rate of only 39 percent in September 2021. The point here is that hiring a CFA means bringing highly advanced accounting knowledge to your business. A CPA is an accountant who has met their state’s requirements and passed the Uniform CPA Exam. They must also meet ongoing education requirements to maintain their accreditation. Accountants can become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) by passing the Uniform Certified Public Accountant exam.

Most importantly, expected salary, growth prospects and additional career opportunities are different for accountants than for bookkeepers. If you are looking for the long-term success of your Business with the help of structured economic records, both bookkeepers and accountants play a crucial role in this. The average salary of an accountant was $71,550 per annum in 2019, as per the U.S.