difference between bookkeeping and accounting

Your financial data must be current and accurate so you have the tools you need to make sound business decisions and implement healthy cash flow strategies. When most people think about the difference between bookkeeping and accounting, they are hard-pressed to nail the distinction between each process. They both involve tracking, recording, and analyzing financial transactions to ensure your business remains profitable and compliant with legal regulations.

Is it hard to learn bookkeeping?

Is studying bookkeeping hard? While accounting does require a complex set of skills and abilities, as well as excellent attention to detail, it really isn't any more difficult than many of the other popular fields of study that lead to excellent lifelong career opportunities.

In many cases, a skilled bookkeeper can perform many of the same tasks an accountant would. Bookkeeping focuses on the proper recording of financial transactions for your business. Usually, your bookkeeper would use double-entry accounting to record all your financial transactions. Double-entry accounting means that for every debit entry you make, a corresponding credit entry must be made. While bookkeeping and accounting are very similar in their functions, there are significant differences between these two roles. In this article, we will discuss 5 major differences between bookkeeping and accounting, and how each position plays an important part in business growth and sustainability.

Duties & Responsibilities for an Accounting Clerk in a Firm

Accountants’ qualifications depend on their experience, licenses and certifications. To become an accountant, they must earn a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. A bookkeeper with professional certification shows they are committed to the trade, possess the skills and expertise required, and are willing to continue learning new methods and techniques. As your business grows to include more customers, vendors, and employees, keeping track of your finances on your own becomes more challenging. Hiring a bookkeeper, accountant, or both may be worth it to ensure your business’s financial success, depending on your business size, growth, and your comfort working with numbers.

There’s often overlap, and the duties may change a lot from one business to another. Bookkeeping and accounting provide the necessary financial data to make informed decisions when planning for the future of the business. In addition, it helps to identify potential financial risks, opportunities https://www.bookstime.com/ for growth, and areas where resources can be better utilized. In fact, our bookkeeping agent on staff majored in business with a concentration in accounting. Far more than just a record-keeper, Margaret helps clients with tax preparation, filing for business loans and grants, and more.

What are the differences between accounting and bookkeeping?

The strength of an accountant is recognizing a problem, such as disappearing inventory or a customer who is consistently tardy on payments, before it affects the business. The average hourly rate for https://www.bookstime.com/blog/know-the-basics-accounting-versus-bookkeeping a bookkeeper is $37, but this may vary depending on where you live and how experienced the individual is. Virtual bookkeepers are becoming an increasingly popular solution if you are trying to save.

difference between bookkeeping and accounting

To choose accounting software, start by considering your budget and the extent of your business’s accounting needs. When interviewing for a CPA, look for an accountant who understands tax law and accounting software and has good communication skills. They should understand your industry and the unique needs and requirements of small businesses. The NACPB offers credentials to bookkeepers who pass tests for small business accounting, small business financial management, bookkeeping and payroll.


Whatever option you select, investing in your company’s finances, whether time or money, can only help it expand. Accountants, unlike bookkeepers, can obtain extra professional certificates. Accountants with adequate experience and education, for example, can receive the distinction of Certified Public Accountant (CPA), one of the most common accounting qualifications. To become a CPA, an accountant must pass the Uniform Certified Public Accountant exam and have professional accounting experience. One of the most important aspects of bookkeeping is keeping a general ledger.

difference between bookkeeping and accounting

The primary purpose of accounting is to create financial statements that can be used to make decisions about how to allocate resources. There’s a place for both bookkeeping and accounting in your small business, and as a small business owner, you’ll likely be called upon to be both at one time or another. While accounting software certainly makes the bookkeeping process a lot easier, it requires a different set of skills and knowledge to handle accounting for your business. For example, some small business owners do their own bookkeeping on software their accountant recommends or uses, providing it to the accountant on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis for action. Other small businesses hire a bookkeeper or employ a small accounting department with data entry clerks reporting to the bookkeeper.

What is bookkeeping?

This is because both accounting and bookkeeping deal with financial data, require basic accounting knowledge, and classify and generate reports using the financial transactions. At the same time, both these processes are inherently different and have their own sets of advantages. Read this article to understand the major differences between bookkeeping and accounting. Bookkeeping is a transactional and administrative role that handles the day-to-day tasks of recording financial transactions, including purchases, receipts, sales and payments. Accounting is more subjective, providing business owners with financial insights based on information gleaned from their bookkeeping data. Bookkeepers track and organize financial data as it comes in, recording financial transactions and collating that data into financial reports.

Small Business Bookkeeping (2023 Guide) – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

Small Business Bookkeeping (2023 Guide) – Forbes Advisor.

Posted: Mon, 26 Dec 2022 08:00:00 GMT [source]

Basically, anything that involves money coming in or going out of your business needs to be recorded in your bookkeeping. When it comes to bookkeeping and accounting, there are a few key differences that you should be aware of. For one, bookkeeping is primarily focused on the recording of financial transactions, while accounting is focused on the analysis and interpretation of those financial transactions.


You can find more information on which transactions require supporting documents on the IRS website. Think of bookkeeping as the first step in the holistic accounting process, preparing your business accounts for more complex tasks. A bookkeeper must catch tiny or hidden mistakes because even small ones can affect your business. Accountants also can have additional professional designations such as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), or CMA (Certified Management Accountant).

Typically, a bookkeeper doesn’t make suggestions or forecasts, but simply reports the financial data. Maintaining the general ledger is the key role of the bookkeeper or person in charge of bookkeeping. This is the basic document, usually, a spreadsheet, in which all transactions, both sales and expense receipts, are posted. Any data should be recorded chronologically or clearly labeled with the date in order to ensure accurate, easy-to-find details. Some business owners learn to manage their finances independently, while others employ a professional to concentrate on the aspects of their business that they enjoy.

Dodaj komentarz

Twój adres e-mail nie zostanie opublikowany. Wymagane pola są oznaczone *