What’s the Difference Between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper?

What’s the Difference Between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper?

I’m a business owner and I need help with the numbers. Should I hire an accountant or a bookkeeper? When we encounter this question, we always respond in the form of another question: What, specifically, do you need your ‘numbers person’ to do? While some of the responsibilities of a bookkeeper and an accountant can overlap, they play very different roles within a business. Here are some of the key differences between a bookkeeper and an accountant: Why should I hire a bookkeeper? Bookkeeping is the first part of the accounting process, which involves organizing all the raw numbers data of the business into reports for the accountant. A bookkeeper pays bills, invoices customers, maintains the checkbooks, and may also manage payroll. These processes record accurate transactions of sales and expenses. Essentially, he or she manages the documents which are the basis for your financial statements. Generally, bookkeepers are more affordable than accountants, and usually have either a two-year associate’s degree or no formal education. A self-taught bookkeeper is not necessarily a bad thing, so be sure to keep a couple of things in mind when searching for the right fit: Consider their work history. While no formal education might be a red flag at first, a bookkeeper with 20+ years of gainful employment is likely a solid option. Ask for references. If you can easily find companies that recommend a bookkeeper’s work, you’ve likely found a great future asset for your team. What size businesses has your potential hire worked with in the past? Finding someone with experience in a similarly sized business, or a similar industry as...