The Big Difference Between a Bookkeeper and an Accountant

payable and receivable

A bookkeeper will generally know how to do data entry and reconciliations. If your accountant is also a tax preparer, then they will also be able to give the prospective of what is in the best interest of your company from a tax stand point. A high school education, with emphasis on business math, bookkeeping, and accounting, is needed to get a job as a bookkeeper. Some employers prefer to hire junior college or business school graduates for the position of full-charge bookkeeper.


Because almost every business has at least one bookkeeper, prospective workers might try applying to any firm that interests them. Even if there are no job openings at the time of applying, candidates may be considered for future openings. School placement offices may be able to help a student find a position as a bookkeeper. Other jobs may be listed with state and private employment agencies, on Internet job sites, and in newspaper classified ads. If interested in a government job, apply to take the necessary civil service test.

Most Helpful In Resumes

In short, bookkeepers “keep the books” of all business transactions, making certain that figures match in all areas. Small businesses are subject to more fraud such as payroll schemes, alteration of checks and theft of inventory than larger companies.

What is the difference between a full charge bookkeeper and an accountant?

Bookkeepers and accountants occupy a continuum beginning with recording financial transactions and continuing through categorization, preparation of specialized reports, and financial analysis. In general, the bookkeeper's job is limited to recording transactions, while an accountant does the rest.

A freelance full charge bookkeeper is a professional who provides outsourced bookkeeping services on a contract or project basis. They work independently and may provide services to multiple clients simultaneously. They are self-employed and typically work from their own or home offices. They are responsible for all aspects of a company’s financial records, including accounts payable and receivable, payroll, and general ledger maintenance. They may also be responsible for budgeting, forecasting, monitoring cash flow, and managing accounts payable and receivable.

What is a Full Charge Bookkeeper?

Depending on the size of the business, an accountant may do some of the same duties as a bookkeeper. Typically however, accountants have a four-year college degree and have a higher level of expertise and experience than bookkeepers. A bookkeeper’s meticulous records may help a business survive an audit, ensure financial records are orderly, and all deductions and transactions are legal. In addition, they prepare critical financial statements, including profit & loss statements.

  • They are run after the books are closed and are submitted to a CPA to verify accuracy and then to the owners or management to apprise them of the financial health of the company.
  • Workers in this position can be hourly employees, earning anywhere from $13 to $26 an hour.
  • Unrealistic expectations and working with owners who may not understand financial projections are other commonly-heard job negatives.
  • An accountant can be considered a bookkeeper, but a bookkeeper can’t be an accountant without proper certification.
  • He or she manages the accounting function, including ensuring month-end close processes and financial reporting functions are performed accurately and timely budget creation.

This type of bookkeeper can start at an entry-level position, and move all the way up to basically running the whole financial department — depending on their talent and knack for organizing the numbers. A General bookkeeper is responsible for recording all transactions into the general ledger, posting invoices and payments, and keeping up with monthly bank reconciliations. Bringing full-charge bookkeepers on board isn’t as simple as hiring them. Their skills need to be integrated effectively into your existing bookkeeping processes.

How to Negotiate a Salary Offer: Everything You Need to Know

The position can be assisted by an outside CPA who advises on how to record certain of the more complicated business transactions. The full charge bookkeeper may supervise various accounting clerks. For example, a billing clerk, payables clerk, or payroll clerk may report to the bookkeeper. This bookkeeper, Stephanie, has three years of experience primarily working in accounts payable while also dabbling in invoicing, sales tax, and financial reporting. Other programs charge annual or monthly fees and offer advanced features such as recurring invoices or purchase orders. While these services come at a cost, they can maximize the accuracy and efficiency of vital financial management processes.

The widespread use of computers and bookkeeping programs has dramatically cut down on the amount of time required for bookkeepers to perform their bookkeeping duties. As such, many offices now require bookkeepers to take on additional responsibilities, such as payroll, customer service, or billing. It helps the small business owner prepare financial records, keep track of cash flow and help prepare for the future.

How much can Bookkeepers Earn?

Uses computer systems to record invoices, checks, account statements, and other financial information. Check out our small business finance and accounting assessment to see if your current team is meeting your needs. We’re now hiring a Full Charge Bookkeeper to help us keep growing.

  • General business, accounting, and bookkeeping courses as well as management and software training will provide the required education and training.
  • With additional training, a full charge bookkeeper could be promoted into the controller position.
  • Talent, training, and experience all help determine a bookkeeping clerk’s chances for promotion.
  • As an experienced bookkeeper, you should demonstrate an increase in the level of responsibility or project scope in your work experience throughout your career.
  • The median annual salary for bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks was $28,570 in 2004, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • An accountant, by definition, usually has an accounting degree.

The controller ensures that the company’s accounting systems and processes comply with generally accepted accounting principles, help reduce risk and manage cash. Depending on the size and the lifecycle of a business, there are multiple options for how to manage the company’s financial operations. There are various roles, both internal and external, that can help with the day-to-day as well as the reporting and strategic advisory. Bookkeeping is not difficult to learn as long as you have a basic knowledge of math, accounting, and bookkeeping practices. It’s useful if you have some knowledge of how to do business taxes too.

Leave a Comment