Bookkeeper vs. Accountant – What’s the difference anyway?

Oftentimes, clients confuse bookkeeping with accounting and vice versa. Although both professions are rooted in making sense of your books, there are key differences that you should know.

Bookkeepers “keep the books”

Bookkeepers get your books in order by providing services like, but not limited to:

  • Detailed data entry – including all those receipts you’ve kept stashed in shoe boxes over the years, they utilize your documents to build the financial structure of your business.
  • Payroll processing
  • Invoicing
  • Paying bills
  • Government remittances, such as payroll and GST/HST
  • Monthly financial statements – income statement, balance sheet and cash flow.

Essentially, everything you need to run the day-to-day operations of your business can be performed and managed by a bookkeeper.

Accountants pick up where a bookkeeper leaves off

Accountants are big picture people who review the books that the bookkeepers provide to help you make smart financial decisions, pay your taxes, and plan for the future.

Some accounting tasks include:

  • Yearend adjusting entries – like depreciation, allowances, etc.
  • Preparing yearend financial statements – yearend income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow
  • Communicating the financial impact of the numbers to past, present, and future decisions

At the end of the day, your best business decision is to work with both an accountant and a professional bookkeeper to ensure that your business decisions are sound and based on balanced books.