Bookkeeping and Accounting: Difference, Process, Example

Thus, accounting information is communicated to both internal and external users via various accounting reports. Since everything was done manually, the errors in recording transactions were inevitable. Bookkeepers used to prepare Trial Balance in order to identify the errors made by them in recording entries recorded in various books of accounts. This is where the recording of business transactions becomes extremely important. Thus, a business needs to have a systematic record of the various transactions undertaken over the course of a given period.

  • Hiring a  bookkeeper helps you ensure accurate and up-to-date record-keeping, which forms the foundation of your financial system and sets accountants up for success.
  • While these services come at a cost, they can maximize the accuracy and efficiency of vital financial management processes.
  • Bookkeepers can benefit your business by freeing up more time in your schedule, minimizing financial errors, and generating accurate financial reports.
  • Mid-size and small public accounting firms pay, on average, about 10% less than these firms.

Yet, there are some key differences between the two that it is important for every business owner to understand. Further, it encompasses recording economic events that result in the transfer of money or money’s worth. Bookkeeping is all about identifying financial transactions and events and then keeping a record of these transactions.


For example, an audit firm can control the flow of funds and property of the customer. Some entrepreneurs have a negative attitude towards the very possibility of accounting being conducted remotely. This means that the control functions remain in the hands of the entrepreneur, and he/she becomes a kind of chief accountant. On identifying, measuring and recording the transactions in the order of their occurrence, they are communicated both to the management and other users of such information.

  • In this program, accountants learn about portfolio management, ethical financial practices, investment analysis and global markets.
  • Basic services could cost as little as $20 an hour while advanced services could be $100 or more an hour.
  • While the companies do not publish salaries on their websites, the benefits can be a large draw.
  • One of the best things you can do to help manage this important facet is to consider hiring an experienced bookkeeper and an accountant.
  • This is done to understand their impact on the financial position of the business.

If you are already a CPA, you can act as an enrolled agent without passing the exam. In short, accounting is the process of interpreting, classifying, analysing, reporting and summarising financial data collected during the bookkeeping stage. This article will help the students of Commerce in developing an understanding of the differences between bookkeeping and accounting. The purpose of accounting is to provide a clear view of financial statements to its users, which includes investors, creditors, employees, and government. Accurate bookkeeping is critical for business as it gives a piece of reliable information on the performance of a company.

Common Roles in Bookkeeping

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’ 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. However, if your accountant does your bookkeeping, you may be paying more than you should for this service as you would generally pay more per hour for an accountant than a bookkeeper.

When a bookkeeper wants to leap to being an accountant, they will need to take the CPA exam, plus earn a bachelor’s degree (most of the time), if they do not have one already. Fifty states plus the District of Columbia require accountants to earn 150 credit hours of college education before taking the national four-part Uniform CPA exam. As a business leader, you should have a good idea of which professionals best suit the needs of your company. As such, it’s important to know whether you need a bookkeeper or an accountant to keep track of your affairs. As an accountant, you must pay attention to figures and financial details, but it is more essential to possess sharp logic skills and big-picture problem-solving abilities.

Bookkeeping vs Accounting: Key Differences

Sure, most small-business owners don’t start businesses because they’re accounting experts. But keeping accurate books and understanding what the numbers mean can spell the difference between business success and failure. As you can imagine, there are quite a few differences between bookkeepers and accountants, including the level of education each job requires. Both bookkeepers and accountants need to be comfortable working with numbers all day.

Resources for Your Growing Business

Most businesses use an electronic method for their bookkeeping, whether it’s a simple spreadsheet or more advanced, specialized software. For small businesses, adept cash management is a critical aspect of survival types of budget in accounting and growth, so it’s wise to work with a financial professional from the start. If you prefer to go it alone, consider starting out with accounting software and keeping your books meticulously up to date.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects 6% job growth in this field from 2021 to 2031. In either case, familiarizing yourself with bookkeeping terms and accounting basics can certainly go a long way toward making the process easier. Yet, with the right tools, it’s possible to keep your business’s finances in order – quickly and easily. Bookkeeping does not depict the operating results of a business, whereas accounting indicates the operating results of a business. In this article, we’ll be going through the differences between the two terms and kinds of services, so that you can know exactly what to purchase when the moment comes.

Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. Discover more free Small Business Resources at the Intuit QuickBooks Resource Centre to help grow your business in South Africa today.