What is the difference between a bookkeeper and accountant

There is often an assumption that bookkeepers and accountants are much of a muchness, they both perform the same duties & tasks for your business, the books! This is not the case. Understanding the difference between the roles & responsibilities of Bookkeepers vs Accountants can be extremely beneficial, and allow you to take advantage of what they can each add to your business.

What does a Bookkeeper do?

The bookkeeper records daily financial transactions in a reliable & dependable manner. Bookkeeping is the stepping stone of accounting and is a fundamental aspect to the smooth running & overall financial viability of a business.

Common tasks performed by a bookkeeper include:

  • Bank & Credit Card Reconciliations
  • Purchases, receipts, sales & payments
  • Managing payroll
  • Processing of invoices
  • Debtor & Creditor management
  • Management of cashflow
  • Payroll Tax payments & reconciliation
  • Superannuation payments & reconciliation
  • BAS & IAS preparation and lodgement
  • Prepares reliable reports for Accountants

What does an Accountant do?

The accountant looks at the big picture and verifies the information provided by the bookkeeper for a specific accounting period. They offer high level financial & taxation advice. Accountants are more focused on analysing and reporting on financial data which can be easily interpreted by owners & investors etc.

Common tasks performed by an accountant include:

  • Prepare adjusting entries
  • Calculate depreciation
  • Preparation of financial statements
  • Preparation and lodgement of Tax returns
  • Financial forecasting
  • Strategic tax planning
  • Bring key financial indicators together

All in all, bookkeepers and accountants share common goals, and both parties contribute differently to the long term financial success of a business, at varying stages of the financial cycle. Bookkeeping is a platform to accounting. Whilst the two professions remain inseparable it is important to gauge and differentiate the different roles both the bookkeeper and accountant play in your business.

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