The clear distinction between an accountant and a bookkeeper can sometimes seem difficult to highlight. This is because they both handle the financial information of the business and sometimes the accountant performs the role of the bookkeeper.
But nonetheless, that does not mean that they are not different. The difference couldn’t be any clearer.
A Bookkeeper records the daily transactions and organises the business’s financial information.
An Accountant, on the other hand, is tasked with the analysis, classification, interpretation, and reporting of financial information.
Usually, to handle the financial information of any business you need to be knowledgeable and attentive to detail, but the level of knowledge you need to be a bookkeeper and an accountant vary.
While you may not need to have any formal training to become a bookkeeper, you need to have a bachelor’s degree in Accounting to be an accountant and even become a chartered accountant to be qualified for most accounting roles.
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Another area the bookkeeper defers from an accountant is the duties they perform. Specifically, the bookkeeper is responsible for posting debit and credit entries, producing and receiving invoices, maintaining financial records, managing bookkeeping software, as well as assisting the accountant in handling other relevant tasks etc.
The accountant’s job defers in the sense that s/he is more of an overseer to the bookkeeper. For instance, s/he approves recommendations from the bookkeeper on what software they can use. The accountant is responsible for generating financial reports for the business in tune with the standard and legal requirements.
He can advise the business on matters relating to tax, government policies and other issues pertaining to finance.
So you see, while the accountant and bookkeeper can sometimes seem to do the same thing, they are distinct in responsibilities, qualification and focus.