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What Is Bookkeeping? Everything You Need To Know

To maximize earning potential and secure long-term job stability, it’s worth pursuing a career as an accountant. Accountants come in to provide financial analysis based on the bookkeeper’s data. They may not be as involved with business operations, but accountants are essential to supplement the bookkeeper’s work. As both professions engage in managing finances, a lot of people may confuse a bookkeeper for an accountant, and vice-versa.

  • Generally, accountants must hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting to earn the title.
  • As such, candidates should expect a more competitive landscape if applying for available openings.
  • Their functions sometimes overlap as well, because bookkeeping is one part of the whole accounting process.
  • The analysis along with the calculation of different financial ratios helps the management and owners to lead the business in the right direction.
  • After passing the AIPB’s certification exam, you will be recognized as a certified bookkeeper.

They can specialize in areas like auditing, tax accounting, management accounting, or forensic accounting. Accountants can also advance their careers by becoming Certified Public Accountants or pursuing organizational leadership roles. Because their job responsibilities vary, bookkeeping and accounting require different skill sets. Generally, bookkeepers need to have excellent attention to detail, be well-organized, and understand accounting software well.

Why Study Economics & Finance (BA): Benefits and Career Paths

She is passionate about economic development and is on the board of two non-profit organizations seeking to revitalize her former railroad town. Prior to joining the team at Forbes Advisor, Cassie was a Content Operations Manager and Copywriting Manager at Fit Small Business. The top three skills for a Bookkeeper include Payroll Tax Returns, Customer Service and Reconciliations. Most important skills for a Staff Accountant are Reconciliations, Account Reconciliations and GAAP. Bookkeepers perform the task of producing economic reports and statements etc. In your business, each sale and purchase should be defined in the ledger, and maintaining the ledger is the primary purpose of a bookkeeper.

Yet as mentioned earlier, they serve the business in different stages of the financial process. In this guide, we’ll explain the differences between bookkeeping vs accounting in key areas that define these functions. If you opt to pursue certification through a college or university, check with your chosen school’s admissions wellness templates free office to verify the length of the program. Some programs are asynchronous, meaning you’ll pace yourself throughout the course, and you don’t have to log in at any particular time. You can also complete additional certifications to demonstrate your proficiency in advanced subtopics related to bookkeeping.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in accounting and becoming an accountant, career opportunities are wide open. Accountants can work in a wide variety of sectors, including private industry, public accounting, government and nonprofits. Careless mistakes that seem inconsequential at the time can lead to bigger, costlier, more time-consuming problems down the road. Rarely does a bookkeeper work on one big project for an eight-hour shift; instead, a typical workday involves juggling five or six smaller jobs. Nearly all bookkeeping is done using computerized accounting software and programs, so bookkeepers should be comfortable learning new technology if not proficient in it.

Do bookkeepers and accountants require different skill sets?

Bookkeepers don’t need a special certification, but a good bookkeeper is important for an accountant to have accurate financial records. It can be difficult to gauge the appropriate time to hire an accounting professional or bookkeeper ― or to determine if you need one at all. While many small businesses hire an accountant as a consultant, you have several options for handling financial tasks. Accounting software allows you and your team to track and manage your business’s expense reports, invoices, inventory and payroll accurately and efficiently. To choose accounting software, start by considering your budget and the extent of your business’s accounting needs.

Questions About Average Bookkeeper Salary

Bookkeeping is a great starting point if you are interested in the field but not fully committed and want to test the waters. You may also be an ideal bookkeeping candidate if you want a good job with a respectable wage and decent security but may not be looking for a long-term career. Bookkeeping offers much lower barriers to entry, and the competition you face in the job search is less fierce. Accountants and bookkeepers work with numbers and financial data all day long. This is the equivalent of around $45,000 per year, assuming a 40-hour workweek. The advantage of hourly pay is you receive 1.5 times your average wage for hours worked more than 40 per week.


It conducts valuable information from the analysis that helps a business owner to make critical decisions regarding the organization. The demand for qualified employees is another area where accounting and bookkeeper careers are very different. According to BLS, the demand for bookkeepers is predicted to fall by 5% between 2021 and 2031 as financial software becomes more advanced. Business owners will probably still have bookkeepers, but fewer employees will be able to manage record-keeping operations.

To receive this certification, an accountant must pass the required exams and have two years of professional experience. 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. There is a difference between an accountant and a certified public accountant (CPA).

This assessment can help determine whether your business needs a bookkeeper, an accountant, or perhaps both to ensure a robust financial management system. Bookkeeping ensures accurate records and compliance with financial regulations, while accounting provides the insights and analysis necessary for making informed business decisions. When comparing the two, neither is inherently better than the other—they’re complementary. Both bookkeepers and accountants need to be comfortable working with numbers all day. Bookkeepers especially should be able to spot issues with daily expenses and make sure all the data points are tracked correctly. Accounting is for trained professionals who can give a fuller summary of your company’s financial realities.

An accountant can be considered a bookkeeper but a bookkeeper isn’t considered an accountant without the proper education and certification. The biggest difference between the two is the educational background, certification, and licenses. Bookkeeper and accountant are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably and while what they do may overlap at times, there are some very distinct differences between the two. The two roles can have a significant impact on the success of your business.