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What is the difference between a bookkeeper and an accounting clerk?

Another key responsibility for accountants includes conducting routine audits to ensure that statements and the books are following ethical and industry standards. You can become a bookkeeper right out of high school if you prove you are good with numbers and have strong attention to detail. In fact, many aspiring accountants work as bookkeepers to get a foot in the door while still in school. Bookkeepers who excel at their jobs are also sometimes promoted to accounting positions, even if they lack the level of education the company typically prefers. If you’re ready to take bookkeeping off your plate and delegate this task to someone else, it can be hard to know where to look. Start by reaching out to other business owners for recommendations, searching online for providers and checking out reviews on Google or Yelp.

  • Of course, a background in accounting practices will help you ride out a learning curve as a new bookkeeper.
  • The service you decide to use depends on the needs of your business and may include extra features such as payroll or tax documents.
  • In this article, we will explore and clarify the variances, responsibilities, and required skill sets of both accounting clerks and bookkeepers.
  • If you don’t have a financial recording and reporting system in place but have a firm grasp on how you’ll be spending money, you need a bookkeeper.
  • A strong endorsement from a trusted colleague or years of experience are important factors when hiring a bookkeeper.

While certain tasks within these roles can be automated, the need for human oversight, analysis, and decision-making remains essential. Therefore, professionals in these fields should focus on upskilling and adapting to the technological advancements rather than fearing replacement. While entry-level positions exist for both roles, bookkeeping often demands a deeper understanding of financial operations and reporting. Therefore, employers often prefer bookkeepers to have prior experience or formal education in accounting or bookkeeping.

Why Is Bookkeeping Important?

Common software used includes QuickBooks, Xero, Sage, and Excel, which facilitate tasks such as data entry, financial statement generation, and bank reconciliations. Familiarity with electronic spreadsheets and word processing software is also crucial for efficient record-keeping and reporting. Bookkeepers are well-versed in accounting processes and can perform various accounting tasks. They can prepare financial statements, manage accounts payable and receivable, and even perform some tax-related duties. Yes, both bookkeepers and accounting clerks can work remotely, especially in the digital age where cloud-based accounting software enables access to financial records from anywhere.

  • Accountants generally have more education than bookkeepers, but it’s possible that you can get your foot in the door as a bookkeeper and end up working as an accountant.
  • Also, ensure that their offerings align with your business needs and can help you achieve desired results.
  • Bookkeepers prepare the information and documents that accountants need come tax season.
  • A manufacturer may employ a cost accounting clerk to prepare price quotes and to monitor production information.

Bookkeeping is the daily financial tracking of all of your daily financial transactions. The bookkeeper of a business might choose to use online bookkeeping software to track everything. I view an accounting clerk as a person employed by a larger company and having a more specialized role. For example, a large company may employ one or more accounts payable clerks to process a large volume of purchases and payments. The company may also employ a payroll clerk to process its many employees’ pay and fringe benefits.

Accounting Bookkeeper Vs Accounting Clerk

Check out the following to get a better picture of their respective responsibilities. Depending on the city, you can expect to earn between $40,000 and $60,000 your first year as a Big Four accountant. While the companies employment taxes for exempt organizations do not publish salaries on their websites, the benefits can be a large draw. For example, KPMG offers employees up to 25 days of paid vacation time, telecommuting opportunities, and a robust health insurance package.

What does an accounting clerk do?

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. When interviewing for a CPA, look for an accountant who understands tax law and accounting software and has good communication skills. They should understand your industry and the unique needs and requirements of small businesses.


Perhaps an accounts receivable clerk will be employed to focus solely on the company’s credit customers. A manufacturer may employ a cost accounting clerk to prepare price quotes and to monitor production information. The truth is that education requirements vary for both bookkeepers and accountants. There are some cases in which a high school diploma will suffice for either position. 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. While bookkeepers make sure the small pieces fit correctly into place, accountants use those small pieces to draw much more significant and broader conclusions about a company’s finances.

Advantages of an accountant

In bookkeeping, extra hours are typical during the busy tax season of January to mid-April. Growth for accountants and auditors is expected to continue for the next several years. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects 6% job growth in this field from 2021 to 2031. Outsourcing your accounting and bookkeeping department to an experienced team of CPAs is the best solution. With expert guidance, you can rest easy knowing that your finances are being managed with precision and in compliant with all relevant regulations.

How to decide if you need a bookkeeper or accountant

If you generally enjoy data entry and have high attention to detail, then it could be the end point, too. The overall function of bookkeeping is to identify, classify, and record all transactions. The level of complexity of the position is not relatively high; however, it does require keen attention to detail. Yet, their work is crucial in providing accountants with the information they need to be able to do so. Department of Labor’s Occupational Handbook, some of the most in-demand accounting jobs include comptroller, accounting manager, senior tax accountant, and internal auditors. If you are an external auditor, you will most likely have a job at a public accounting firm, and you will need to have a CPA license, plus a college degree, and often a master’s degree.

These areas define the roles and functions of bookkeeping vs accounting and show why they’re both essential to the business. Here’s the bottom line (pun intended) — both bookkeepers and accountants provide important duties to the overall functioning of a business. Bookkeepers who are interested in switching jobs but do not have a college degree might consider becoming an EA after a stint with the IRS. This job doesn’t require a college degree, only five years of tax experience with the IRS.