What’s the difference between and accountant and bookkeeper?

What’s the difference between and accountant and bookkeeper?

Many business owners need a range of services to help them run their business, including an accountant and bookkeeper.

For some of our clients from across the UK, we look after their books as well as their accounts from our HQ in Newcastle. But for others, we may only provide one service. And for larger companies, we may also look after other financial matters, such as their payroll.

People often mistake a bookkeeper for an accountant and vice versa. But the roles are quite different.

What is accounting?

Accounting is a term covering a number of processes including services such as tax planning, financial reporting and VAT returns. Basically, the term accounting covers everything your business needs in terms of financial responsibilities and economic development.

Your business needs to establish, maintain, report and control its finances legally.

What is bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping is one aspect of the accounting practice. While accounting refers to everything financial, bookkeeping is a specific part of the financial management system.

Running a business means having income and outgoings. These need recording correctly to prepare accurate accounts. Making and keeping track of these records is classed as bookkeeping. They help you track and maintain your financial status.

The different roles of an accountant and bookkeeper

While there are similarities, an accountant and a bookkeeper are not the same. While an accountant can be a bookkeeper, a bookkeeper cannot be an accountant.

The difference can be explained like this:

  • An accountant is a financial professional with certifications and significant experience and often has a financial accounting degree.
  • A bookkeeper can be good with numbers and managing figures. They may have experience and qualifications, but these are not in accountancy. As a result, they cannot carry out accounting tasks.

At Concept Accountancy, you can be sure that you are dealing with certified accountants. We are ACCA approved accountancy practice. This means that the practice is led by a fully qualified chartered certified accountant, and is a mark of excellence.

Which do I need?

The majority of businesses need an accountant, while some look after their own books. If you own a business and are not organised, it is probably worth considering a bookkeeper, as it will streamline your records and reduces the risk of errors.

You need to ask yourself:

  • Do I need support to manage my income, expenses and recording finances and keeping track of my money? If that’s the case, you need a bookkeeper.
  • Am I in need of advanced financial support, such as help with tax, HMRC and economic advice as well as record-keeping? If you need this level of assistance, you need an accountant.

While solely hiring a bookkeeper is less expensive than an accountant, this reflects the fact they cannot offer advanced business financial help and support.

Whether you need a bookkeeper or an accountant, Concept Accountancy offers both services. So, if you are unsure about the advice your business needs, contact us today for a free initial advice meeting.