What’s the difference between accountants and bookkeepers?

Difference between accountants and bookkeepers

Accountants and bookkeepers often get put into the same category, but they’re not exactly interchangeable. While the work of one can often also be done by the other, their roles differ in some integral ways and the ways they approach their work are often not the same either.

So, what is the difference between bookkeeping and accounting, and more importantly, how do you know which one you need?

What does a bookkeeper do?

Bookkeepers have always got their eye on the performance of a business, financially speaking. They keep track of what comes in and goes out, and create up-to-date reports to present that data in a clear way.

Bookkeepers can also complete VAT returns, oversee payroll, process invoices, and many other tasks that allow the smooth flow of financial transactions within a business. Like accounting, bookkeepers might offer their services on a self-employed or freelance basis, working with various companies but not specifically for any one in particular.

Also, despite us drawing up the differences between bookkeepers and accountants, bookkeepers will often use accounting software for their roles, or at least have some familiarity with it.

What does an accountant do?

Accountants can, and often do, perform all of the roles described above and more. However, the key difference with accountants is that they also bring analysis and a strong sense of interpretation to the data sets they work with, allowing them to give business owners and key stakeholders deep insights into how a business is performing.

These skills are what allow accountants to so often have a guiding hand in a business and help business leaders with strategy and planning. Their ability to ‘read the wind’ when it comes to finances can help companies avoid pitfalls they would otherwise be blind to, or access new ways of funding and saving costs that they weren’t aware of.

Accountants help all kinds of organisations, from small commercial businesses to government institutions. Their ability to audit accounts and recommend actions is what can turn suffering organisations around.

Do I need an accountant or a bookkeeper?

Accountants are more than capable of carrying out bookkeeping for businesses, making them the fix-all solution if you need jobs like payroll, invoicing, returns, and year-end accounts handled. Their ability to analyse and appraise your finances is a major bonus, as they can give you invaluable advice to take forwards, even if and when you no longer require their services.

To find an accountant in Manchester, Salford, Walkden, Monton, Swinton, Cheadle and the surrounding areas, contact MCC Accountants and talk about our services. We help SMEs to simplify their spending and understand their finances inside and out.

To find out more, contact us today.

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