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Accounting vs. Bookkeeping: What Is the Difference?

Written by prositesfinancialNov 3 • 2 minute read

Accounting and bookkeeping are critical duties for any business. They both ensure that businesses are financially compliant, economically sound, and capable of growing. The two professions are related, and accountants and bookkeepers frequently work together. The abilities and attributes required for each of these careers are also similar. However, significant differences exist, such as the type of work performed in each profession and the necessities for success.

Bookkeeping is the process of recording, storing, and retrieving all financial transactions for a business. On the other hand, accounting is a collection of financial knowledge that helps analyze, summarize, and interpret financial statements, product reports, and income data.

What Does Bookkeeping Entail?

A bookkeeper keeps precise records of a company’s financial data. The primary goal is to ensure that every entry is correct each day while preserving a record of all transactions in the books. Bookkeepers also ensure that a company’s accounts are balanced. They have the expertise and abilities to explain critical financial information to business owners, but generally do not advise on financial decisions.

A bookkeeper is proficient at maintaining paperwork and tracking a wide range of financial data. They are often in charge of documenting and verifying financial data for a firm or individual customer, such as checks received or issued, invoices, cost spreadsheets, and monthly or quarterly income.

What Does Accounting Entail?

Accountants are primarily in charge of supervising financial accounts and creating legally compliant financial statements and tax filings. They must be well-versed in financial laws and ethical concerns because their job includes analyzing data and offering financial recommendations that might significantly impact a business.

At the end of every financial period, an accountant will review the entries produced by bookkeepers. They accomplish this by preparing journal entries and creating records like profit and loss statements and balance sheet reports. This information is then interpreted to help the firm make various financial decisions.

Key Differences Between Accounting and Bookkeeping

Education Requirements

Generally, you do not need a college degree to become a bookkeeper, although postsecondary education can make you more competitive in the job market. Many bookkeepers begin their careers working for a small firm to gather experience before returning to school to get a bachelor’s or associate degree in accounting or finance.

On the other hand, if you want to work as an accountant, you are likely to pursue higher education. This is required if you want to become a certified public accountant (CPA), which involves passing an exam administered by your state. Most jurisdictions require CPA candidates to have at least 150 hours of postsecondary education in accounting, which is approximately 30 more hours than a bachelor’s degree.

Required Skills

Financial reporting errors that seem minor might lead to larger, more expensive, and time-consuming difficulties later on. Therefore, as a bookkeeper, your attention to detail must be almost supernatural. Additionally, you must be capable of multitasking. A bookkeeper’s typical workday consists of juggling five or six different tasks throughout an eight-hour shift.

To be a successful accountant, you must be able to pay attention to figures and financial details. It is also essential to have excellent reasoning capabilities and a knack for problem-solving.

Final Thoughts

While bookkeepers ensure that the individual parts of a company’s financial data are perfectly in place, accountants use those building blocks to derive substantial and broad conclusions about a company’s finances. Accountants and bookkeepers are integral to the financial success of any company, as both functions support efficient day-to-day operations and long-term business growth.

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