Accountant v’s Bookkeeper – Which do you really need.
Okay, so I’m on social media a fair bit and I often see people asking for either an Accountant or for a bookkeeper. Their lovely friends then go on to give their referrals…… which is great….. if we all really understood what we were asking for or what we are referring to. You see there are times when someone has asked for an accountant and I’ve been referred. I make no claims to be “one of them.”. There are times when a bookkeeper has been asked for and accountants are referred. So…. Accountant v’s Bookkeeper – which do you really need.
I’m a bookkeeper who assists new companies on understanding their financial statements. (I’m a keener and like to go that little bit further.) However I could be exactly what the business owner is looking for. As a bookkeeper who has worked many years in a public practice accounting firm, let me give you my take on the difference. For the cynical among you, it isn’t just cost.
In short, bookkeepers deal with the day to day. They get down in the details. Bookkeepers are the ones who enter the transactions. They reconcile your bank statements and make sure everything balances to the penny. Bookkeepers are on the ground floor.
Accountant’s on the other hand look at the bigger picture. They fly at 36,000 feet. They want your bookkeeper to have done the best possible job so they have accurate numbers to work with. I do not know of a single accountant who truly want’s to do bookkeeping. Accountants did not go to school for 4 year and spend another few years getting a designation just to enter day to day transactions.
Accountants will use the information your bookkeeper has given them and steer you in the right direction to grow your business. They will help keep you on the straight and narrow with tax filings. A bookkeeper can and will file Goods and Services Tax filings for you. A bookkeeper should not be filing corporate or personal tax returns. These returns need to be filed by a licensed practitioner which is why you need an accountant to file for you. (You can file your own tax return with the correct software however if someone is charging you to file your return, they must be licensed.) Also for corporate tax returns there are many different tax codes/rates for different assets. Rely on you accountant to keep up to date with all of these.
A good bookkeeper can help you with some strategic planning. After all they work with numbers all the time, work with many different industries and have seen the good the bad and the ugly. They should also be able to help you with budgets and cash flow planning.
A good bookkeeper will keep your accounting bill lower. The more accurate your bookkeeping is, the less work the accountant has to do.
A quality bookkeeper can give you so much more than simple data entry record keeping. In short you really need both. A good bookkeeper is loved and adorned by both a business owner and your accountant alike.