Both accounting and bookkeeping deal with the financial data, but this is where the similarities end. While some people choose to use the terms bookkeeping and accounting interchangeably, there are several key differences between the fields.
In this blog post, we will aim to dispell some of the myths and share our insight into what makes bookkeeping so distinct from accounting. Starting with…
Bookkeepers record, accountants analyse
As mentioned above, both professions deal with financial data, but the way they deal with it is vastly different. Bookkeepers are prized for their ability to accurately keep records of financial transactions for a business. Accountants, on the other hand, analyse these records in order to offer actionable insight for the company decision makers.
Bookkeepers don’t prepare financial statements
At the end of every tax year, companies are required to prepare financial statements showing their incomings, outgoings, assets and more. Bookkeepers do not have to worry about this aspect of the job. However, the financial information that they collect and record throughout the year will be vital for the accountant to be able to do their job in preparing said financial statements.
Bookkeepers are methodical, accountants are problem solvers
Accountants and bookkeepers often possess very different skillsets. Bookkeepers are required to be methodical in their approach to work. They require keen attention to detail as mistakes could easily lead to accounting errors. Accountants, on the other hand, are often seen as the problem solvers of the financial sector. They might be tasked with finding ways to save the company money and this requires a little more critical thinking. Where bookkeepers deal with what is accountants deal with what could be.
Bookkeeping is done on a daily basis while accounting may be quarterly or annually
One of the biggest differences in the bookkeeping/accounting job roles is the scope. In bookkeeping, you will be occupied with the here and now. The immediacy of the job is evident in the way that bookkeepers will be occupied with daily financial records. Contrast this to accountants, who may be looking at three months of accounts, or even a whole year. Accountants may also have to look months and years ahead, offering financial projections based on past data. As a bookkeeper, you only need to be concerned with keeping accurate daily financial records.
You can train as a bookkeeper in as little as 5 days
If you have a head for numbers, you could train to be a bookkeeper in as little as 5 days. We offer an AAT Level 2 bookkeeping training which takes just 5 days to complete. You can also take the same course on a part-time basis and it will take 10 weeks to complete. This course will help you to develop your understanding of bookkeeping and allow you to launch your career in finance. In contrast, most accountants will study for three years as part of a degree programme.
Bookkeepers can work from anywhere
Once you qualify as a bookkeeper, the opportunities for work can be found far and wide. Since bookkeeping doesn’t require the bookkeeper to be on the premises to do their job effectively, you could work for any company in the country. You could even take your job search global since bookkeeping principles are likely to be the same everywhere in the world.
If you’re looking for a flexible role, bookkeeping can offer great career progression without giving up your personal freedom. Accountants are more likely to be asked to work on-site every day, which can limit your job search. Although, accountants may have the opportunity to enjoy some travel as part of their work.