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What is the difference between a Bookkeeper and an Accountant?

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And do you need both?

The easiest way for me to get the ball rolling on this topic is with an analogy: 

“Accountants are like doctors while bookkeepers are like nurses.”

Similarly to expecting a doctor to check your blood pressure instead of trusting a very experienced nurse, most accountants won’t be focused on your payroll or monthly bookkeeping tasks.

So, are they the same? No. 

Do you need both? At different times for different reasons, absolutely. 

Out of the two, you will probably hear from your bookkeeper more frequently throughout the year. Bookkeepers maintain your business’ ongoing needs by staying on top of everyday tasks. This includes tasks such as data entry, GST reporting and lodgement, payroll management, superannuation lodgements, managing accounts receivable and payable, invoicing and preparing business performance reports based on this data. 

Accountants provide tailored information regarding your business at specific times throughout the year. This includes tax lodgements, tax planning, audit preparation, financial reporting compliance and overall business structures. 

As you can see, bookkeepers and accountants both have key roles in a small business. It’s important that you choose the right person for the right job to keep everything running smoothly. While there are some unicorns out there, most accountants and bookkeepers are specialists in their particular field with accountants looking at your financials at a summary level while bookkeepers are more involved in the day-to-day of preparing these financials.

Small businesses thrive when they use both professionals. AK Professional is a bookkeeping service that prides itself on working effectively alongside accountants. After all, we are all on the same team: YOURS!