Do I need a Bookkeeper or an Accountant?

bookkeeper or accountant

There are differences between bookkeepers and accountants and you could save money by knowing what those differences are. Apart from the obvious cost difference of each role, there are functions a bookkeeper generally does not perform. On the other hand there are jobs that an accountant will do but charge a lot more for – tasks that are more suited to a bookkeeper.

Bookkeepers and accountants work together, the bookkeeper preparing and entering the financial transactions, journals etc. Bookkeeping is a skilled job and a bookkeeper should have several years experience and/or a certificate or diploma or have completed relevant industry courses. A fully qualified accountant is a professional who has completed several years of post graduate education and training. An accountant will take the accounts to the next level, producing financial reports and analysis.

This article by Antonio from shares clear insights into the different roles.

Differences Between Bookkeeping and Accounting

“…Bookkeeping implies a more administrative work of keeping financial recording and retaining documentation for transactions. Many bookkeepers begin with performing functions of data-entry clerks, and then by gaining more experience in the field, their role within a company may evolve into being an accountant.

The functions of an accountant are more subjective. Their work may also involve reporting and business analysis to provide business owners with insights based on the information obtained through bookkeeping. As we see, a bookkeeper and accountant work in close cooperation. It is often that a bookkeeper is a link that helps maintain a strong business relationship between an accountant and management of a company.

Now, when we have acquainted with the basic terms, it’s time to learn the difference in their functional areas and the roles that bookkeepers and accountants perform within a company….”

In New Zealand the qualifications of an accountant are CA ANZ, CPA, ACCA, CIMA. A bookkeeper can qualify with an NZBAI. It is not necessary to a have a formal qualification for the bookkeepers role and most we meet are self taught. Several years experience in the finance department with hands on training is best. Accuracy and computer skills are essential as is knowledge of the General Ledger.

Lynley Averis

Lynley is an MYOB Certified Consultant & has been involved in training in New Zealand since 1985. She's written various accounting & MYOB workbooks including co-authoring “Bookkeeping for Dummies”. She has consulted on all versions of MYOB Accounting, Retail and Payroll over the past 18 years and has previously worked for MYOB. She currently consults to NZ businesses on all aspects of business systems - her mission for clients is for them to spend as little time as possible doing accounting!