If you are a small business owner, you will be familiar with juggling several tasks at once. As well as keeping things running, you need to generate income, keep your customers happy and look after financial information. Tracking the financials can be a chore though, and one of the most significant questions you might have is whom you get to help with your accounts. Do you need an accountant, a bookkeeper or both? Let’s demystify things.
Accountants and bookkeepers have different jobs and responsibilities. An accountant’s primary focus is:
the preparation and lodgement of statutory returns
advising on legal entity structures
giving general business and financial advice.
Accountants are usually members of a statutory association. Qualified and registered accountants might call themselves CPAs (Certified Public Accountants), CAs (Chartered Accountants) or other titles, depending on the country they are working on.
Bookkeepers can manage lots of different responsibilities within a small business. However, the primary focus is the organisation, recording and reporting of financial transactions as part of the operational life of a small business. In more recent times, some bookkeepers have extended their range of duties to include:
training clients to use accounting software
implementation of document management and inventory control processes to create efficiencies within the business
implementation of POS (point of sale) systems that capture the daily transactions in a retail environment.
Develop, implement maintain and review internal business processes.
You will often find that a bookkeeper has an area of specialisation and it is a great idea to ask them more about this when you are looking at hiring them for services.