Bookkeeper vs Accountant vs CPA

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What’s the difference between a bookkeeper, an accountant, and a CPA? Which does your business need? We are here to explain.

People commonly use the terms “bookkeeper,” “accountant,” and “CPA” interchangeably because they don’t really know the difference. They are all professionals who understand finances and can help keep yours in order, but it’s important to learn which one you and your business need. A smaller company that is in need of day-to-day expense tracking might consider hiring a bookkeeper, while someone who is facing an audit might want more serious help from a CPA.

Bookkeeper

Every small business should have a bookkeeper taking care of their general finances. No small business owner wants to spend their valuable time keeping financial records when they could be using it to keep the company on track and running smoothly. If you don’t already have a bookkeeper, you’re probably wondering what they do and what the benefits of hiring one would include. Bookkeepers are not required to have any sort of professional training or certifications, though All About Businesses takes pride in being QuickBooks certified, but don’t let that take away from their value. Hiring a bookkeeper would mean you don’t need to worry about tracking any sort of general accounting tasks, because they will take care of them for you. Bookkeepers usually take care of the following:

Those are the main tasks a bookkeeper will take care of, but they are capable of so much more. Save yourself from a future headache and hire a bookkeeper to manage your business finances. Your stress levels and your bank account will thank you!

Accountant

An accountant is not a bookkeeper, but they are capable of taking care of bookkeeping tasks, though usually at a higher rate. An accountant focuses more on analyzing financial data gathered through bookkeeping and come up with projections and provide advice on how to help a company grow financially. They are not required to be certified, but most usually get a degree in accounting or some form of higher education to verify that they can take on the complex role. The job of an accountant generally includes:

  • Verifying data gathered by a bookkeeper
  • Analyzing the data for potential growth
  • Helping you understand where the business stands financially
  • Preparing various financial reports, including tax returns
  • Preparing detailed financial statements
  • Providing tax advice
  • Assisting in audits

If you are looking for an in-depth analysis on your finances, ways to improve profit, and a better understanding on what areas are lacking, you might want to consider hiring on an accountant. They can help you plan out and reach your long-term goals.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

As you can probably gather from the name, a CPA is an accountant with certifications that guarantee they have a higher level of education and expertise. A CPA is required to pass the Uniform CPA Examination and state licensing requirements. They have gone through years of education, training, and are incredibly knowledgeable on all things finances. A CPA’s tasks might include:

  • Preparing and reviewing detailed financial statements
  • Preparing and signing tax returns
  • Understanding the tax laws for your state
  • Performing details audits
  • Representing a taxpayer before the IRS

Hiring a CPA is a good idea if you’re facing an audit, but not entirely necessary otherwise. They can still help you with a detailed analysis of your finances, but remember that the higher their education, the higher their rates.

Which Accounting Professional Does Your Business Need?

Every business, no matter the size, should have someone to manage their books and general finances. If you’re looking for more in-depth reports on your finances, you might consider having your bookkeeping work under an accountant or CPA. Hopefully this blog provided some insight on who you need to help manage your business expenses, but if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to the team members of All About Businesses.

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