Bookkeepers and Accountants: What’s the difference and why would you need both!

Written by: Marloes van lent

Written on: 22 August 2022

Bookkeeping & Business Tips

bookkeeper and accountant img

Bookkeepers and Accountants: What’s the difference and why would you need both!

When I first discovered I liked numbers, it was a pretty obvious choice to go to school to become an accountant. The route in the Netherlands is a little different, but eventually I ended up with my bachelors degree in Accounting and a job at BDO as a junior accountant technician. At that point I had to make a decision, am I going to continue going to school to become a Certified Professional Accountant?

After a year, I made the decision that it was not my calling and I switched careers to corporate accounting and found a job as an internal financial administrator. It felt way more rewarding working in a business with a team to achieve the same goal versus meeting audit requirements from a governing body (aka the CPA) and jumping through all the hoops to climb the career ladder in a CPA firm. Trust me, there are many layers!

Since I started my career in a CPA firm, I have a very good understanding of what they do and what they require to do their job.

What’s the difference between Bookeepers and Accountants

Let’s start with the dictionary:

– Bookkeeper: a person whose job is to keep records of the financial affairs of a business.

– Accountant: a person whose job is to keep, inspect, and analyze financial accounts.

So both start with keeping records, but I think the above explanation is a bit bare. I like to use the image below to explain it a further (borrowed from here).

In one sentence, the difference between bookkeeping and accounting is that a bookkeeper helps you with the day to day (hahaha what a coincidence, Day2Day!) transactions, like sales/payables and payroll, whereas the accountants help you with tax returns, tax planning and financial reporting requirements.

Why would you need both a bookkeeper and an accountant?

As the previous section states, both the bookkeeper and the accountant have different tasks and responsibilities. Can one do them both? Absolutely. I am a great believer that people excel at what they like. I can finish a tax return, but I don’t love doing them, therefore I am not properly serving you, the customer.

Same for an accountant, can they do bookkeeping? I’m 100% convinced that they can, but most of the time they enjoy doing taxes (weird eh?). So in order for the business to get the best of both worlds, I highly recommend working with both.

Below is a graphic I created to explain this visual. I chose the triangle as we are all connected and play an important role in the success of each other. We have to work together as a team. If your accountant doesn’t want to include your bookkeeper or vice versa, you, the business owner, are missing out and you probably end up spending more money in the end due to the lack of communication.

Over time Day2Day Books has developed many successful relationships with accountants locally and further away. If you currently don’t have an accountant you work with, reach out and we can help find you a good match!

Three ways Day2Day Books can help your business today:

  1. Keep up with your day-to-day transactions so you can feel confident in your books the whole year and not just at tax season!
  2. Building and maintaining relationships with both you and your accountant
  3. Help you find the right accountant for your business
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