Bookkeeper or accountant? What's right for your business?


What's right for your business - a Bookkeeper or an Accountant - or both?  And how do they differ?


If you're not sure, then this explanation should help you understand the differences between the two functions. 



Bookkeeping is the recording of day to day financial transactions, including sales, purchases, all income, and payments.


The process can be managed manually in "day-books", but more usually it's done with bookkeeping software (from simple products like Clearbooks to heavyweights like Sage)


Whichever method is used, the bookkeeper is responsible for ensuring all transactions are recorded in the correct day book, suppliers ledger, customer ledger and general ledger and that VAT is treated correctly.  The bookkeeper brings the books to the trial balance stage ready for hand over to an Accountant.


Bookkeeping is usually performed by a Bookkeeper (it seems obvious.....but it's not always the case in practise.  And when bookeeping is undertaken by a 'non-bookkeeper' that is when things can go adrift).


The Bookkeeper (sometimes incorrectly referred to as book-keeper) is also known as an Accounting Clerk or Accounting Technician.



Accounting is the creation of reports from the records of financial transactions recorded by the bookkeeper. They can be management reports tailored to the needs of the business (eg weekly or monthly profit/loss figures), or statutory reports that need to be filed with HMRC or Companies House (eg Annual Accounts).


So, you can see that an Accountant is dependant on accurate information being presented on time by a Bookkeeper in order to do things properly.



So, in answer to the question "what's right for your business" you probably need both - a bookkeeper for day to day record keeping and to deal with VAT returns, and an Accountant to help you manage your business, and prepare the year end accounts and your personal tax submission.


And that's where we at ASfB have the winning solution.  We cover the whole process from end to end seamlessly.  And that makes for a more efficient service at lower cost than using a separate bookkeeper and accountant. 


And because we have a background of business ownership and management we also have that 'something extra' to offer in experience and practical understanding of what running a business is really about.


Where We Work

Tayfield House
38, Poole Road
Dorset, BH4 9DW

  • Tel: 01202 755600
  • Fax: 01202 755744
  • Email:

Member of the Certified
Public Accountants
Association  (CPAA)

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