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If you ask the average person in the street whether they know the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant, they might struggle to tell you. They both help businesses with their financial administration, so aren't they interchangeable? Why on earth would an accountant need the services of a bookkeeper?
It's a common misconception; whilst there is some common ground, bookkeepers and accountants have different skillsets. These are much better utilised for separate functions which complement each other rather than being in direct competition.
Bookkeepers undertake the gathering and recording of a business's financial transactions, detailing how much is made and spent. Attention to detail is essential - they collate receipts, purchases, sales and other payments. They can get involved in processing payrolls, estimating revenue and expenditure and balancing the books, and they can prepare management reports, VAT and CIS returns.
Accountants are responsible for interpreting, classifying, analysing, reporting and summarising financial data. They will look at the overall perspective of a business and give advice and recommendations on future planning and tax issues.
To use a jigsaw puzzle analogy, a bookkeeper fits the pieces together perfectly, because if even one is in the wrong place it won't work, while an accountant examines the resulting image and uses it to create part of a bigger picture.
When you look at it this way, it's clear that accountants can find the services of a proficient and reliable bookkeeper extremely useful, both for their own businesses and also while working collaboratively for other organisations. An accountant may not want to get tied up in the intricacies of payroll, and might find the downtime necessary for collating receipts could be put to far better use earning money for his or her own business or for a client.
Here at AMR Bookkeeping Solutions, we work regularly with accountants and have formed some enjoyable and productive business relationships; we love working with other finance-savvy businesses. If you're an accountant, why not maximise your efficiency and see how the services of a professional bookkeeper could help you?
Get in touch with us and find out how our friendly and helpful bookkeeping experts can help your accountancy business.