What is the difference between an accountant and a bookkeeper?

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There are quite a few differences between bookkeepers and accountants however there are also a few similarities/overlaps so often it can be hard to understand where the line between them starts and finishes – especially because sometimes they can actually be the same person…..OMG this is getting confusing now…..so back to basics.

In very general terms an accountant is degree qualified, whereas a bookkeeper isn’t.

Bookkeepers do the day to day things such as invoicing customers, processing supplier invoices, chasing customers for money, allocating cash received and paying suppliers, payroll, bank reconciliations and usually will get the accounts to a point (called Trial Balance stage) when the accountant will take over.

Accountants on the other hand usually help with income tax and business advisory. Unlike bookkeepers, most accountants generally don’t get into the nitty-gritty of your accounting system and get their hands dirty with your books they look at it from a high level, focus on the things they know the ATO are interested in and prepare compliance reports.  That said not all accountants were created equally and I am a little different here as I do most of the year end work in your accounting system and then transfer that data into the tax system.  The benefit to you is that your system says exactly what the ATO has and if I find you’ve made any mistakes throughout the year I fix them in your system because system integrity is critical for you to make informed decisions.

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