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

Mar 7, 2020 | Accounting, Bookkeeping, Business, Small businesses

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.

For a small business bookkeeping can be managed manually in “day-books” or on a spreadsheet, but more usually it’s done with software ideally suited to owner managed business such as Xero

Whichever method is used, a bookkeeper is responsible for ensuring that 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 practice.  When bookkeeping 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).

Accounting also involves interpreting and understanding the information, looking at the trends and making sure the business owner understands the figures

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.

We love helping ambitious companies grow is our passion. Our Virtual Accounts Office can look after all your bookkeeping and accountancy needs leaving you to concentrate on what you do best.

So, let’s talk – call us on 01202 755600 or drop an email to and we can arrange a good time to chat about your business and how we can help.