Bookkeeper vs. Accountant [Part Two]: Who Does What?

In yesterday’s blog post we reviewed what your “books” are and exactly why your business cannot thrive without an accurate and up-to-date set. We ended with a question regarding the different relationship your bookkeeper and accountant have with that same set of books.

To start, think of it like this. If your business is a battleground to gain profit and a fight against rising expenses, your bookkeeper is going to be in the trenches with you. Looking at the battle plans, boots on the ground, offering you directional support in real time. Your accountant on the other hand is a helicopter pilot, flying overhead, offering tactical advantage when needed and giving you a clear big picture.

Some common tasks a bookkeeper might be involved in:

  • Recording of all spending and income
  • Overseeing payroll
  • Managing accounts payable and accounts receivable
  • Filing and paying of monthly or quarterly taxes as well, as annual licenses and fees
  • Assistance in budget oversight and KPI analytics
  • Providing clear, up-to-date financials so business decisions are based on real time info

Some common tasks an accountant might be involved in:

  • Preparing and filing of annual federal and state tax returns
  • Providing bookkeeper with quarterly tax payment estimates
  • Advising on best practices during business start-up
  • Advising on compliance
  • Advising on tax benefit/cost of major business changes or decisions
  • Advising on investment funds (retirement, etc.)

Can you see the theme? Both are vital to the accuracy and compliance of your finances but serve you on the day to day in very different ways. Think hands dirty versus oversight and analytics. Now sure, you could ask your accountant to handle some of those bookkeeping tasks for you but chances are you will pay exponentially more in fees and the info may take a lot longer to come by.

So what is the best game plan for you when it comes to the management of your finances? Remember, keeping an accurate set of books is not just about compliance, it is about more profit and saved cost for you! The old adage, “If it doesn’t get measured, it doesn’t get managed,” comes to mind. You need to be able to clearly see what needs to be corrected to meet your goals against the measuring stick of your current financials.

Bottom line, make sure you have a bookkeeper who uses modern technology and tools (again — this saves YOU time and cost) to accurately keep your books up to date. Make sure you have an accountant that is willing to work alongside of your bookkeeper to collaborate for the most efficient execution of the business strategy that suits you best. Don’t just do the bare minimum check-in at the end of the year.

If you feel lost here, we would love to help! At Two Roads, we have both a tax division and a bookkeeping division that collaborate together for your greatest good! Many of our bookkeepers have accounting backgrounds and all are experts in their field. This equips you with the timely tools you need to make effective and profitable decisions for your company and save you loads of headache at the end of the year!

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