Difference between accounting and bookkeeping?
Although the work of both an accounting professional (either an accountant, or accounting technician) and a bookkeeper often overlap, the roles are quite different. Bookkeeping is the first part of the accounting process, it focuses on recording and organising financial data. Accounting however, focuses on interpreting and presenting that data. Below you will find a more detailed description of both roles, which may help you to decide which is best for you.
A bookkeeper is responsible for keeping the finances running efficiently. This may include keeping an accurate record of the money coming in and out of a business, managing the day-to-day cash flow and payroll, and preparing invoices and tax returns. Bookkeeping is an attractive career choice as your skills will always be in demand from employers. Additionally, you may choose to offer your services independently and be your own boss, offering you great flexibility. It can be a great role to start in when pursuing a career in finance, with affordable entry routes and a relatively quick qualification time. Once you become qualified, there are many opportunities to progress into more advanced accountancy roles with further study.
Most bookkeepers are employed specifically within finance teams, in varied industries. So you may be employed in finance organisations, government departments, public or private sector organisations. Technological advances are continuing to change the role of a bookkeeper, so it is an exciting time to enter an evolving role.
The role of an accountant, and that of an accounting technician, can be more varied, as they focus on the bigger financial picture and are qualified to perform a wider range of tasks. An accountant or accounting technician will analyse the information provided by a bookkeeper to generate financial statements and forecast future business needs. Accounting professionals must be able to work under pressure and be natural problem solvers. As an accounting technician, you will be highly employable, as every business in all industries needs an accountant, which gives you the flexibility to choose to work in an area that you enjoy. Additionally, accounting skills are transferable, allowing you to work abroad in a country and industry of your choice. Similar to bookkeeping, accounting services can be offered independently, so you can choose to be your own boss or work for a company.
There are a variety of study options available to people looking to become an accounting technician or progress to being an accountant. Some may choose to go to university and then work while gaining their accountancy qualifications. Others choose to go straight into studying for accountancy qualifications. There is also the option to become an accounting technician apprentice, allowing you to work in an accounting role while studying simultaneously.
As you can see the roles of an accounting professional and a bookkeeper are very different. Although both careers have similar benefits including flexibility, the day-to-day tasks vary between the two.
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