Same same but different: bookkeeper vs accountant
We get asked all the time – how can you be both a bookkeeper and an accountant? Easy. Whilst they are both different in skill set, in mindset and in the work we do, we feel you get the best deal if you have a bookkeeper and accountant who can work cohesively together.
If you are like many business owners, you may not be exactly sure of the differences between a bookkeeper and accountant – and whether you should hire one, or both.
An established or rapidly growing business will need the services of both an accountant and bookkeeper. The two professionals work in tandem, to ensure business financials are up to date and accurate, and the financial health of the company is carefully monitored and that a tax return is lodged for the business.
If you’re still in the early days of your business, you might choose to do the bookkeeping yourself, but a bookkeeper who has a passion for training can help set you on the right path with your software to streamline the process. Getting it wrong, will cause long term headaches that most business owners can do without.
A look at bookkeeping for small business
The primary role of a bookkeeper is to handle a company’s day to day financial management. A bookkeeper will take care of the small, often mundane, but important details that are essential for providing an accurate picture of where a business stands at any given moment.
In addition to a bookkeeper’s main job – making sure every transaction is accurately recorded in your software – they may also lend a hand with other key tasks like invoicing, paying suppliers and vendors, and processing payroll (note: Payroll is a service for a BAS agent which is a specific type of bookkeeper).
With the rise of cloud accounting software, your bookkeeper could be anywhere in Australia, and still be able to log in and assist you on a weekly bassi so you always have a true account of your bottom line.
Why you need an accountant
An accountant’s primary role is to help companies make sense of their numbers for the purpose of strategic planning – analyzing, summarizing, interpreting, and reporting on financial data in order to provide “big picture” business advice.
As a small business owner, you’ll want to work with an accountant from very early days to help with budgeting, forecasting, decision making and identifying opportunities to reduce costs and maximise profitability. In order to provide tax advice and lodge tax returns, you need a registered tax agent, which is a specific type of accountant.
Many business owners think they only need to talk to their tax accountant once a year, at tax time. But in order to be able to truly gauge the health of your business – and make the most of your tax accountant’s expertise – it’s recommended you check in before the shit hits the fan. Not after!
Having someone you trust with your financials is a great opportunity to bounce ideas off them, discuss opportunities or areas of concern, and get timely advice to help meet the goals you’ve set out in your annual business plan.
As your business grows, it’s essential to have trusted financial professionals managing your books and providing strategic financial advice. For your business to make those tough decisions around hiring staff, opening a new retail store, taking on a commercial lease, bringing in new product lines and the overall health of your business, your bookkeeper and accountant should be the people you have on speed dial.
After all, the busier you get, the more complex financial management becomes – and the less time you’ll have to maintain your books and try to make sense of all the data.
A trustworthy bookkeeper’s services are essential for a thriving business, and an accountant can do so much more than handle your taxes. Think of your accountant as a trusted business partner – someone whose services you rely on year round for advice on how to increase profitability as you take steps to achieve your business goals.