Bookkeeper vs Accountant vs CPA – What is the Difference?

bookkeeper vs accountant vs cpa

The general public finds it difficult to distinguish between bookkeepers, accountants, and CPAs (Certified Public Accountants) when they speak about them. Rather, they frequently refer to the terms in the same way. Here we will discuss about Bookkeeper vs Accountant vs CPA.

Although they all manage the money and strive toward the same objective, these individuals’ areas of expertise differ greatly. The extent of their work varies, but so does their professional standing.

Every business transaction involving money is documented by bookkeepers; accountants offer a more thorough examination of the financial transactions; and certified public accountants, or CPAs, are state-approved accountants.

Bookkeeper vs Accountant vs CPA


The regular, accurate, and consistent daily recording of a business’s financial transactions is known as bookkeeping. Put simply, it is the procedure for keeping records that facilitates accountants’ work.

Since the accountants receive access to the information bookkeepers retain, they typically don’t need any special training. Their fundamental duties consist of:

  • Maintaining proper records of all the daily transactions.
  • Entering Transactions.
  • Keeping a bill of goods sold and services provided.
  • Paying suppliers on a regular basis.
  • Engaging with payroll related tasks.
  • Loan Payments
  • Producing invoices.
  • Making financial reports.

Keeping a daily log, or ledger, is one of the main responsibilities of bookkeeping. A bookkeeper uses this daily record to keep track of all the money coming in and leaving out. A lined sheet of paper, an Excel spreadsheet, or a software program can all be used to construct it.

A lined sheet can be used to maintain the ledger in a small business, but if your transactions are complicated, you might need to use specialized software to handle them, such as QuickBooks.


Accounting may initially seem similar to bookkeeping since many of an accountant’s duties are similar to those of a bookkeeper. Although bookkeepers are employed by accountants, accounting is a far more sophisticated and analytical profession.

In order to provide financial estimates and recommendations on financial factors that impact the company’s growth, they study the financial data. Among their daily responsibilities are:

  • Providing useful tax advice.
  • Making financial transactions.
  • Keeping a track of tax liabilities.
  • Filing income tax returns
  • Updating bookkeeping practices to follow the norms.
  • Finding discrepancies in Accounting.
  • Developing and inspecting budget.
  • Engaging with Auditors.

Accounting provides firms with insights and reports that enable them to connect disparate financial data. Consequently, this puts the firms in a better position to identify the areas that are profitable and those that want improvement. It is in charge of converting the data from ledgers into statements that support firms in making better long-term plans and plans.

When decision-makers need assistance with predicting their budgets, figuring out their tax obligations, or filing taxes, they frequently consult accountants.


Accounting professionals who have advanced their knowledge and passed the CPA exam are known as CPAs. They assist people and businesses in preparing and filing their taxes and are certified by a certain state. In the event of an IRS audit, they are therefore your initial point of contact. Among their daily responsibilities are:

  • Making reports on transactions to keep a track.
  • Keeping the accounting records up to date.
  • Representing clients in front of the IRS.
  • Performing detailed audits.

A certified public accountant’s primary responsibility is to maintain and routinely audit the financial accounts of businesses, governments, and private citizens. Compared to ordinary accountants, CPAs are more reputable and have superior knowledge. They support organizations, enterprises, and people in managing their wealth and achieving their financial objectives. Those who have completed years of study and training, as well as a state CPA exam, are certified public accountants (CPAs).

Conclusion: Which Accounting software should you choose?

Every business and person must handle their funds and bookkeeping. To accomplish this, you must employ a bookkeeper (either full-time or on a contract basis), whose primary responsibility will be to balance the accounts and keep an organized record of all transactions.

To put it another way, a bookkeeper handles all of the “busy” tasks, such as managing payroll, creating reports, paying invoices, and reconciling accounts. Nonetheless, you should contact an accountant if you require a more comprehensive understanding of these reports and figures. In order to assist you achieve your long-term objectives, he will handle your taxes and enhance your cash flow.

Choose a CPA instead of an accountant, nevertheless, if your business dealings are complex and you require someone more reliable. The fact that only a CPA is authorized to represent you in the event that the IRS comes to knock on your door is another decisive issue.

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