Bookkeeping vs. Accounting: What Start-Up Small Business Owners Need to Know
Updated: Jan 4
Whether you sell merchandise, invent products or provide a service: you earn money and you spend it. Bookkeepers are the ones that accurately account, organize and formulate all of this information into a pretty financial statement.
In this guide we break down the day-to-day role of a bookkeeper, and why you should be picky when trying to find one. Bookkeepers offer a literal look at where you stand financially in the moment, and accountants help you see the bigger picture and the path your business is on.
What is Bookkeeping?
Bookkeeping involves recording of financial transactions, including:
Accounts receivable and payable management (invoicing)
Petty cash management
Production of financial statements (Cash Flow, Profit and Loss Report, and Balance Sheet) Payroll processing and/or journal entries
A good bookkeeper relies on accuracy. That’s why bookkeepers often use software like QuickBooks Online to manage and track transactions, which cuts down on human error and provides customized reports.
What is Accounting?
Accounting is a broader term than bookkeeping. Accounting can refer to both the recording of financial data (like bookkeeping) and the compiling of that information into useful reports for both business purposes and tax agencies.
When comparing bookkeeping to accounting, accountants usually:
Tax prepartion and filings
It helps to think about both bookkeeping and accounting being part of the same accounting process. The recording of financial data (bookkeeping) is stage one of that process, and the interpretation of that data (accounting) is stage two.
Do you need a bookkeeper or an accountant?
If you have tried to manage the income and expenses of your own business you know that bookkeepers deserve some serious credit. It isn't as easy as writing checks and paying bills.
This business relationship involves a great deal of trust. Not only are you entrusting your bookkeeper with sensitive data, but you are also relying on their accuracy. A good bookkeeper never cuts corners, and they are the right hand to many business owners who want to spend time growing their business.
Do start-up businesses need a bookkeeper?
Early-stage startups can often get away with doing their own bookkeeping and accounting in the early stages of their businesses but it is not handled correctly, it can soon get out of control. As businesses grows, telltale cracks start to show in financial management processes.
Signs you need bookkeeping help
Not performing bank reconciliations at the end of each month
Your pile of financial records keeps getting bigger
Consistent cash flow problems
If you don't understand the Chart of Accounts and it's purpose
These issues can be resolved by getting a professional online bookkeeper. Even in small businesses or startups with tight resources, bookkeeping services like easie bookkeeping offers packages as low as $100 a month. Being able to base business decisions off of accurate data is essential as your business grows.
Try Monthly Basic Bookkeeping Services and Yearly Accounting Services
Most small businesses need a bookkeeper on a monthly basis, and an accountant for tax time or when audits happen. Combining a professional bookkeeping service with an accountant guarantees you are getting the financial health that your business needs.
Bookkeepers work with Owners and Owners work with Accountants
A bookkeeping service can provide all the data accountants need to process tax returns.