What Are The Key Differences Between An Accountant And Bookkeeper?
Thinking of becoming an accountant or a bookkeeper? This is the perfect guide to help you understand and find out which role best suits you. Discover the differences between accounting and bookkeeping, the skills required for each career, how to become an accountant or bookkeeper, salary insights and more.
Bookkeeping vs Accounting: What is accounting and bookkeeping?
Accounting and bookkeeping are two related fields that manage financial transactions and help organisations keep track of their money. Essentially, these fields involve recording and analysing financial information to help businesses make informed decisions.
What is the difference between an accountant and a bookkeeper?
While the terms “accountant” and “bookkeeper” are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between the two roles. In general, bookkeepers are responsible for recording financial transactions and maintaining accurate financial records for a business or organisation.
This can involve bookkeeping tasks such as:
Bookkeepers typically have a solid understanding of accounting principles and may use accounting software or bookkeeping software, such as Xero, to manage financial data and record transactions.
Accountants, on the other hand, typically have more advanced training and specialise in accounting and financial analysis.
They use the financial records maintained by bookkeepers to:
Accountants may also be responsible for auditing business transactions and financial records to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.
Overall, the main difference between financial accountants and bookkeepers is that bookkeepers focus on maintaining accurate financial records, while accountants focus on using financial data to help with business decisions, strategic guidance and insights.
Browse Accounting & Bookkeeping Courses
What are the skills required for a career in accounting and bookkeeping?
Attention to detail is key for both accounting and bookkeeping. You’ll need to be able to spot errors and discrepancies in financial records, and you’ll need to be comfortable working with numbers. Other important skills include analytical thinking, problem-solving, and proficiency in accounting software and technology. Good communication skills are also essential, as you’ll likely be working with other team members and clients.
How much does an accountant or bookkeeper earn?
An accountant’s and bookkeeper’s salary can depend on several factors such as qualifications and experience, industry, location, company size, and job responsibilities.
How do I become an accountant in Australia?
To become a qualified accountant in Australia, you typically need to follow these steps:
- Meet the educational requirements: To become an accountant in Australia, you need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field. You can also complete a postgraduate qualification, such as a Master of Professional Accounting or a Graduate Diploma in Accounting.
- Gain work experience: To become a skilled accountant, you need practical experience. Many accounting firms offer internships or graduate programs to help you gain experience and build your skills.
- Register with a professional body: To work as an accountant in Australia, you need to be registered with a professional body, such as CPA Australia, the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), or the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ). These bodies provide support, training, and networking opportunities for accountants.
- Obtain a professional certification: Many accountants choose to obtain a professional certification, such as the Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) designation, the IPA designation, or the CA ANZ designation. These certifications demonstrate your expertise and can help you advance your career.
How do I become a bookkeeper in Australia?
To become a bookkeeper in Australia, you typically need to follow these steps:
- Meet the educational requirements: While there are no formal educational requirements to become a bookkeeper in Australia, most employers prefer candidates with a qualification such as a Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping. This courses cover topics such as bookkeeping fundamentals, financial statements, payroll processing, and tax compliance.
- Get work experience: Practical experience is essential to becoming a skilled bookkeeper. You can start by finding a job as an entry-level bookkeeper or working as an intern. You may also consider volunteering your services to gain experience and build your portfolio.
- Join a professional association: Joining a professional association can help you network and stay up to date with industry news and best practices. Some of the top bookkeeping associations in Australia include the Australian Bookkeepers Network (ABN), the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB), and the Australian Bookkeepers Association (ABA).
- Consider obtaining certification: While certification is not mandatory for bookkeepers in Australia, obtaining certification from a recognised professional organisation can enhance your credibility and demonstrate your expertise to clients. The two main certification options are the Certified Bookkeeper (CB) designation from the ICB and the Registered BAS Agent (BAS Agent) designation from the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB).
Accountants and bookkeepers are essential to all types of businesses, from small start-ups to large corporations, and across all industries such as healthcare, technology, hospitality, education and more. Don’t miss the opportunity to work in this high demand, stable and well-paying career.