Bookkeeper or Accountant?

Bookkeeper or Accountant?

Hi everyone, welcome to our blog!

In this section we will regularly post some tips, hints and key things many business owners need to know. If you are here it is already a good sign… you are looking for a Bookkeeper, or maybe an Accountant? Let me tell you the differences (and MANY similarities) between the two professions, so you can make up your mind.

All Accountants start as Bookkeepers, this is because Bookkeeping is the very basis and essential of accounting. Bookkeeping is the allocation of journal entries (transactions) which are necessary to build reports (Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet, Cash Flow, any report!). So, you can imagine, if it is no done properly, the rest will just result in a big, BIG MESS!

At the end of the financial year, everyone needs an Accountant, unless you can do the work yourself. So… why would you need a Bookkeeper?
Bookkeepers are very precise people. As mentioned before, if transactions (even one single one) are allocated to the wrong account, the rest will be messy, and you reports will not be faithful representation of your business activities. I let you imagine what could happen if the ATO would randomly check on you (yes, it can happen!).

So, what do Bookkeepers do exactly? We process your payrolls (including PAYGW), allocate your transactions, prepare & lodge your BAS (if you are GST registered), collect your receivables and pay your payables, and after many reviews, we hand over all the ‘ready to process’ documents to your accountant. Can accountants do this? Of course they can (although some decide not to), but they’ll charge you their accounting rates, which, trust me, are nothing like ours!

So, if your business is growing and you just do not have the time to focus on bookkeeping, make sure you go to a trustworthy, professional and reliable bookkeeper, and most importantly, make sure your bookkeeper is a registered BAS Agent. Why? Because registered BAS Agents must be qualified bookkeepers in order to receive their license, and they must keep up-to-date with the latest regulations and laws, so you know your business is always compliant with whatever is going on out there.


  1. When you say a book keeper collects receivables and pays payables, do you mean you actually chase up debtors and pay bills? I thought you guys simply recorded what I do as a business owner (and that I would chase outstanding debts, pay my bills, etc. etc.)

    1. Hi Jen,

      Yes that is correct. It all depends on what your agreement with your bookkeeper is. For those clients who wish to do nothing but running their business, their bookkeeper will collect their money and pay their bills for them 🙂

  2. Thanks for explaining the difference – it makes sense to me now. Also I had known some bookkeepers who were just good with figures but weren’t BAS Agents – so I guess that means they weren’t qualified and so why I needed an accountant to do that side of things! May I assume that if a bookkeeper is licensed then they would also have insurabce?

    1. Hi Donna,

      Yes, that is correct. If a Bookkeeper is a BAS Agent they must have indemnity insurance (it is one of the requirements to keep the license).

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