If you happen to be someone who enjoys working with numbers, you consider yourself to be extremely organized and you don’t mind working in an office environment (or even as a consultant for a company), have you ever thought about either becoming a bookkeeper or an accountant? They are both competitive jobs, the pay is good and they can be challenging yet fun positions.
However, before you start combing the newspaper or internet for bookkeeping or accounting positions, we did want to take out just a moment to share with you some of the differences between both professions; just so that you can select one what will ultimately be the best for you.
So if you’d like to know what a bookkeeper does vs. an accountant, please keep reading.
The Role of a Bookkeeper
When a company is looking for someone to keep up with its financial books, there’s a pretty good chance that they will either hire or contract a bookkeeper. With the help of a software program like QuickBooks, bookkeepers are able to record business transactions, keep up with accounts payable, inventory and sometimes, they are also in charge of handling payroll. They are usually also required to turn in either monthly, quarterly or annual reports of the work that they’ve been doing. As far as the educational requirements that you need for this position, while not all employees will expect you to have a four-year degree in business or accounting, an associate’s degree (a two-year program) is strongly desired. Also, working to obtain a national bookkeeper certification (from the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers) is preferred. This is something that you can apply to get after having two years of working experience as a bookkeeper and having the certification helps to make you a major contender when applying for a bookkeeping position.
The Role of an Accountant
An accountant is a level up from a bookkeeper. Although they can do the duties of a bookkeeper, their focus is more driven towards strictly dealing with a company’s finances by preparing detailed reports and also helping them to prepare their finances. As a matter of fact, if an accountant works to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), they are also able to represent a company when it comes to dealing with the IRS as it relates to some kind of tax issue, including an audit. In order to land an accountant job, you will need to earn your four-year degree, preferably in accounting. And although you are not required to be a CPA in order to have an accounting job, by passing that exam, it does give you a certain level of credibility within the industry along with a substantial pay increase.
No matter which profession you choose, you will need to be patient, analytical, organized, have strong math skills and willing to sometimes work long hours (especially during tax season). But if you feel like you have the right traits for either position, it’s definitely something to strongly consider. For more information on how to become a certified bookkeeper, visit certifiedpublicbookkeeper.org. For more information on how to come a certified accountant, visit CPAExam.com.