The Differences Between Accounting and Bookkeeping

Have you ever thought to yourself, “Why should I hire a bookkeeper when my accountant does it all for me?” There are major differences between accounting and bookkeeping that many small business owners are not aware of. Your accountant can do your books for you, but a lot of times it comes at a much steeper price than just hiring a bookkeeper to keep track of your finances.

CPA’s (Certified Public Accountants) are certified in high-level accounting. That certification often comes with a higher price tag. There are certain things that only a certified accountant can do, such as your business taxes. In all honesty, that’s where the “money-maker” is for them.

On the flip side, you can hire someone to do your bookkeeping at a reasonable rate and keep your accountant to do your audits and taxes. If you ask your accountant, I bet that they would love to offload some of that work!

Defining Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is an indispensable subset of accounting. I’m sure you have some idea of what bookkeeping is, but has it ever been properly outlined for you?

Bookkeeping refers to the process of accumulating, organizing, storing, and accessing the financial information base of an entity. It can be broken out into two basic purposes:

  • Facilitating the day-to-day operations of the entity

  • Preparing financial statements, tax returns, and internal reports


Financial information should be complete, accurate, and timely (this one gets overlooked by many businesses!). As a virtual bookkeeper, I will make sure this information not only get completed accurately, but relayed to you in a timely fashion. You will not be behind in your bookkeeping reports anymore. Many bookkeepers (and accountants) are reactive to situations, but a virtual bookkeeper can be proactive and prevent issues from happening. We look at trends in your financial statements and help you correct any foreseeable financial strains.

Every bookkeeping system needs quality controls or internal controls built into it. Controls in a business would include making sure there are “checks” on processes. You probably have some of these built into your company and don't even realize it. Basically, it is making sure that there is a second person looking over everything (or a system check) to make sure things are being done properly. One such example is paying bills. There are only certain authorized signers on checks or wire transfers. Joe Smoe couldn’t write a check from your company and sign for it; Joe Smoe could create the payment and give it to you to sign off on (or verify that payment should be made). That is a type of control.


So, what are the differences?

Some of the key differences between a regular bookkeeper and an accountant are highlighted below. I am also going to take it one step further and outline how a certified virtual bookkeeper provides even more value than an average bookkeeper.

What a Classic Bookkeeper can do for you:

Chart 1 - revised.png

What a Certified Public Accountant can do:

What I can do as a Virtual Bookkeeper on top of normal bookkeeping tasks:

Chart 2 - revised.png


Regardless of how large your company is, it is critical for your success to ensure the financial accuracy of daily transactions. Using that data, you make decisions for the future of your business.

If you feel your business is growing too quickly and you are unable to keep up with the daily and monthly bookkeeping, you should look into hiring someone to help you keep track and make sense of your business transactions. While many small businesses hire an accountant outside the company, bookkeeping is more diverse. As a bookkeeper, the focus is solely on your books.


Not only are they affordable, having someone that is certified in bookkeeping software gives you peace of mind. Virtual bookkeepers are proactive, not reactive to situations. So they can stop problems from happening before they occur! Saving everyone time and money (and extra headaches!)

Now, I would like the opportunity to discuss your situation and how I can help guide you toward financial prosperity. If you’d like to take me up on this offer, please schedule your free 30-minute consultation.

Here’s the deal: I only serve a select handful of clients. I offer a real, hands-on experience, which limits the number of small businesses I choose to work with. If you don’t contact me, that’s totally fine, I understand.

Click here to to schedule your free consultation. I offer a limited number of free consultations so that I may tend to my current clients. So, please take me up on this offer now. I am a bookkeeper which means I am not a pushy sales person. I will be completely honest with you about your situation. After that, if we decide to move forward, that would be great. If not, that is fine as well. You should do what feels right for your business.

I hope this has been helpful and inspires you to take action.

Gary Lutz