Whatcha Need? Bookkeeper or Accountant?

Short answer:  both.


Bookkeepers handle the day-to day work of managing your books.  They handle the billing, process receipts, and pay the bills incurred by running the business.

Accountants, at least in the state of California, are licensed Certified Public Accountants.  Their primary job – interfacing with the IRS.  They keep you from that headache, so go CPA’s!  But if you ask them a detailed question pertaining to the day-to-day input of stuff – your chances are about 50/50 that they will be able to give you an accurate answer.

Accounting is a field of expertise.  You can ask someone, ‘what do you do?’ and they will answer ‘work with animals’.  OK, do they run a pet store?  A breeding facility?  Work as a dog trainer?  At a zoo with exotic pets?  There is a lot that falls under the heading of “work with animals”.

Same with accounting.  Bookkeepers and accountants are in the accounting field, but only CPA’s can be called accountants in the state of California.  Other states recognize anyone with an accounting credential as an accountant, and some recognize bookkeepers as accountants too.

Why does this even matter?  MONEY!!!!!!!  Licensed accountants can charge an arm and a leg for their services.  Think an attorney is expensive?  See what CPA’s in the area are charging!  It’s about the same.  Do you want to pay someone over $500 an hour to do daily work for you?  Probably not!  This is where bookkeepers come in.  Bookkeepers will do the daily accounting input for you.  They help you manage your money and more importantly expenses more than an accountant ever could.  They then prepare the reports that go to the CPA come tax time.  Prices range for bookkeepers, depending on their qualifications, and where they are.  A good bookkeeper in the Los Angeles area is charging between $68-$95 per hour.  These are going to be certified in the software they use, have extensive experience in their profession, and can advise on a wide range of topics.

So whatcha need?  Peace of mind?  Ability to focus on your business?  Hire a bookkeeper for the daily/weekly/monthly stuff, and an accountant to take care of your taxes.  You should be good to go!


Bookkeeper vs Accountant Infographic