Difference between Bookkeepers & Accountants

Not all businesses need an Accountant and not all businesses need a Bookkeeper.

I’m going to break it down in the way that I understand, Bookkeepers are the Paralegals while Accountants are the Lawyers. Bookkeepers are the Nurses, while the Accountants are the Doctors. Bookkeepers are the Graphic Designers, while Accountants are the Software Developers.

Education Requirements


  • No federal regulation requirement


  • Bachelors Degree is required

Cost of Service


  • Charge $35-$75+/hour


  • Charge $150-$400/hour


Albeit similar, they are far from the same! Bookkeepers manage the daily financial tasks of business transactions, recording and categorizing financial transactions, create financial statements, process payroll, pay bills, reconcile bank accounts, invoices to client and classify deposits. For some companies, bookkeepers partner with Accountants within the client’s company.

While on the other hand, Accountants are the experts. There are numerous specialties in Accounting; Tax, Financial, Government, Management, Forensic, Cost, Public, Audit & etc. Accountants manage and oversee the bookkeeping set up. There are two types of Accountants; Non-CPA & CPA accountants.

In Summary

A bookkeeper can not call themselves an Accountant! There is a lot of confusion when it comes to taxes, but Bookkeepers can prepare and file taxes for small businesses to the IRS. Although they are both two different functions, some Bookkeepers can efficiently and effectively manage both your taxes and your books! Which is primarily why it’s important to find a someone who knows about your type of business.

According to the IRS, to legally prepare taxes for others or businesses, one needs a PTIN from the IRS. A PTIN is necessary to become an enrolled agent as a tax preparer in the United States. A PTIN stands for Preparer Tax Identification Number.

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