What is the difference between and accountant and a bookkeeper?

By Ballou & Associates | Dec 26, 2013

Often people use the terms ‘bookkeeper’ and ‘accountant’ interchangeably, butin fact, they do very different things. 

A bookkeeper is primarily responsible for recording a business’s financial information.  They identify and summarize the financial events within the business.  They can assist with Annual 1099 and W-9 processing, recording payroll and tax payments, managing accounts payable and accounts receivable, and developing a monthly financial statement.  Bookkeepers can also assess a business’s current recordkeeping processes to make sure that a business is maintaining a reliable financial record. They are also qualified to do the initial set-up of the financial recording systems for new companies or facilitate aclean-up for existing companies. 

An accountant on the other hand is responsible for interpreting a business’s financial information and making financial suggestions on behalf of the business.   The accountant uses the information that the bookkeeper provides to develop a report or financial statement for the company.

Both an accountant and a bookkeeper are beneficial to a company’s success, and it is important to know exactly how each of the two professionals can benefit you. 



Ballou & Associates has been providing bookkeeping services in the Midcoast area for over 25 years. Owned and operated by Tammy Swasey-Ballou, Ballou & Associates offer a full range of bookkeeping services tailored to the needs of our individual clients. Being a small business allows us the flexibility to offer special services like pick-up and drop-off of your monthly bookkeeping, on-site work and remote service. Tammy is a Certified Advanced QuickBooks Pro Advisor and can set-up, customize, or troubleshoot your QuickBooks. Contact us at (207)706.4907 or visit our office at 16 Tannery Lane, Suite 22, Camden, Maine


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