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What’s the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?

It’s like the start of a joke, isn’t it?

But seriously, I do find myself answering this question a lot. So, I thought I would clear up the confusion.

Every business is required, by law to ‘keep books’. This means keeping accurate records from the very start of running a business and, for many people, they just don’t know how to do this.

This is where a bookkeeper can be very handy. They are a cost-effective resource that removes the burden of bookkeeping from yourself and allows you to focus on growing your business.


But don’t I need an accountant?


Possibly. To be honest, you may need a bookkeeper as well. You will find many companies hire both bookkeepers and accountants to manage their finances and the pair work together harmoniously.

Bookkeepers manage the day to day running of a business’ accounts. They make sure everything is recorded accurately, and everything is spot-on down to the very last penny.

Accountants focus more on the broader picture. They take this financial data and prepare reports for business owners and investors providing detailed analysis of future projections and offer financial management advice.


What will a bookkeeper bring to my business?


20% of small businesses lack confidence in tackling financial tasks such as self-assessment, VAT or PAYE. These tasks alone can cause significant stress for small business owners. Hiring a good bookkeeper can alleviate that stress and let you focus on the aspects of the business that matter to you.

Services of a bookkeeper include:

· Help with your cashflow

· Help with your tax or VAT returns

· Maintain a payroll system

· Process invoices and expense claims

· Prepare initial financial statements

· Implement and manage cloud accountancy software


Can’t anyone be a bookkeeper?


Technically, yes. However, you are probably moving into dangerous territory if you think like that. HMRC expect accurate records. There is legislation to understand and follow, and it is a regulated professional body, so you should always check a person’s qualifications before taking on a bookkeeper.


Don’t just choose a bookkeeper…

Choose an ICB bookkeeper. The Institute of Chartered Bookkeepers is the largest bookkeeping membership organisation in the world. They are well-respected and trusted in the financial world. All their members are required to sit exams to gain their qualifications and, to maintain their status, they must continue with training via continuous professional development.

An ICB bookkeeper, like myself, can help your business:

· Plan for the future

· Budget for tax payments

· Meet correct deadlines for paying tax ensuring you avoid any penalties or fines

· Manage finances to help it grow

· Ensure you are tax-efficient

But more importantly, ICB bookkeepers save you time and money.



You don’t need to pay accountancy fees to have your day to day financial needs looked after. Use an accountant when you require analysis of the bigger financial picture.

And, regain your time. Outsourcing your bookkeeping to a qualified bookkeeper will free up your time. You can spend more time growing your business safe in the knowledge your finances are in good hands.

If you want a chat about how I can help you and your business, get in touch.

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Heaton Norris, Stockport SK4, UK

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