What are the differences between Bookkeeping and Accounting?

bookkeeping versus accounting

Many students who are earning their online Associate degree in Accounting may not fully understand the difference between bookkeeping and accounting. Although they are related and some duties may overlap, they each have different responsibilities and require different degrees.

Ready to begin? See: What kind of salary can I expect to earn with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting?

What The Bookkeeper Does…

difference in Bookkeeping and in Accounting

The Bookkeeper is essentially a recordkeeper. They are responsible for entering pertinent information into computer programs that the Accountant will need for future use.

They deal with the day-to-day operations of a business or corporation’s financial data. Accuracy is of utmost importance when recording important numbers like sales and expenses; however, the bookkeeper is not expected to translate these numbers into financial statements that are relayed to CEOs or owners; that is the responsibility of the Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

A Bookkeeper’s duties often include generating sales invoices for products or services, paying vendor invoices and receiving and posting customer payments, and sometimes, processing payroll.

Typically, a Bookkeeper position does not require a college degree; however, some employers prefer their bookkeepers to have an associate degree. Your online Associate degree in Accounting is the first step to an accounting career and prepares the student for the next step in receiving their education, the bachelor’s degree to be a CPA.

What The Accountant Does…

difference in Bookkeeping and in Accounting

They analyze the information that the Bookkeeper has provided them. They examine the information and present the business owner with necessary reports and statistics to help them evaluate the good and the bad. They create procedures for their clients to adhere to and offer solutions to correct or enhance profits. 

As previously stated, Certified Public Accountants own at least a bachelor’s degree, and sometimes a master’s degree is necessary for some positions. In addition, CPA licensure should be obtained per your state’s requirements.

To Summarize…

The Bookkeeper and Accountant must work together to ensure the best possible outcome for the client and/or employer. They both are rewarding careers and play a critical role in the success of a company.

If you are interested in a career in the field of accounting, please check out our list of the Best Online Schools for Associate of Accounting degrees.

Additional Resources:

Rowan Jones
Chief Editor