Bookkeeping And Accounting

Digging Into The Distinctions Of Bookkeeping And Accounting

Table of Contents

Digging Into The Distinctions Of Bookkeeping And Accounting

Are you confused about the difference between bookkeeping and accounting? Do you want to understand how these two financial fields differ? 


If so, this article is for you. Here, we will explore the distinct characteristics that define bookkeeping and accounting and how they intersect. We will also look at how these disciplines are used to help businesses make sound financial decisions.

Overview Of Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is an essential aspect of maintaining the financial records of any business or organisation. Put, bookkeeping refers to the recording and organising of all financial transactions that take place within a company. It is a systematic process that involves keeping track of expenses, revenue, profits, and losses.

The primary purpose of bookkeeping is to keep accurate records of all financial activities within a business. This information can then be used to create financial statements, such as balance sheets and income statements, which provide valuable insights into a company’s overall financial health. The data collected through bookkeeping also helps businesses make informed decisions about budgeting and forecasting future revenues.

In short, without proper bookkeeping practices, businesses may struggle to manage their finances effectively. A clear understanding of bookkeeping can help small and large businesses stay on track when managing their money.

Overview Of Accounting

Accounting is a widely used term in business, but not everyone fully understands its definition and purpose. In simple terms, accounting refers to the process of recording, summarising, and analysing the financial transactions of a business or an individual. Accounting aims to provide accurate financial information that can help stakeholders make informed decisions.

There are various branches of accounting, such as financial accounting, management accounting, tax accounting, and auditing.

Financial accounting involves preparing financial statements for external stakeholders like investors and creditors. Management accounting provides internal stakeholders with relevant information to aid decision-making processes. Tax accountants help individuals or businesses file tax returns, while auditors evaluate financial statements for accuracy.

In summary, the importance of understanding what accounting means cannot be overstated. It helps individuals make informed decisions about their finances, and businesses evaluate their performance.

Accounting Vs Bookkeeping

Accounting and bookkeeping are two terms that are often used interchangeably. However, despite their similar nature and functions, the two have some key differences. Accounting is a broader term encompassing bookkeeping as one of its many components. On the other hand, bookkeeping refers to the process of recording financial transactions.

Both accounting and bookkeeping play a critical role in ensuring the success of any business or organisation. They help to provide an accurate picture of an entity’s financial health by keeping track of all incoming and outgoing funds. This information can be used for budgeting, forecasting, tax preparation, and other financial planning purposes.

One significant difference between accounting and bookkeeping is that while bookkeeping focuses on record-keeping tasks such as data entry and reconciling accounts, accounting involves more analytical work such as financial analysis and reporting.

The Function Of Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is an essential part of any business or organisation. It involves recording financial transactions and keeping track of income and expenses. The primary function of bookkeeping is to maintain accurate records, which helps businesses keep track of their financial health and make informed decisions.

In addition to providing a record of financial activity, bookkeeping can help businesses identify areas where they can save money or increase revenue. By analysing spending patterns, companies can identify areas where they may overspend or find new growth opportunities. 

Bookkeeping also helps businesses comply with tax laws by ensuring all necessary documentation is in order.

Overall, the function of bookkeeping goes beyond simply keeping track of numbers. It is critical in helping businesses understand their financial position and make informed decisions about their future operations.

The Function Of Accounting

Accounting is a fundamental part of any business, as it provides insights into the financial health of an organisation. The basic function of accounting is to record, classify, and analyse financial transactions. This involves gathering information about money coming in and going out of a company, organising it into categories such as revenue and expenses, and using this data to create reports that show the company’s financial performance.

One key function of accounting is to provide accurate financial statements that can be used to make informed decisions. These statements typically include a balance sheet, income, and cash flow statement. They present information on assets owned by a company, liabilities owed by a company, revenues generated by a company over time, and expenses incurred during the same period.

Roles Of Bookkeepers And Accountants

Bookkeepers and accountants are two professions that are often confused with each other due to the similarity in their job titles. Although both roles involve financial tasks, there are significant differences in their duties, training, and responsibilities.

Bookkeepers record financial transactions such as purchases, sales, receipts, and payments. They maintain accurate records of a company’s daily financial activities using accounting software or manual ledgers. Bookkeepers do not have formal training requirements and can learn on the job or through online courses.

Unlike accountants, bookkeepers cannot provide financial advice or perform audits.

On the other hand, accountants have more extensive training than bookkeepers and typically hold a degree in accounting or finance. They analyse financial data to provide insights into a company’s performance and help management make informed decisions regarding budgeting, forecasting, and tax planning.


Bookkeepers typically have a high school diploma or associate’s degree in accounting or bookkeeping, while accountants usually hold a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Bookkeepers’ responsibilities include recording day-to-day transactions such as sales, purchases, receipts and payments into the general ledger. In contrast, accountants analyse financial statements to provide insights into how a company can improve its finances.


Another significant difference is that bookkeepers are responsible for maintaining accurate records of transactions, whereas an accountant can advise tax planning and prepare tax returns. Accountants may also be Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), which requires passing a rigorous exam and fulfilling ongoing education requirements.

Starting Salaries And Benefits

In the UK, bookkeepers typically earn an average salary of around £22,000 to £26,000 per year. However, this figure can vary depending on location and experience. On the other hand, accountants can expect to earn a higher salary due to their advanced knowledge and expertise. The average salary for accountants in the UK ranges from £35,000 to over £60,000 per year.

Regarding benefits, bookkeepers and accountants may be entitled to similar perks such as healthcare coverage and pension schemes.


In conclusion, bookkeeping and accounting are two different but related practices. Bookkeeping focuses on recording financial transactions, while accounting focuses more on interpreting and analysing that data. 

Both bookkeeping and accounting have unique roles in managing finances and informing business decisions, so it’s important to understand their differences. Companies must hire professionals with the right skills to meet their needs.


How do you calculate profits and losses in bookkeeping?

To begin, you need to identify all sources of income and list them on the income side of your ledger. This includes sales, investments, and any other form of revenue. On the expense side, list all costs associated with running your business, such as labour, materials, rent, taxes, etc.

Once you complete both sides of the ledger, subtract your total expenses from your total income to calculate net profit or loss.

What if you do not have a bookkeeper or accountant?

If you do not have a bookkeeper or accountant, there are still ways to organise your finances. One of the most important things to do is to create a budget and stick to it. It’s also important to stay on top of filing taxes and other financial documents on time to avoid penalties or fees.

Who is more essential in small businesses?

For smaller businesses with limited resources, starting with a bookkeeper before hiring an accountant may be best. A bookkeeper can handle basic accounting tasks such as accounts receivable/payable and payroll processing while providing management with reliable financial information. Once the business grows and becomes more complex, an accountant can be hired to take on more specialised tasks such as budgeting and forecasting.