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The Difference Between Personal Accountants and Bookkeepers in the UK

If you’re a business owner in the UK it’s likely you know there are many different financial experts to turn to. Two of the most common are accountants and bookkeepers, but do you know the difference between the two?

What’s a bookkeeper’s role?

Bookkeepers keep your financial records in order. They’ll track your income and expenses, prepare financial statements and balance the books, like income statements and P&Ls. They can also help with invoicing, payroll and tax preparation.

What’s an accountant’s role?

An accountant provides more specialised financial accounting services, like tax planning, financial forecasting and business analysis. They’ll also represent you with tax authorities to fight your case.

In summary…

Bookkeepers look after the books on a day-to-day basis, dealing with the financial operations of a business.

An accountant looks after more strategic matters and provides long-term financial advice.

Which should you choose?

To answer a question with a question; it depends on your specific needs. For small business owners that are financially savvy, a bookkeeper to manage your books on a day-to-day basis is probably all you need. But for a larger business, or if you’re not that good with finances, or want specialist advice, an accountant will be a better option.

It’s worth noting that there is sometimes a crossover between the two roles. Some bookkeepers offer accounting services as well, albeit limited, and some accountants offer bookkeeping services. So, when choosing your financial professional, make sure you dig deep into their financial qualifications and experience.

Top tips for choosing a financial professional

Here are some top tips to help you make pick the right person to help with everything from balancing your books to keeping on top of your taxes:

● Ask friends, family or colleagues for their recommendations. You don’t have to take their advice, but it may help you decide.

● Don’t pick the first one you meet; shop around first.
● Find out about their qualifications and experience that is relatable to your business and industry. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
● Get quotes and find out exactly what’s covered in their cost.

Choosing the right financial professional for your needs can be tricky. But follow these tips, and you’re in a much better position to make the right decision. There are lots of brilliant bookkeepers out there and impressive accountants, and we’re proud of what we think are some of the best in the business. So get in touch to find out how we can help.