Do you need someone to help you with your taxes or finances for your business? Do you wonder if you need an account, a CPA or a bookkeeper? This is a common question as the professionals in these lines of work do perform similar duties. However, there are some differences that are important and should be taken into consideration before you make your decision. Here is the information you need before you decide which is right for you.

What is a Bookkeeper?

A bookkeeper focuses on keeping accurate records of a business’s daily financial transactions. In general, a bookkeeper does not need to undergo any formal training to perform his or her duties. During the course of their day, they may be required to perform any combination of the following tasks:

  • Produce invoices.
  • Develop financial reports.
  • Enter transactions into accounting software.
  • Pay suppliers.
  • Perform payroll-related duties.
  • Bill for goods or services.
  • Process loan payments.
  • Record daily transactions.

Most bookkeepers use software such as QuickBooks to manage their duties, though some are less tech-savvy and rely on an Excel spreadsheet or even a paper ledger to record transactions and maintain records. 

What is an Accountant?

Accountants are similar to bookkeepers in that many of their tasks are the same. An accountant can work as a bookkeeper, but a bookkeeper cannot work as an accountant as they also need to be able to analyze financial data and provide advice on financial elements that could have a significant effect on a company’s growth. While most accountants attend college and receive a bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field, it is not required. 

In addition to the tasks that overlap with those of bookkeepers, accountant may also be called on to do the following:

  • Collaborate with auditors.
  • File income tax returns.
  • Provide tax advice.
  • Find accounting discrepancies.
  • Analyze and develop budgets.
  • Oversee bookkeeping tasks and ensure they are using best practices.

An accountant provides more in-depth services than a bookkeeper and can help better position you to understand your business’s finances, increase profits, and reduce expenses. They can also help you reduce the impact of taxes. 

What is a CPA?

A CPA (Certified Public Accountant) is an accounting professional who has passed the CPA exam and is certified by the state in which they practice to help their clients prepare tax returns. Your CPA is your first point of contact when it comes to dealing with the IRS. They can handle duties that overlap with bookkeepers and accountants as well as:

  • Conduct detailed audits.
  • Represent you in your dealings with the IRS.
  • Prepare detailed reports on transactions.
  • Update your accounting records.

CPAs generally have more expertise than regular accountants as they have undergone years of training. If you have a business and want a professional tax representative by your side, you should likely partner with a CPA. Many business owners have both a bookkeeper and a CPA, both of whom can work together to keep their business running smoothly and ensure they are complying with IRS rules and mitigating their tax consequences.

Do you need a CPA to help you with your business needs? Choosing the right professional is key to developing a successful working relationship. If you need an Omaha CPA to help you take your business to the next level, reach out to the talented team at Hayes and Associates.