Accounting vs. Bookkeeping

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Accountant vs. Bookkeeper 

Do you know the difference between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper? While they might seem similar, the work that they do can be quite different. At Willow Oak, we offer both services and find that while many start with a need for a bookkeeper, they eventually come to realize that they need the support of an Accountant as they grow. 

So what’s the difference? 


  • Records & classifies company business transactions
  • Ensures accuracy
  • Inputs data provided to them
  • Maintains data in an organized & accurate manner
  • Codes expenses accurately


An accountant does all of the work of a bookkeeper, but also 

  • Analyzes the financial information
  • Provides business recommendations 
  • Provides and prepares reports
  • Helps you understand your financials so you can make real, data-driven business decisions that will help your business thrive

Depending on your business needs and stage, you may benefit from having one or both support roles on your team! 

When do you need a bookkeeper?

Are you finding yourself behind in updating your books? Do you question whether or not you’re entering your expenses in the right categories? 

Are you stressed during tax season, scrambling last minute to compile your paperwork? 

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it might be time to outsource your bookkeeping! 

When do you need an accountant? 

Are you ready to understand what your financials mean? Is your business growing and you need to know how to get to that next level? 

Are you ready to meet your financial goals and want to understand how your business will meet those? 

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you might be ready to get accountant support! 

What business stage is it the most common to get this type of support?

This differs by business!

Are you just starting out and need to understand if your business in profitable or how to be profitable? Are you settled in as a business and ready to get to the next step?

To understand profitability, projections for new services/products or understand how adding a new expenses (team member maybe?) could effect your bottom line, an accountant would be able to provide great recommendations.

Are you just starting out and want to ensure you have time to focus on your service / product but aren’t too worried about growth right now? A bookkeeping might be the perfect fit!

Can someone provide both bookkeeping and accounting services? Absolutely!

Just make sure to ask about what services are included when you are interviewing with a service provider. You want to make sure they check all the boxes that your current business needs!

If you know you’re needing support but not sure exactly what you need, reach out to us to chat! We can give our best recommendation on what you’d benefit from most.

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