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Bookkeeper vs Accountant in the UK

Understanding the role of a bookkeeper

A bookkeeper’s main job is to keep accurate financial records and check on the business’s overall financial health. These are some of the most important things a bookkeeper does and the skills they need to do them: 

Record financial transactions

The bookkeeper’s job is to keep track of all financial transactions, like:  

  • Purchases 
  • Sales 
  • Income 
  • Expenses 

In accounting software or ledger systems, this means putting data into the right groups and typing it in properly. 

Bank reconciliation

This means that they check to see if the company’s bank records and bank funds are the same. This helps find mistakes and things that are different. 

Accounts payable

This includes keeping track of bills and invoices and paying them on time, as well as keeping records on suppliers and making sure the company gets its money back. 

Accounts receivable

These are the accounts that bookkeepers use to keep track of the money that clients and customers owe the business. As part of this, they have to:  

  • Make and send bills 
  • Keep track of payments 
  • Follow up on accounts that are past due 


Some bookkeepers are in charge of figuring out and taking care of workers’ payroll. Making sure workers are paid properly and on time is part of this. So is figuring out their:  

  • Salaries 
  • Taxes 
  • Deductions 
  • Benefits 


Bookkeepers usually make simple accounting records like income statements and balance sheets. These papers show how the business is doing and how much money it has. 

Maintaining financial records

Bookkeepers make sure that the company’s financial records are kept in order and up to date. This makes it simple for auditors and accountants to look over the stuff. 

Follow the rules

They make sure that all financial transactions and records follow the laws and rules that are in place. For example, they make sure that all tax codes and financial reporting standards are followed. 



7 Things you need to be able to do to become a bookkeeper: 

1. Education: Most bookkeepers have at least a high school diploma or the equivalent, but not all of them need a college degree. Some people work towards associate degrees or certificates in bookkeeping or fields that are similar to it. 

Here are a few of the courses on Bookkeeping that you can get your hands on: 

2. Accounting principles: Bookkeepers need to know a lot about basic accounting principles and methods in order to keep track of and organise money matters properly. 

3. Paying attention: When you keep the books, it’s very important to be exact. A bookkeeper needs to pay close attention to the little things to make sure that the financial records are correct. 

4. Communication: People who work with money need to be able to keep track of their records and make sure nothing is missed. 

5. Math skills: You need to be able to do basic math to figure out things like transfers, payroll, and reconciliations. 

6. Computer skills: Bookkeepers use spreadsheets and other financial software all the time. You need to know how to use these tools well. 

7. Being moral: Bookkeepers must be honest and follow strict moral rules because they deal with private financial information. 

Being able to look at financial data and spot trends or issues is an analytical skill that can help you solve issues and come up with new ideas. It’s important for bookkeepers to be able to adapt to new technology, financial rules, and the needs of the business they work for. 

Bookkeepers need to have a degree and the right skills, but job experience is also helpful. A lot of businesses want to hire people who have been accountants or bookkeepers before. It can also help your qualifications and job prospects to get certified as a Certified Bookkeeper (CB) or a Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor. 



Understanding the role of an Accountant

The job of an accountant is very important because they:  

  • Keep a business’s finances in order 
  • Give help on money matters 
  • Make sure that all accounting rules and standards are followed 

Here are some of the most important things an accountant has to do, along with the licences and qualifications they need to do them: 

Financial analysis 

Accountants look at a business’s financial records and deals to figure out how well it is doing financially. They try to find trends, possible threats, and ways to make things better. 

Money statements

Accountants make money statements like balance sheets, cash flow statements, and salary statements. These reports show everyone inside and outside the company everything they need to know about its finances and progress. 

Tax planning and compliance 

Making plans for taxes and making sure businesses follow tax rules are things that accountants do. They also fill out tax returns. They make sure that businesses get the most tax breaks and credits and pay the least amount of tax possible. 

Help with audits 

 Accountants work with internal auditors or private accountants to help with audits. They make sure the books are right and that there are rules in place to stop mistakes and scams. 

Budgeting and forecasting 

 Financial forecasts and budgets help businesses plan for the future by giving them a way to keep track of their money. You have to guess how much cash the business will need, how much it will make, and how much it will spend. 

Financial advisory 

 Accounting firms help businesses manage their money and plan for the future with the help of financial advice. They might be able to help you do things like trade, buy and sell businesses, manage risk, and make smart financial decisions. 

Cost analysis 

 An accountant’s job is to look at how much different parts of a business cost. This helps companies figure out the best prices, ways to save money, and goods that will bring in the most cash.

Internal controls 

 Their job is to protect a company’s assets and make sure that financial records and deals are right. They set up and keep an eye on internal controls. 

Giving reports to managers

 Accountants help business managers make decisions by giving them specific reports. They could be about different parts of the business, like how well a department is doing or how much money a project is making. 

7 Things you need to be able to do to become an Accountant:



1. Education: They usually have a bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance, or a field related to accounting. Some people go on to get master’s or doctoral degrees. 

Here are a few of the courses on Accounting that you can get your hands on:   

2. Certifications: A lot of accountants look for professional certifications to help them get better at what they do. Here are a few of the most well-known certifications: 

  • CPA stands for “Certified Public Accountant.” In the US, people want to be CPAs and have to pass a tough test and meet certain education and experience requirements. 
  • Chartered Accountant (CA): Becoming a CA is a title that is accepted all over the world, but the requirements may be different in each area or country. 
  • As a Certified Management Accountant (CMA), your main job will be to do management accounting, which means you will plan and analyse finances a lot. 
  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA): The ACCA is a qualification in accounting that is accepted around the world and can be earned in many places. 

3. Strengths: You need to be good at analysing data to understand it and get useful information from it. 

4. Detail-oriented: To make sure that financial records and compliance are correct, you need to pay close attention to the little things. 

5. Ethics: Because they work with private financial information, accountants have to follow strict rules of professional ethics and have very high moral standards. 

6. Technology skills: You need to know how to use accounting software, spreadsheets, and tools for researching money in order to work as an accountant today. 

7. Communication skills: Accountants have to talk to a lot of different people about hard money matters, so they need to be able to talk clearly. Changes in tax laws, rules, and accounting standards mean that accountants often need to take classes to keep their skills up to date. 

Depending on the job and the place, the skills and credentials needed may be different. People who want to become accountants need to know what the specific requirements are in their area and business so they can plan their education and job growth. 

Bookkeeper vs Accountant



Factors influencing salaries

The average Base Pay for an Accountant or an experienced Bookkeeper is around £31K – £53K per year in the United Kingdom. (Source) 

Different things can have a big effect on how much people who work in accounting and bookkeeping get paid. Here are some important things that affect salaries in these fields: 

Know-how and work history

Years of experience:  

Most of the time, people with more years of experience make more money. If someone works in accounting or bookkeeping and gets better at their job, they might be able to move up to a higher-level job that pays more. 


Because the job is so skilled, people who know a lot about tax planning, forensic accounting, or auditing can make more money. 


Location and cost of living variations within the UK

Where someone works:  

Where someone works can have a big effect on their salary. Accountants and bookkeepers usually get paid more to make up for the higher cost of living in cities like London. On the other hand, wages might be less in the country. 

Cost of living: 

 Because housing, transportation, and other needs cost more in places with higher costs of living, salaries tend to be higher there as well. 


Size and type of employer 

Big business vs small business:  

International and big companies often pay more to get and keep the best financial workers. A small business might offer reasonable pay, but there might not be as many ways for them to pay their staff. 

For-profit companies:  

Salaries in for-profit companies may be higher than those in nonprofits on average. Donors, on the other hand, may value the work they do and the rewards it brings. 


Specializations and additional certifications

Accounting and bookkeeping professionals with specialised skills, such as investigative accounting, management accounting, or tax understanding, can make more money because people want to hire them. 

It’s possible to get a higher salary if you get more certifications. For example, becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or getting certifications related to your field can help you get certified. These certifications show that you are knowledgeable and committed to the field. 


Industry and sector

Financial experts may be paid different amounts by different companies, based on how hard their job is and how many people need them. For example, wages are usually competitive in the tech, finance, and banking fields. 

About the level of education and experience

You can get better paying jobs and move up in your career by getting more education and higher degrees, such as an MBA or a master’s degree in accounting. 


What the market wants

Pay can be affected by how much people need accountants and bookkeepers in general. If not enough good people are looking for work in a certain area or business, wages may go up to get and keep good workers. 

How to make a deal

The amount of money someone makes can also depend on how well they can talk about their pay. People who are good at negotiating might be able to get better pay deals. 


It is important to remember that these things can have different effects on different people and can also influence each other. The way people are paid can also change over time as the business and industry trends do. There are a lot of things that accountants and bookkeepers can do to make the most money. Some of these are finishing their education, specialising, and moving around to find work that fits their job goals and their financial goals. 



How 1Training fits in?

1 Training is a good platform for anyone who is interested in the types of courses discussed above. This job field is for people who can be responsible and handle complicated issues. 1 Training makes you develop skills that are valuable and make you job ready. Bookkeeping and Accounting are for individuals who are trustworthy. Because they handle private information. 1Training offers a wide range of courses regarding Bookkeeping and Accounting. If you believe you are someone who is honest and reliable, you can give this a try.  


1. Is it better to be an Accountant or Bookkeeper?

More training, certifications, and work experience are needed to become an Accountant than to become a Bookkeeper. When it comes to things like taxes and finances, Accountants often have a lot more useful knowledge to offer. On the other hand, Bookkeepers’ only job is to keep track of financial transactions.   

2. Do Bookkeepers need formal education? 

While it’s not always required, many bookkeepers have at least a high school diploma, and some pursue associate degrees or bookkeeping certificates. 


3. What level of education is required to become an Accountant? 

Most accountants have a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting or an area related to it. Some people go on to get master’s degrees like an MBA or an MAcc. 


4. Do Accountants make more than Bookkeepers? 

A Bookkeeper makes an average of $42,958 a year. About $53,558 a year is the average pay for an Accountant. Lastly, a CPA makes an average of $79,781 a year. The difference in pay is usually because of the level of experience and skill, as well as the tasks that come with the job. (Source) 

5. Should I do Bookkeeping before Accounting? 

Since Bookkeeping is the first step in Accounting, the jobs of a Bookkeeper and an Accountant often overlaps each other. Accounting is the process of figuring out what the data means and how to show it. Bookkeeping is the process of collecting and organising financial data. 

November 16, 2023

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