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Dec 3, 2012

What is a Bookkeeper?

As you begin interacting with an accounting firm you may come into contact with a bookkeeper. A bookkeeper is not an accountant, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn to a bookkeeper for many of the same services that you would normally attain from your certified public accountant (CPA). Many people are unsure of what role a bookkeeper will play in their financial services, and what exactly they can expect from a bookkeeper.

A bookkeeper is someone who maintains financial records for a business. Bookkeepers work with accountants, lawyers, doctors and businesses of all shapes and sizes to maintain proper records as others in the company keep the business moving forward. Bookkeepers generally have a greater knowledge of tax codes and regulations than the average person, but do not have the same amount of schooling and expertise as a CPA.

A bookkeeper may interact with an accountant on your behalf or may be directly associated with an accounting firm. A bookkeeper can often alleviate a great deal of paperwork from a business owner, giving you more time to take the steps to help your business grow.

What does a Bookkeeper do?

A bookkeeper will track a company’s financial expenditure and gain daily. This includes payroll data, billing and investments. Every single transaction that a company takes part in will be recorded and organized by your bookkeeper.

Here is a quick list of some of the primary duties a bookkeeper is often responsible for:
•  Billing
•  General banking
•  Payroll services, including check writing
•  Income and payroll tax information
•  Tax audit representation
•  Company health insurance
•  Financial statements

There are many benefits to having a bookkeeper as part of your regular staff. Since the bookkeeper works with a company’s financial data daily, they are often most knowledgeable about a business’s spending and earning. That often makes the bookkeeper fit to communicate with your accountant on behalf of your company. Bookkeepers often meet with accountants at the completion of every fiscal quarter to ensure that the company’s financial books are properly balanced and to calculate tax payments. If your company does not have a bookkeeper, than your accounting firm may use a bookkeeper to organize your financial data before it is reviewed by a CPA for finalization.

Much like accounting, bookkeeping is complex. Bookkeepers generally have at least an Associate’s Degree in Mathematics, Business or a similar field of study, have good organizational skills and are comfortable working with numbers. Bookkeepers should also have superior computer skills and be familiar with some of the leading forms of computer software, like Microsoft Excel and QuickBooks.

Bookkeepers are often an ideal addition for small and growing businesses. Many small business owners take care of their own bookkeeping, but as your business grows this can become overwhelming and time consuming. Turning to a bookkeeper with CPA oversight is an affordable way to alleviate much of stress and paperwork associated with billing and business taxes, letting you get back to what matters most with your business—helping it grow.