People with proficiency and interest in numbers and mathematics have a number of careers to consider. Bookkeeping is one area of work to consider, as is accounting. Although some of the skills and responsibilities of these two careers may overlap, they both have distinctive job descriptions that set them apart from each other.
Job Description of a Bookkeeper
This profession requires the responsibility of recording financial transactions in the chronological order in which they occur for a business or an individual. The recording of the transactions must occur daily for an ongoing record of activity. Software applications are now available, which automate much of these processes for a company or an individual person. Additional responsibilities may include classifying and summarizing financial data and transferring this information to periodic financial reports. The professional tasked with these additional responsibilities will not be at the same level of an accountant, but this position is higher than an entry-level employee.
Job Description of an Accountant
This profession consists of taking data recorded in financial statements and analyzing it for a business or an individual. This employee performs this work in accordance with set principles, requirements, and standards. After performing this analysis, the employee finalizes the interpretation by preparing a report. A business owner can base future business decisions upon data in the report, ensuring that the owner has all pertinent information about revenue, expenses, account balances, and investments.
Similarities and Differences
While both careers involve financial data, an accountant’s work involves more analysis and reporting than the position of bookkeeping involves. Depending on the individual company and its size, it’s possible that a bookkeeping position could involve many tasks that usually fall to an accountant. This is especially true because software can eliminate a lot of the analysis work that an accountant traditionally performs. Automation and classification that used to require a human is now a simple process for a computer.
Preparing for this more advanced career takes more time and effort than it does to prepare for a bookkeeping position. A student typically earns a bachelor’s degree; however, many students go on to earn advanced degrees in this field of study. Within a company, an accountant often oversees and supervises a division, working with bookkeepers that perform many of the daily financial tasks necessary for the financial health of the company.
Landing a Bookkeeping Job
Competition can be significant for anyone seeking this type of career. A college degree is not mandatory; however, someone who wishes to ensure success might consider earning an associate’s degree in this field. Many people further their education in the field with on-the-job training. Working toward formal certification can also help people market their skills more successfully.
Working in this field has a number of advantages. Salaries are competitive for these positions. The need for bookkeepers is prevalent across many different industries and in virtually any location. People may also be able to telecommute from home instead of reporting to an office each day.