Bookkeeper vs CPA – Why you Need Both

By Randall Orser | Small Business

Many people outside the financial sphere have understandably never felt much need to absorb the various terms we throw around, even the basic ones. For instance, you might not have a grasp of the actual differences between a bookkeeper and a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). After all, they're both professionals who work with small business that need to outsource critical accounting tasks. But there are some important distinctions to be made between these two types of specialists, and ultimately, you're well advised to make extensive use of both of them for your business accounting needs. 

CPA firms tend to take on big, complex issues that routinely plague businesses of all sizes. These may include tax advice and tax return filing, counseling on what type of structure the business should adopt (proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation), in-depth financial reviews, and preparations for loan applications. These are the specialists you rely on for major transitions and CRA transactions. By contrast, full-charge bookkeeping firms help you handle those routine but critical day-to-day accounts receivable and accounts payable issues, including payroll calculations, bank reconciliations, journal entries, and internal financials.

Too many businesses try to get by without a bookkeeping firm by simply throwing together a rough approximation of their financial details and handing that to their CPA firm. This places an undue burden on the CPAs, forcing them to work harder and longer to make sense of your books. A CPA's billable time usually comes at a premium, so you pay proportionately more for their extra efforts. If you've been getting by in an effort to save some money, you would be better off hiring a professional bookkeeping firm to handle your financials. You'll receive smaller bills from your CPA while making better use of your own team's valuable time.

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About the Author

President/CEO Number Crunchers® Accounting Inc. Learn how to just say stuff it to this bookkeeping thing with our 'Just Say: "Stuff It" To Bookkeeping program.