Difference Between Bookkeeping and Accounting (With Table)

Bookkeeping vs Accounting

Bookkeeping and accounting are the two critical aspects of any venture. Bookkeeping and accounting keep track of all the financial data of the company that helps in the smooth function of a company.

Both bookkeeping and accounting need basic accounting and economics knowledge.

The confusion arises between both the terms because although they are different, they are used for similar purposes.

They deal with the financial transactions of the company. Bookkeeping and accounting are usually used as synonyms, but both of them have different functions.

The key difference between bookkeeping and accounting lies in the fact that bookkeeping keeps a record of all the financial records, whereas accounting interprets, analyzes, and summarizes the financial records.

Bookkeeping and accounting look the same to the majority, but bookkeeping, as the name suggests are used merely to keep or record the financial data; no decisions are taken by the records of bookkeeping by the management.

The financial reports that are produced due to accounting are taken into consideration while making any decision that affects the finance of the company. 


Comparison Table Between Bookkeeping and Accounting (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonBookkeepingAccounting
DefinitionBookkeeping is related to the recording, measuring, and identifying the financial data of a company.Accounting is the process wherein the company's financial data is summarized, and a report is prepared for the same.
ManagementManagement doesn’t take any financial decisions by analyzing the records of bookkeeping.Management decides upon financial decisions after reading the summary report obtained by accounting.
PurposeTo store and organize the financial data of a companyTo analyze the financial data and make future financial decisions accordingly. 
Financial statementThe financial statement is not prepared using the information obtained from bookkeeping.The financial statement is prepared using accounting information.
SkillsBookkeeping doesn’t need the bookkeeper to have any special skill set to handle and manage the financial records.An accountant needs special skills to record, interpret, and analyze the financial data to prepare reports.
AnalysisNo analysis is carried.Accounting uses the record from bookkeeping to analyze the financial data to prepare reports.
TypesSingle entry and double entry.Cost accounting and managerial accounting.
EmployeeAn accountant oversees the work of a bookkeeper.An accountant that is certified doesn’t need guidance.
Entry A bookkeeper records the financial data on a daily basis.The accountant prepares the financial summary at the end of the month or on a yearly basis, depending on the type of report and demands of the company.


What is Bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping is the process of recording financial data of a company on a regular basis.

The financial data includes sales, purchase, receipts, etc. of an individual or of a company. The bookkeepers handle the bookkeeping.

Bookkeeping is crucial in a business because it provides a systematic order to all the financial data.

During the accounting process, it’s easier to access the book of all the financial records to make financial reports and statements.

Bookkeeping is also important for all external financial sources like investors, financial institutes, and government.

Before an investor makes a decision to invest in a company, he will check the financial records of the company maintained in bookkeeping.

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A bookkeeper is always supervised by the accountant, and at times, they work together as well.

Bookkeeping provides the company with a record of all its revenues because of which the company can tally its expected income and expenditure goals with the actual income and expenditure.

This helps them to maintain a benchmark for future financial decisions. There are two major types of bookkeeping.

There is double-entry bookkeeping and then, there is single-entry bookkeeping. In the latter type, there is the only entry of one side of the transaction.

It either only records the credit or the debit entries of the company. In double-entry bookkeeping, both the credits and debits are recorded.

For every credit, a debit is also recorded and vice versa. 

Bookkeeping in practice

What is Accounting?

Accounting is the analysis, interpretation, and summarization of the financial data of a company. The accounting checks the bookkeeping records and makes a financial report of the same.

All financial decisions are taken by management only after going through the reports of the accounting.

The management even approaches higher authorities if the reports spot the financial transactions to be more different than the normally expected transactions.

The professional accountants take out the gist of the data pertaining to finances. Then, this data is sent to different authorities for further work.

The accounting report has a record of the financial transactions that take place over a decided accounting period. It is a summary of the firm’s operations.

Also, it contains information about the financial position as well as the cash flow of the firm.

There are two types of accounting: cost accounting and managerial accounting. The cost accounting helps a businessman decide the price of a product.

The managerial accounting helps the management make proper decisions regarding the future investments of the company. 

Accounting involves analysis of financial data
Accounting involves analysis of financial data

Main Differences Between Bookkeeping and Accounting

  1. Bookkeeping records the financial data in a systematic order, but the accounting analyses the financial records and prepares a financial report to the statement.
  2. Bookkeeping doesn’t help the management in making any decisions regarding finance, whereas the reports prepared by an accountant help the management to make decisions regarding future financial transactions.
  3. Bookkeeping isn’t used to make the financial reports, but the reports prepared by accountants help in making financial reports.
  4. A bookkeeper doesn’t need any special skill set to handle bookkeeping, whereas an accountant needs a certificate to do his job.
  5. Bookkeeping records aren’t analyzed, but they are used by the accountant to prepare their financial summary.
  6. The two types of bookkeeping are single-entry a double entry. The two types of accounting are cost accounting and managerial accounting.
  7. Bookkeepers are supervised by the accountants, but certified accountants don’t need any guidance.
  8. The data is recorded in bookkeeping daily, whereas the financial reports are prepared monthly or yearly depending on the company policy.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Bookkeeping and Accounting

  1. Can a bookkeeper call themselves an accountant?

    Any person who manages accounts can call themselves an accountant. As the function of a bookkeeper is to manage the single and double entry transactions which are also similar in the case of accounting.

    But the components perform other functions such as audits managing the reports and offering their services and advice to different business owners which the bookkeepers do not do.

  2. Can a bookkeeper do payroll?

    The process of payroll and bookkeeping is part of the same financial process but their use and support which they give are different in different types of businesses.

    Bookkeeper manages processes like paying the suppliers, recording depreciation while payroll looks after everything which is related to the Employees like salary, overtime, benefits, etc.

    Both these things are done using software, so yes a bookkeeper can do payroll also.

  3. What are the types of bookkeeping?

    There are various types of bookkeeping systems that are used globally. The basic is the single entry and double-entry bookkeeping system.

    As the name says the single entry system requires the recording of everyone's entry of the financial activity in the book and the same goes for the double-entry where the entry is made two times for a single transaction.

  4. Can a bookkeeper do tax returns?

    Bookkeeper manages various roles and also sometimes looks after the basic tax-related issues.

    A qualified bookkeeper has to prepare all the accounts and look after the tax returns of the store as well as maintain the VAT Returns.

  5. Do bookkeepers prepare financial statements?

    In the earlier days, the role of bookkeepers was limited only till maintaining the books and its records.

    But now with the time, the bookkeepers are also preparing and maintaining the financial statements at the end of each quarter or for the annual year.

  6. What are the basic bookkeeping skills?

    Bookkeeping is defined as keeping the books from various genres together and maintaining them.

    The major basics of bookkeeping include maintaining the sales record, the accounts payable, the loan payable, the payroll expenses, the inventory stock, the accounts receivable and the most important is maintaining the cash record

  7. Can you be an accountant without a CPA?

    The CPA stands for certified public accountant certification.

    This exam is very difficult to pass but it is something which the Accountants always want to look into as it gives an authentic Outlook of the people towards them.

    Even without a CPA, the accountants can work at different types of agencies doing work related to taxes and also working in private companies.

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Bookkeeping and accounting are both important for a company. They both help the company maintain its finances and help in making better financial decisions.

The bookkeeping records are used by accountants to make a report for the financial summary. Both of them go hand in hand, yet their uses and functions are different.


Word Cloud for Difference Between Bookkeeping and Accounting

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Bookkeeping and Accounting. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Difference Between Bookkeeping and Accounting
Word Cloud for Bookkeeping and Accounting



  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09585209500000049
  2. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/229739