Accountant or Bookkeeper?
In Australia, the terms’ bookkeeper and accountant are becoming synonymous. They still have different duties and qualifications. For instance, the exam you take to prove your skills as an accountant is different from the bookkeeping exam. Another main difference is that accountants do more than just keep the fiscal records; they also provide financial advice to companies. But companies all over are increasingly using their bookkeepers to provide this advice. So the two professions overlap quite a bit.
But what does a bookkeeper even do? Basically, they keep track of all financial transactions within a company. Here’s a list of their everyday tasks:
- Be familiar with the company. As a bookkeeper, you need to know what your company does. What products and services do they sell? How many employees do they have? Who are their customers? Is the company local or bigger? All of this information will help you do a better job of keeping the books. You’ll understand how much inventory to keep track of and manage your customer base much more effectively.
- Handle customer transactions. Bookkeepers are often the go-between for the company and its customers and suppliers. Your job is to keep track of invoices and make sure customers are billed properly. You ensure they pay the correct amount too. Another duty is to keep track of company inventory so you can contact suppliers and order all of the products and office supplies the company needs.
- Keep track of all company expenditures. This is your main duty as a bookkeeper. You need to know every way that the company spends its money. Most of that is paying employees and suppliers. But if employees spend money on the company’s behalf, you’ll gather their receipts, record those transactions and reimburse them.
- Manage company bank accounts. You’re in charge of the company’s bank accounts (and potentially their stocks and other investments, depending on your role in the finance department). So you’ll need to balance these accounts and keep them updated. You’ll also make and record deposits.
- Communicate with others. Not surprisingly, bookkeepers don’t just sit at their desks and work with numbers all day. You’ll do a lot of that, of course. But possibly half of your job is talking with co-workers, customers, managers, and suppliers about all of the company’s expenses. You coordinate with them about how much inventory to order, updating employee pay, how to make the company more profitable, etc. You participate in any fiscal discussions regarding the company.
There are, of course, different types of bookkeepers. You can specialise as a bookkeeper and handle only taxes, only company expenditures, only investments or other areas. No matter your speciality, though, the company depends on you to keep them stable and financially safe.