What is a Bookkeeper?
Thursday, July 30th, 2020 in: Advice
What is a bookkeeper and do I need one? This is a very common question that we get asked by a lot of clients. Also what is the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant? In this article we will explore what the differences are and also which you need.
What is bookkeeping?
Before we dive into what a bookkeeper is we have already created an article about what bookkeeping actually is. If you are interested to learn about bookkeeping which will then give you more background into a bookkeeper themselves you can visit that page from this link.
Before we dive into the detail please note that you are more than welcome to book a free discovery call so that we can answer any specific questions that relate to your business.
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What does a bookkeeper do?
A bookkeeper can nowadays be quite a general term and the exact duties depend on the size of your business and also your business needs. In its most simplest form a bookkeeper will keep a record of all of your business transactions. If we really want to get to the nuts and bolts it is a form of data entry. However, most modern bookkeepers would be appalled by that description! At the other end of the scale a bookkeeper can potentially be the blood supply to your business keeping you informed of your cash flow situation, what bills need to be paid and also give you some idea of your profitability.
Possible duties of a bookkeeper
- Reconcile your bank account
- Keep your purchase ledger up-to-date
- Keep your sales ledger up-to-date
- Credit control
- Monthly profit and loss accounts reporting
- Cash flow reporting
- Making bank payments
- Keeping a fixed asset register up-to-date
- Reconciling petty cash
- Dealing with payroll duties
- Preparing and submitting VAT returns
- Preparing and submitting C.I.S. returns
What’s the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant?
As accountants we also offer bookkeeping services which blurs the line between ourselves and a traditional bookkeeper. However, if we were to list purely the services that a bookkeeper typically does not do they would be as follows.
- Year end accounts preparation for self-employed and limited companies
- Annual personal tax return preparation and submission
- Income tax advice
- Capital gains tax advice
- Long-term tax planning
- Business tax structure review
- Family tax planning
- Annual business plans
- Business consultancy
- Inheritance tax advice
With our firm we also provide all of the services of a bookkeeper at a fixed fee rate compared to the traditional hourly rate that a freelance bookkeeper would offer.
How much does a bookkeeper charge?
This is a very common question and one that we have answered in some detail for accountancy charges. If you’d like to know how an accountant charges please visit this page.
A bookkeeper typically charges per hour. The hourly rate depending on the complexity and also the experience of the bookkeeper would vary between £10 and £40 per hour. At the lower end, it would generally be bank reconciliation work in a simple business. At the higher end it may include more management reporting and looking forward.
Some bookkeepers have also started offering fixed fees. As a firm of accountants, we offer fixed fees and our bookkeeping fees start from as little as £12 per month for a one-man band limited company or £25 per month for a very small business. For a business with some employees that is VAT registered bookkeeping fees would typically be around £100 per month to include your VAT returns. We operate a fixed fee pricing policy based on the volume of bookkeeping transactions going through your business bank account and also the receipts and invoices.
Do I need a bookkeeper and an accountant?
A bookkeeper and accountants roles have merged to some degree in the last few years due to the accountant offering bookkeeping services as part of the fixed fee package. However, bookkeeping and accountancy are two distinctly different services. Bookkeeping is more to do with the day-to-day recording of your business transactions and accounting is typically more to do with the year-end reporting and tax obligations. A good modern accountant is likely to offer bookkeeping services that keep your books up-to-date at least on a monthly basis. You do have the option to do your own bookkeeping which is why we have provided some free training resources just below. The key trade-off with doing your own bookkeeping is the lost time opportunity in your business that could be used to develop the business further or increase the revenue. This links into your personal and business goals in terms of how many hours do you want to work, where are you trying to get to and if doing your own bookkeeping facilitates this or not.
Free Bookkeeping Training / Course
Free DIY Bookkeeping Crash Course
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If you would like to learn more about our bookkeeping services please To get in touch and we have been more than happy to see how we can help you.
Some of our services
Let us be clear, we believe strongly in building longer-term trusting client relationships. Technology is an opportunity to streamline businesses and laborious tasks as well as automating them in some cases.
Our belief is that technology is only there to provide a better and more efficient service (whether that is online or offline) to our clients. We understand that you have a busy life and want to maximise your tax savings without the need for it to be a long and time-consuming process. That’s why we exist!