Bookkeepers, Accountants, CPA’s, and Tax Preparers – Oh My!

Yup! We hear this question – A LOT. What is the difference between a bookkeeper, an accountant, a tax preparer, and a CPA? We get it. You have enough on your plate when it comes to managing your finances and it can be overwhelming to navigate the different financial roles and responsibilities that come with running a business. Add in the confusion of the different financial experts out there and most business owners throw up their arms and decide they don’t want either.

Well we are here to once and for all explain the differences and why we believe you need a combination of a couple of these to round out your financial dream team. 

What is an accountant?

To start, an accountant can also be a bookkeeper, tax preparer, or CPA. The term accountant is often used for any of these as long as the professional has an accounting degree. They typically work with businesses, organizations, and individuals to ensure that financial records are accurate and compliant with relevant laws and regulations. They may work in public accounting firms, government agencies, or private industry, and often hold certifications such as Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Accountant (CA), or Certified Management Accountant (CMA). They can also be professional bookkeepers.

What is a CPA?

We like to refer to a CPA as the 1000 foot view of your business. They are there for the detailed tax guidance for your business. A CPA is a professional accountant who has met specific education, experience, and licensing requirements. CPA’s often work in public accounting firms, providing services such as auditing, tax planning and compliance, and advisory services. They may also work in private industry, government agencies, or as independent consultants.

What is a tax preparer?

A tax preparer is a professional who helps individuals and businesses prepare and file their tax returns with the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) or other tax authorities. Tax preparers can be individuals, businesses, or organizations that specialize in tax preparation services. In the United States, tax preparers are not required to have any specific certifications or licenses to prepare and file tax returns. Some states do require tax preparers to be registered or licensed and often, tax preparers may choose to obtain certifications.

What is a bookkeeper?

A bookkeeper is a financial professional who is responsible for maintaining a company’s financial records. They are the day-to-day financial professional that records all financial transactions such as sales, purchases, receipts, and payments. Bookkeepers play a crucial role in a company’s financial management. They ensure that financial records are accurate, up-to-date, and compliant with accounting standards and regulations. Many bookkeepers have a degree in accounting and additional certifications.

So why do we say you need a couple of these professionals to round out your financial dream team? In our years of experience, businesses are in the best financial shape when they have a trusted bookkeeping professional handling their day to day financial records and have a designated CPA to assist with tax planning and compliance. We also believe in checks and balances, so when you have a power duo working on your side, you can ensure nothing is missed and your business is set up for the best financial position possible. The team at Vegter Financial works closely with our clients CPA’s to ensure they are getting a well rounded financial dream team on their side.

Ready to hear more about building your own financial dream team? Schedule your free consultation today!


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