Accounting or bookkeeping?

What's the difference?

When choosing where you want to take your career, you'll need to know the difference between bookkeeping and accounting to find out which is right for you.

Bookkeeping is the first part of the accounting process, so the work of a bookkeeper and accountant often overlaps. Bookkeeping focuses on recording and organising financial data, while accounting is the interpretation and presentation of that data. Both offer rewarding career paths; it's simply a case of which one suits you best.

What is a bookkeeper?

Bookkeeping skills are invaluable to a business. A bookkeeper will keep an accurate track of the money coming into and out, carrying out tasks like managing the day-to-day cash flow, preparing for year-end tax returns and help keep the finances running efficiently.

As a qualified bookkeeper you can work in a finance team or offer your services self-employed.

If you're considering a career in bookkeeping you'll need to really enjoy working with numbers and have close attention to detail.

Careers in bookkeeping
Careers in bookkeeping

Find out what it's like to be a bookkeeper and see the job roles you'll be qualified for.

Where to start
Where to start

Get your free course guide and start your journey with AAT.

Unemployed after two compulsory redundancies in quick succession, I found a course for bookkeeping and started the AAT course and worked through each level. Now I'm a self-employed bookkeeper. Each level of qualification greatly enhances your chances to progress in the workplace or ultimately, like me, set up your own business.
David Mollard, AAT student

What is an accountant?

An accountant performs a wider range of tasks and focuses on the bigger financial picture, analysing the information provided by bookkeepers to carry out audits, generate financial statements and forecast future business needs.

If you're considering a career in accountancy you'll need a passion for numbers, a natural flair for problem solving and to work well under pressure.

Studying AAT was the best decision I ever made. I progressed quickly through construction, manufacturing, not-for-profit and education. Now I train people to become bookkeepers and accountants, and teach them how to manage their finances through budgets.
Angela Demoore FMAAT, AAT Licensed Accountant
Careers in accounting
Careers in accounting

Find out what it's like to be an accountant and see the job roles you'll be qualified for.

Where to start
Where to start

Get your free course guide and start your journey with AAT.

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