Bookkeepers, Accountants vs CPAs. What are the differences?
At this time of year small business owners always have the same confusion on the differences between bookkeepers, accountants and CPA’s. I am an accountant with a 4 year degree. I also have over 30 years of experience at Senior levels with two large corporations,
As such, the State of Arizona has no authority for licensing as they do with CPA’s. I am unable to do the work of a CPA such as filing taxes or giving out advice at the level of CPA’s. However with that said, if you are a small business owner on a tight budget it just makes good sense to use an accountant to do the simple day to day accounting functions such as billing, payables, bank and credit card reconciliations. As a degreed accountant I am able to do most of what is needed to keep a solid and accurate set of financials for most any business, but a CPA or Tax Preparer will always have final review rights on what is actually allowed on the tax filing.
There are good and bad bookkeepers and accountants just as there are good and bad CPA’s. I have taken over some real messes caused by sloppy and shoddy work from all levels of this business.
As a result I have nearly 95 percent retention of my clients over the years. The 5 percent that are no longer with me closed their doors for relocation, retirement or family issues.
I work closely with CPA’s on a regular basis all across the Valley for any of my clients that want me to handle that communication so they don’t have to be bothered by it. Accountants such as myself charge 1/3rd of what a CPA charges in most cases for simple date entry and accounting functions. A CPA won’t usually get detail into your accounting software using Quickbooks. (At least the ones I have seen and dealt with, they usually hire accountants to do the Quickbooks part of the detailed work) CPA’s (again, the ones I have worked with) most likely put in higher level lump sum entries. I offer my clients detailed work on a daily or weekly basis then I wrap it all up for month end for them all; again with their CPA or tax person having the final review.
I am registered with the IRS as a separate business entity and I carry all the necessary E&O and Liability Insurance to protect my clients and any future clients against fraud. I have seen first hand, the damage that an unethical accountant can do to a business and it makes our entire profession look bad.
So…. if you are a small business owner ask for references, ask for current clients contact names and phone numbers and also ask for the names of any CPA’s that the accounting services you are considering hiring.
My references, names and numbers are all available to anyone that asks, no problem.
Have a great business day all