What is Payroll Accounting? Payroll Journal Entry Guide 2021

August 24, 2023by Engin Kunter0

what is the difference between payroll and bookkeeping

Remember that regardless of what type of accounting you do, the information does not exist in a vacuum. Corporations have sometimes found that increased wages save money by reducing high retraining costs. Because of the crucial human element of payroll, accountants from within HR might handle it. After all, receiving payment is a pretty big deal to people who work. For example, you’ll take more out of a single earner of $100k  per year than a family of four who earn $50k..

Each sale and purchase your business conducts must be recorded in the ledger and some items will need documentation. You can find more information on which transactions require supporting documents on the IRS website. On the other side of the coin, accountants can also provide more bookkeeping and payroll services than adequate financial documentation, and it’s a core element of their work. These steps require a more in-depth understanding of finances, so an accountant will typically perform them. The accounting process is more subjective than bookkeeping, which is largely transactional.

Deduct Taxes (FICA, Unemployment, and Income Taxes)

Accountants might take this a step further by registering as a CPA, or Certified Public Accountant. CPAs meet state licensing requirements to become publicly practicing accountants. A third aspect of accounting involves income tax reporting, and must be done in compliance with government regulations. Internal analyses https://www.bookstime.com/ can include budgets, standards for controlling operations, cost of goods sold, quotes, etc. and is known as management accounting. In today’s world, bookkeeping is most commonly done using computer software, such as QuickBooks. Many people often use the terms accounting, payroll, and bookkeeping interchangeably.

  • If you’re only focusing on expenses and not big-picture financial data, you’ll miss out on some strategic opportunities.
  • You’ll list the services provided, the required materials, and the payment amount.
  • Errors in payroll can consequently lead to high employee turnover rates, a bad company reputation, and low morale in the workplace.
  • Business owners will often look to accountants for help with strategic tax planning, analysing their financial position, forecasting, and tax filing.
  • Hence, it’s best to inquire about an accountant’s skill set before hiring them.

Though their practices generally differ, they may intersect at some points, causing confusion on what specialist could be the best fit for a business. So before you start looking through accountants or bookkeepers to hire, a good rule of thumb is to carefully analyze your business needs and available resources. Then you can decide whether to hire an in-house specialist, outsource bookkeeping or accounting tasks, or turn to a CPA firm. You might want to acquire additional funds for your business to feel more confident by securing extra cash for emergency purposes. Diligently processed financial statements over an extended period can be a kind of insurance for you to receive the needed investment. Hiring a bookkeeper is an important decision that you need to take seriously because it can have a major impact on your company’s financial health.


Keeping track of invoices is an important part of getting paid on time and keeping your books clean. Using specialised invoicing software to organise these tasks can streamline your processes and give you more time to focus on your business. To see how technology can ease the management of your business finances, book office hours with our team. Both accounting and bookkeeping play an important financial role in business, there is a difference between the two. Bookkeeping is a direct record of all purchases and sales your business conducts, while accounting is a subjective look at what that data means for your business and cash flow strategies. An accountant can be considered a bookkeeper, but a bookkeeper can’t be an accountant without proper certification.

what is the difference between payroll and bookkeeping

You may also be an ideal bookkeeping candidate if you want a good job with a respectable wage and decent security but may not be looking for a long-term career. Bookkeeping offers much lower barriers to entry, and the competition you face in the job search is less fierce. As an accountant, you may have to crunch numbers, but those are not the only skills needed. It is important to possess sharp logic skills and big-picture problem-solving abilities, as well. While bookkeepers make sure the small pieces fit properly into place, accountants use those small pieces to draw much more significant and broader conclusions.

Does your business need a bookkeeper or an accountant?

Today, we’ll go over the differences between bookkeeping and accounting so that you can figure out how to allocate resources effectively. Payroll software for accountants simplifies the data tracking process. It handles automated reporting of taxes, payout to employees, and production of information that entire departments previously held.

With many accounting automation solutions available on the market, bookkeepers have been freed from the manual tasks of data entry. Nowadays bookkeepers can use the opportunity to give more insight and sometimes play the role of an advisor. It may take some background research to find a suitable bookkeeper because, unlike accountants, they are not required to hold a professional certification. A strong endorsement from a trusted colleague or years of experience are important factors when hiring a bookkeeper.

Invoices vs. receipts: 3 Main differences

If you are interested in becoming an accountant, it may be beneficial to your career to become a certified public accountant (CPA), which has its own exam. You must have a minimum of 150 postsecondary education hours, or what amounts to a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and an additional 30 hours of graduate work. Some of the key tasks for accountants include tax return preparation, conducting routine reviews of various financial statements, and performing account analysis. Another key responsibility for accountants includes conducting routine audits to ensure that statements and the books are following ethical and industry standards. Bookkeeping these days can now be done by computer software such as Quickbooks.

  • Many small and midsize business (SMB) leaders find it challenging to decide who can meet their financial needs.
  • For example, accountants with sufficient experience and education can obtain the title of Certified Public Accountant (CPA), one of the most common types of accounting designations.
  • Bookkeeper duties are keeping track of your finances and producing regular budget reports, so ideally, they should be knowledgeable about ways to do so.
  • The exact salary will depend on the amount of work that needs doing, as well as whether you’re hiring someone to work in-house or remotely.
  • While this decision is personal and depends on your needs and business goals, here are some signs it’s time to outsource your bookkeeping and accounting needs.
  • The best bookkeepers and accountants work with you, giving you visibility into your finances and helping you get a better understanding of your company.
  • In either case, consider handling the accounting yourself or delegating this responsibility to one or a few of your current employees.

Engin Kunter

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