How is a bookkeeper different to an accountant?

Often bookkeeping and accounting are considered to be the same profession.

Although they seem to have very similar roles and work there are some major differences between the two.

The real value of any business is achieved when both work closely together.

What is the difference between Accounting and Bookkeeping?

Bookkeeping is the day-to-day process of accumulating, categorizing, and recording financial transactions.

Bookkeeping is a foundation of your finances, providing vital information for reports, financial statements and tax returns.

The main objective of bookkeeping is to keep all financial transaction records up to date in a proper and systematic manner.

Bookkeepers are often responsible for:
  • Data entry
  • Balancing bank ledgers
  • Preparing bank reconciliations
  • Tracking income and expenses
  • VAT returns
  • Maintaining the general ledger
  • Completing payroll
  • Producing monthly financial statements and reports (e.g. profit and loss reports)
Accounting is the process of:
  • Recording
  • Measuring
  • Classifying
  • Verifying
  • Summarising
  • Analysing
  • Interpreting

And communicating financial information compiled during the bookkeeping process.

Accounting produces:
  • Conclusions
  • Reports
  • Forecasts
  • Financial statements
  • Tax returns

Strategies and models that can be used by business managers to make key business decisions.

As a result, it provides a picture of the actual profitability, trends, cash flow and other key financial indicators.

Put simply: Bookkeepers produce the data, while accountants review and interpret reports, providing insights into the business.


  • Bookkeepers and accountants both work with financial data.
  • Working with small businesses bookkeepers’ and accountants’ roles sometimes overlap, as bookkeepers can generate financial reports through bookkeeping software.
  • Both are tax-compliant.
  • Both share a goal of improving your business’s financial health.



  • Records and classifies all financial transactions
  • Processes receipts, payments and other financial transactions
  • Processes sales and purchase invoices
  • Maintains and balances subsidiaries, general ledger and historical accounts
  • Reconciles bank statements
  • Track income and expenses for the tax periods
  • Prepares initial financial statements
  • Manages accounts receivable and accounts payable
  • Prepares and files VAT returns
  • Can also facilitate payroll


  • Analyses/interprets, and provides subjective advice based on data from the bookkeeper
  • Adjusts entries
  • Generates financial statements and reports
  • Files income tax returns
  • Submits annual accounts
  • Advises on tax strategy and tax planning
  • Prepares financial forecasts
  • Analyses business performance
  • Prepares budgets, business plans and cash flow forecasts
  • Provides financial management advice
  • Audits

A bookkeeper’s and accountant’s work can overlap.

But in general, a bookkeeper’s priority is to record transactions and keep them organised whilst accountants provide consultation and analysis, and often are more qualified to advise on tax matters.

When deciding if you need a bookkeeper you’ll need to review the benefits, as it might be more beneficial for you to concentrate on your business and hire a bookkeeper to look after your day-to-day finances.

A bookkeeper can also liaise with the accountant for you to allow you to focus even more on your business.

In summary, bookkeeping is the completing of day-to-day financial tasks and accounting is the analysing and summarising of information produced by a bookkeeper.

Both have a big role to play in the business and together bookkeepers and accountants can help you better understand your business and take it to the next level.

Find out more

Ensure your business is in safe hands by leaving your bookkeeping to your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping expert.

Whether you want a helping hand and advice or to outsource your books, your local professional can help.

To learn more about how we can help you manage your finances and avoid bookkeeping woes, call 0345 862 0072 today.

Need help creating an invoice on Xero? We can help.

Xero can be a very useful tool when it comes to sorting out your finances but as with many of the accounting software options available, it has its shortcomings and should not be used as a substitute for a bookkeeper. One of these shortcomings is that they’re not always easy to use without help. That’s where we come in. Each of our Rosemary Bookkeeping business owners is trained on Xero and can provide you with any help you might need – including how to create an invoice.

One of the most crucial things to know about Xero is how to create an invoice. But this is not always easy if you don’t know how to. Luckily, our bookkeeping experts have put together this handy guide to walk you through creating an invoice on Xero, step by step.

Where to start

Before you get to creating an invoice template on Xero, the first thing you need to do is check that your company details are all correct.

To do this, select the drop-down menu in the top right corner of the homepage by clicking on your company name and navigating to your settings, then Organisation Details. From here, you need to make sure that your name and logo are in the correct place under Basic Information. If it isn’t, don’t worry, you can simply upload it now using the links on this page, and by adding in details like your company address, website, and contact information yourself.

You will also need to ensure that the button at the very top of the page has the “On” option selected, to make sure that some of this information is included on your invoices.

Then, as you scroll down this page, you select which information you would like to include by ticking the boxes along the right-hand side. You can then save this information once you have confirmed that you have read the terms and conditions and community guidelines.

Creating a new invoice template

Now that you have confirmed that your company details are in order, you can go on to create a new invoice template.

To do this, use the drop-down menu in the top-left corner once again to access your settings. But this time, navigate over to the top of the right-hand column and click Invoice Settings.  Once here, you should be able to see the standard theme set up by Xero. You can make as many different themes as you like in Xero, so feel free to experiment with your options. For this tutorial, we are going to use the standard theme, but modify some of the finer details to fit our needs.

You can do this by selecting the Options tab in the top-right corner of the first menu box and clicking Edit. Doing this will open up a dialogue box titled Edit Branding Theme.

The first thing to come up is the name of your invoice, followed by its size. Normally, we would advise keeping this as the default A4 size, so that when it is saved as a PDF file, it remains A4. As a result, we would normally recommend leaving the margin sizes as they are as well.

However, we do recommend changing the information next to Approved Invoice title and Overdue Invoice title by changing both to simply say INVOICE. This is because the use of the title of “Tax Invoice” is an Americanism set as Xero’s default. In the UK, we are used to the title “Invoice”, so it’s better not to confuse matters and stick to what most people are familiar with. As for the rest of the information on the left-hand side, we are going to keep the default settings.

Moving over to the right, you will be able to see 10 checkboxes for various settings:

  • The first allows you to Show your tax number, which is important to include on your invoices.
  • You will also want to ensure that you have the second option of Show column headings selected as well, to allow quantities etc. to be easily identifiable.
  • The third option of Show item code can be checked in some circumstances, but you can leave it blank for now.
  • If your business involves supplying products in terms of numbers and price, then you may need to have the Show unit price & quantity box selected. But the choice is yours, depending on the setup of your business.
  • The Show payment advice cut-away is now quite old fashioned and antiquated as it would be the procedure for posting a check. Therefore, we advise leaving this box blank.
  • Leave the Show tax column on
  • Leave Show registered address on, as this is a required field
  • Leave Show logo selected
  • Have Hide discount deselected
  • Leave Show Contact Account Number deselected

You will then want to leave the default settings of Show tax subtotals by dropdown below at its default setting of tax rates and leave the default setting of Show currency conversion as on net amounts with tax totals. You can then leave each of the Payment Services dropdowns blank.

Then you will need to fill in the bank details that you want the payment to come out of in the Terms & Payment Advice (Invoice and Statement) box. This is the name of the bank, the sort code, and the account number. As well as the payment term – the date the payment is due. This serves as a reminder more than anything, as this is shown once the invoice is raised.

As a general rule of thumb, we advise also changing your logo alignment to Centre from the Logo Alignment column in the top-right corner if you have elected to display a logo on your invoices – which we also advise.

With that, your template is complete, and you can now Save it by clicking the button at the bottom of the dialogue box.

You can now Preview your invoice template from the Options dropdown menu, which shows you what your invoice will look like when displayed on both a computer and a mobile.

How to raise a new sales invoice

Now that your template is ready, click the Dashboard heading at the top of the page, and click New sales invoice under Invoices owed to you in the top right-hand dialogue box, which will now let you raise a new sales invoice. Congratulations, you have successfully generated your first invoice on Xero! This template can now be amended to fit any billing that you may need to send and can be a reference for you to come back to in generating different invoices.

Our bookkeeping experts know how difficult it is to run a small business and stay on top of your finances, and will be able to offer you expert support and advice wherever you need it most. At Rosemary Bookkeeping, we help you with the books, so you can get on with the important bits.

For more help on online accounting software like Xero or QuickBooks, or any other help with your bookkeeping, get in touch with us by finding your nearest Rosemary Bookkeeping business today.