bookkeeping vs payroll

In general, an accountant’s role requires higher expertise and education. This individual usually holds an accounting degree and is registered as a certified public accountant (CPA). To use that title, CPAs bookkeeping and payroll services must pass the CPA exam—which is a highly valued credential in the accounting industry. A bookkeeper keeps track of day-to-day business finances, like recording transactions and managing general ledgers.

In terms of how much bookkeepers charge, the answer is it depends on the size and scope of your business. This is typically determined by company policy and employment agreements. Common frequencies include weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, and monthly.

Accountant Tasks

She has owned Check Yourself, a bookkeeping and payroll service that specializes in small business, for over twenty years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from UCLA and has served on the Board of the National Association of Women Business Owners. She also regularly writes about business for various consumer publications. Bookkeepers who are interested in switching jobs but do not have a college degree might consider becoming an EA after a stint with the IRS. This job doesn’t require a college degree, only five years of tax experience with the IRS.

bookkeeping vs payroll

The answer depends on where you are in your career, along with a few other factors. If you’re just starting out as a bookkeeper, earning a certification can help you stand out from the competition. Keep reading to discover what else a bookkeeping certification can offer. Though the QuickBooks support portal doesn’t scream organization like OnPay’s, QuickBooks Online Payroll contains considerably more software-specific support content. QuickBooks has a community forum where customers ask questions that QuickBooks customer support and other customers answer.


OnPay hosts weekly live webinars to show users how to set up and navigate the software. QuickBooks webinars most often focus on showing off new features in its accounting software products, though there’s plenty of payroll support webinars in the archive. For carrying out basic payroll functions, both do a fine job breaking down the steps and showing you which buttons to push.

bookkeeping vs payroll

This also provides a competitive advantage for bookkeepers beginning their careers. Earning a bookkeeping certification involves weeks of studying, hours of test preparation and a significant financial investment. Additionally, maintaining a bookkeeping certification from NACPB or AIPB requires continuing professional development. For example, a certification from California State University, Fullerton costs $2,195. As for certification from AIPB, members pay $479, and nonmembers pay $574. The price of this certification includes the cost of enrollment, workbooks and the four-part national certification exam.

Can bookkeeping software handle payroll?

Accountants, on the other hand, use the information provided by bookkeepers to summarize a business’s financial position and render financial advice to the business owner. Many accountants also prepare tax returns, independent audits and certified financial statements for lenders, potential buyers and investors. There’s also a blurring of roles, with some accountants providing bookkeeping services and some bookkeepers giving strategic business advice. Plus, today, most bookkeeping software can create financial statements—a task usually reserved for accountants. The bookkeeper job description entails maintaining the general ledger and accounts, recording transactions, posting debits and credits, running payroll and creating invoices. Bookkeepers primarily handle day-to-day financial tasks, such as recording transactions, managing invoices, and reconciling accounts.