Everyone knows what an accountant generally does — work with money and numbers. But the field of accounting is actually extraordinarily broad and diverse. While you may know that you need an accountant, you may not know the difference between an accountant and a certified accountant, or what kind of services they can offer you.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is an Accountant?
An accountant is a professional who is responsible for the financial documents, bookkeeping, auditing, or tax preparation for individuals or businesses. Accountants can work in a number of fields: they can work directly for businesses, for accounting firms, or on their own. They are often experts in specialized fields, such as business taxation, individual taxation, auditing, small businesses, or large enterprises.
Business owners may need accountants to keep their books, file their taxes, or perform their payroll services. Individuals may need accountants to help them manage their finances or file their taxes. Either way, accountants help in keeping track of finances and keeping control of finances.
What Are Other Terms for an Accountant?When speaking about accountants, there are three terms that are often confused: bookkeeper, accountant, and CPA.
- Bookkeeper. A bookkeeper is an individual who keeps the books for a company. They may work for an accounting firm, but they are not themselves an accountant. Their work will usually be reviewed by an accountant. Bookkeepers may pay bills (accounts payable) or collect money from clients (accounts receivable. They may also perform general reconciliations and may prepare financial statements, but these statements will be reviewed later.
- Accountant. An accountant is an individual who will perform bookkeeping and prepare financial documents as well, but they generally have a higher level of experience and education with accounting. They will be able to audit and analyze financial statements as well as providing them.
- CPA. A CPA is a “certified public accountant.” A CPA is an accountant who has gone the extra step to become certified, which includes many high-level academic courses as well as passing multiple rigorous tests. CPAs are held to a higher standard and do higher-level work.
Depending on the work that you need to be done, you may need a bookkeeper, accountant, or CPA. You may even need a combination of all three.
What Does An Accountant Do?Accountants can do many things, depending on an organization or individual’s needs.
- Bookkeeping services. Bookkeeping involves logging transactions and reconciling them, to ensure that expenses and income are properly booked, and financial statements are produced as they are needed. Without comprehensive bookkeeping services, most businesses cannot survive.
- Accounting services. Accountants can produce reports such as income/expense reports and balance sheets so that business owners can analyze their income and expenditures and determine the right course of action for their business. Accountants can advise clients regarding their finances and analyze their current trends.
- Payroll. Payroll is often the most difficult process for small business owners. An accountant will be able to go through payroll with ease, making sure that payroll is paid out correctly and on time, and that all payroll taxes are properly calculated and paid.
- QuickBooks training. Many companies can benefit from training by a Cleveland certified accountant. Companies that keep their own books may need to know more about how QuickBooks works, so they can log relevant transactions, keep track of their balances, and otherwise manage their day-to-day operations.
- Tax preparation. A certified accountant will be able to prepare an organization’s taxes not only in compliance with the tax code but also in ways that save the organization money. Accountants can advise businesses on the best way to spend their money to take advantage of tax credits and tax deductions, and otherwise ensure that their taxes are fully up to code.
Accountants may also do things such as perform audits and help business owners make critical decisions about their financial situation.
What Makes Szweda Consulting Special?
Szweda Consulting is your Cleveland certified accountant that works nationwide. Our first consultation is free; talk to us, and you can learn more about the services that you need, and how an accounting firm can help you. We are independent and flexible, and we’re able to provide customized accounting services to meet the needs of our unique clientele.
Want to learn more? At Szweda Consulting, we work to ensure that our clients have the full accounting and bookkeeping solutions that they need to thrive. Call us today at (216) 509-1561. to book an appointment/consultation.