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Many restaurant owners start out by doing their own books, but as your business and responsibilities grow, you may find yourself too overwhelmed to handle the finances.

You need to hire someone but should you bring on an accountant or a bookkeeper? Though these terms are often used interchangeably, they are two separate positions with different responsibilities.

In this article, we’ll look at the difference between bookkeepers and accountants. We’ll review the function and responsibilities of each role, and then look at whether you should hire in-house or outsource.

What Is a Bookkeeper?

When it comes to accountant vs bookkeeper, think about your bookkeeper as the person who tracks your restaurant’s day-to-day transactions. They are on the ground, making sure your bills are paid, recording your sales, and keeping track of your taxes.

Bookkeeper responsibilities typically include:

  • Performing payroll
  • Sending invoices
  • Paying invoices
  • Recording receipts and bills
  • Maintaining the business’s ledger

Bookkeepers are great at keeping your accounts organized and making sure everyone gets paid. They tend to be less expensive to hire than an accountant and can also give you a day-to-day understanding of your business.


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What Is an Accountant?

While bookkeepers focus on the nitty-gritty of your daily business transactions, accountants look at the big picture. Their job is to generate reports, forecast trends, and help you make better financial decisions.

Accountant duties include

  • Creating yearly, quarterly, and monthly budgets
  • Doing the business’s taxes
  • Creating financial statements and reports
  • Analyzing a business’s performance
  • Making recommendations to improve a business’s finances

While accountants can perform bookkeeping, bookkeepers can’t be accountants. An accountant gives you a better understanding of your restaurant’s financial health. They provide deep analysis and expertise that can lead to improved profits.

Accountant vs Bookkeeper: Which One Should You Choose?

When considering whether to hire an accountant or bookkeeper, the answer will depend on the specific needs of your company. If you simply need help keeping your books in order, a bookkeeper may be the right choice. If you want someone on your team to analyze the financial performance of your restaurants and help you structure a budget, an accountant could be the way to go.

These two positions are not mutually exclusive. As your business grows, you may find you need both an accountant and a bookkeeper. In fact, these two positions can work well together, with the bookkeeper performing the daily financial tasks and the accountant managing the business’s overall financial picture.

Should You Hire In-House or Outsource Bookkeeping and Accounting?

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Now that you understand the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant, you can better determine what you need in your business. Bringing on a new employee, whether a bookkeeper or an accountant, can add a lot of overhead to your business. You may also find that you don’t yet have the need for a full-time bookkeeper or accountant.

In this case, it may make financial sense to outsource your bookkeeping and accountant. RASI can help. We offer a full suite of back-office services specifically for the hospitality market. We can take on all your bookkeeping needs and serve as your company’s accountant. Learn more about all the financial services we offer.