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A Comparative Analysis between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper

A Partial Fulfillment in

English Communication Skills 2 (HENGCO2)

Submitted by:

Bañas, Christian Marlou B.

Bermillo, Nathaniel B.

Dumlao, Geralvi Paula M.

Galario, Janna Kaithlyn I.

Navato, Alexanda J.

Viray, Sunshine G.

March 20, 2015

Submitted to:

Ms. Ruby Anne Minay

HENGCO2 Professor

Bañas, C., Bermillo, N., Dumlao, G., Galario, J., Navato, A., Viray, S. Page 1
A Comparative Analysis between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This research paper is made possible through the help and support from everyone,

including: parents, family, friends, and professors. Especially, the researchers dedicate

this acknowledgement of gratitude toward the following significant advisors and

contributors:

First and foremost, the researchers would like to express their deepest gratitude to Ms.

Ruby Anne Minay for her excellent guidance, understanding, patience and motivation

during the process this paper.

Second, the researchers would like to thank their family who are always there to support

and encourage them.

Lastly, the researchers would also like to give their sincere gratitude to the accountants

and bookkeepers who filled in the survey, without which this research would be

incomplete.

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A Comparative Analysis between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper

Table of Contents

I. Abstract ……………………………………………………………………………. 4

II. Introduction ……………………………………………………………………….. 5

III. Methodology ……………………………………………………………………… 8

IV. Result & Discussion ……………………………………………………………. 13

V. Conclusion and Recommendation……………………………………………. 16

VI. References ……………………………………………………………………….. 18

VII. Appendices ………………………………………………………………………..19

VIII. Recommendation from the panel ……………………………………………….25

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A Comparative Analysis between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper

Abstract

A comparative study analyzing the difference on functions, qualities, and trainings

needed between an accountant and a bookkeeper was conducted, gathering data from

two (2) pairs of Accountants and Bookkeeper from Prime Business Solutions and Allied

Services Inc., and Pioneer Insurance and Surety Corporation new set of questionnaires.

The researchers used clustering for statistical treat meant of the data it was found out

that accountants and bookkeepers are somewhat the same on some functions but differ

on aspects such as, educational attainment, knowledge on accounting. The researchers

the companies to provide task that would be particular for an accountant and a

bookkeeper.

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A Comparative Analysis between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper

Introduction

People are often confused about the difference of an accountant and a bookkeeper, and

sometimes they think of it as the same. It is important to know the difference between

the two to take away the confusion between its function.

Early definitions of accounting generally focused on the traditional recordkeeping

functions of the accountant. In 1941, the American Institute of Public Accountants

defined accounting as the art of recording, classifying, and summarizing in a significant

manners and in terms of money, transactions, and events which are, in part of at least,

of a financial character, and interpreting the results thereof (Needles, Anderson, &

Caldwell, 1990) the modern definitions of accounting, however, are much broad. In

1970, the AICPA stated that the function of accountancy is to provide quantitative

information, primarily financial in nature, about economic entities that is intended to be

useful in making economic decisions. (Needles, Anderson, & Caldwell, 1990)

The modern accountant, therefore, is concerned not only with recordkeeping but also

with a whole wide range of activities involving planning and, problem solving; control

and attention directing; and evaluation, review, and auditing; so accounting is not an

end in itself. Instead, it is defined as an information system that measures, processes,

and communicates financial information about an identifiable economic entity. (Needles,

Anderson, & Caldwell, 1990)

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A Comparative Analysis between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper

There are several studies discussing about the characteristics of an accountant. In the

study done by Wessels & Steenkamps (2009) have discussed the student’s issue of

stereotypical views of accountants and the work they perform. They have found out

about different perceptions of students about accountant.

On study made by Tilt (2009) on the contribution of accountants to the debate and

practice of corporate social responsibility discussed that the Accounting Officer has an

extremely important and responsible role in relation to public moneys. As he or she

cannot be acquainted with the detail of every transaction in the Department or Office, it

is essential that proper mechanisms be in place to provide appropriate assurance about

the regularity, propriety and efficiency of the Department’s or Office’s operations. These

mechanisms are robust internal control systems, sound internal audit and Audit

Committee arrangements and effective risk management. Accounting Officers should

take a personal interest in the establishment and functioning of these mechanisms.

Based on the study made by Stoddard (1978) about The Accountant’s role in

Management he found out that the role of accountant should be: gathering, interpreting,

and communicating financial data, performing special financial studies, controlling cost

and expenses, counselling managers on the financial impact of their decisions and

maintaining the proper balance with all aspects of the organization.

The study cited discussed about the characteristics needed by accountant, however,

they it did not discuss the trainings needed by the accountant that could help in

supporting their study.

A study done by Wilmshurst & Frost (2001) determining the role of an accountant in a

company. The accountant has a role to play in assessing whether environmental goals

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A Comparative Analysis between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper

have been achieved, and how this compares with the past performance of the firm. It is

also the basis for planning future goals of the organization.

Hence, the purpose of our study is to determine the difference and similarities of a

bookkeeper and an accountant. Thus, the following research questions must be

answered:

1. In what ways do accountants and bookkeeper differ base on:

 Function

 Educational Attainment

2. In what way do accountants and bookkeeper similar with?

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A Comparative Analysis between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper

Methodology

Setting and Participants

The researchers will be conducting a survey to the companies who have a

bookkeeper and an accountant. Two (2) pairs of each from two (2) different companies

will be used as the respondents because they are the ones who are directly involved

and are the main subjects in the study, “The Comparative Analysis between a

Bookkeeper and an Accountant”. Therefore, the survey questionnaires will be divided

into two (2) because there are some questions that can only be answered by the

accountant and the bookkeeper. The participants will be asked by their demographic

profile such as; name (optional), age, gender, occupation, company name, educational

attainment and monthly income.

Materials

The researchers used tools such as survey questionnaires to gather the data

needed. The survey questionnaire was made by the researchers. Since the topic is

about the Comparison between a Bookkeeper and an Accountant, the researchers

decided to make (2) two survey questionnaires, one is for the bookkeeper and the other

one is for the accountant. The survey questionnaire was divided into two categories

which are the Demographic Background and the Open-Ended Question.

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A Comparative Analysis between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper

For the Demographic Background, the questions are the same for the bookkeeper and

the accountant.

Sample questions for each section are.

Demographic Background (Bookkeeper and an Accountant)

Name(Optional):

Age:

Occupation:

Company Name:

For the open-ended questions, the researchers set different questions to

identify the difference of the two (2) respondents.

Open-Ended Question for Accountant:

What is an Accountant in your own thoughts?

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A Comparative Analysis between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper

Open-Ended Question for Bookkeeper:

What is a Bookkeeper in your own thoughts?

Pilot Testing

After the letter and the survey questionnaire were finalized and approved by our

English professor, the researchers photocopied two (2) sets of survey questionnaires

that were used on pilot testing.

Last January 25, 2015 (Sunday), the researchers went to Prime Business Solutions

and Allied Services Inc. and conducted their first set of survey while the second sets of

survey were conducted February 1, 2015 (Sunday) at Pioneer Insurance and Surety

Corporation. These companies were selected by the researchers because of their easy

access to their respondents. Two (2) pairs of bookkeeper and accountant participated in

this pilot test. Out of four (4) questionnaires distributed, four (4) questionnaires were

retrieved. Each respondent was asked to answer the questionnaire for 20 minutes but

all of them completed it before the said time limit. Other than that, the participants found

the questionnaire clear and well-created.

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Procedures

The researchers first formulated questions that they believed would gather the

different data needed for their study. The researchers came up with the survey

questionnaires are composed of demographic profile questions and open-ended

questions. The research design used is a causal-comparative because two (2) groups

are being compared: a bookkeeper and an accountant.

After the completion of the survey questionnaire, the researchers conducted a

pilot testing to determine if the said questionnaire would gather the needed answers to

support the study.

The researchers scanned the answer of the respondents and some of them gave

suggestions about the improvement of the survey questionnaire.

After improving the survey questionnaire, the researchers administered the

actual survey on two (2) pairs of accountant and two (2) pairs of bookkeepers from

different companies. The researchers will then analyze the gathered data from the

respondents.

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A Comparative Analysis between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper

Data Analysis

The survey questionnaire were composed of several open-ended questions,

therefore the researchers used clustering in organizing the data and information for

better research purposes.

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A Comparative Analysis between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper

Results and Discussion

Table 1. Responses of the Accountants


ASPECTS Respondent No.1 Respondent No.2
Function  Performs accounting  Professional in the
functions; auditing field of Accounting
and analyse financial that does auditing
statements. and analysis of
financial statements.
Qualities  Eye-for-detail and  Good analytical and
excellent critical thinking skills.
communication
skills.
Trainings Needed  Up-to-date with  Seminars related to
changes in the accounting field.
accounting
procedures and
legislative
developments.
Hiring  The moment it  When the owner
started doing does not have
business and enough knowledge
transactions. in the accounting
process.
Overlapping  Recording of  Financial records of
transactions. business.
Educational Attainment  BS Accountancy  BS Accountancy

Table 1 shows the views of the accountants regarding their profession. As shown

above, both believe that auditing and analysis of financial statements are performed by

accountants. The qualities of accountants include eye-for-detail, excellent

communication skills, good analytical and critical thinking skills; here, they do not

actually have the same answer yet accountants should possess each of the qualities

they have mentioned. Accountants should go to seminars related in their field and they

should be capable to incorporate to the latest developments and procedures. The

company should have accountants the moment it started doing business and

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transactions specifically when the owner do not have knowledge in that field (Nedved,

1973)

Based on the data above, accountants and bookkeepers tend to overlap in recording

financial records or transactions. Bachelor of Science in Accountancy is the required

educational attainment for one to become an accountant.

Table 2. Responses of the Bookkeepers.

ASPECTS Respondent No.1 Respondent No.2

Function  The one who maintain  A person who


and updates records financial
accounting records transactions.
such as recording and
posting business
transactions in
journals.
 The one who assist the
accountant or the
accounting manager.

Qualities  Good critical thinking  Attention to details,


skills. ability to priorities
and caring natures.
Trainings Needed  Any courses related  Bookkeeping
to bookkeeping, fundamental
financing. trainings.
Hiring  When there’s a  The earlier, the
limited financial better.
capability to pay for
accountant.

Overlapping  Recording of  Recording of


transactions, transactions.
bookkeeping.

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Educational Attainment  Post-secondary  Any business


courses of up to two related course.
years in areas such
as bookkeeping,
payroll or office
procedures.

Table 2 shows that the answers of the respondents that have somewhat coincided with

one another. As shown above, they are the ones who maintain and update accounting

records such as recording and posting business transactions in journal. The quality of a

bookkeeper is good critical thinking skills. The earlier the better to hire a bookkeeper in

the company (Mohr, 2012), because they are the ones who keeps the book and retains

the documentation for the transaction in the company. To be hired as a bookkeeper, it

requires to have an Associate’s degree in accounting or business Administration, or

equivalent business experience, as well as a knowledge of bookkeeping and generally

accepted accounting principles (Bragg, 2014).

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Conclusion and Recommendation

This paper had successfully explain the difference between accountants and

bookkeepers regarding different factors that concern their job such as functions,

qualities, trainings needed, time to be hired, overlapping functions, and educational

attainment.

When it comes to functions, accountants have been found to do the analysis and

auditing of financial transactions, while bookkeepers are the ones to do the recording

and storing financial transactions. When it comes to qualities, both accountants and

bookkeepers should possess the same attributes such as a keen eye for details, good

analytical and critical thinking skills. When it comes to the trainings needed, accountant

must be up-to-date regarding the changes in accounting procedures and legislative

development and to attend the seminars related to accounting field, while bookkeepers

should attend bookkeeping fundamental trainings. When it comes to hiring, accountants

are best hired the moment a business started doing business transactions. On the other

hand, bookkeepers should be hired when there is limited financial capability to pay for

an accountant. When it comes to overlapping functions, a bookkeeper and an

accountant overlaps at recording of transactions. For educational attainment needed,

accountants should be graduates of Bachelor of Science in Accountancy while

bookkeepers should have taken post-secondary courses up to two years in areas such

as bookkeeping, payroll, office procedures.

The researchers were able to find out the differences in the functionally of each job and

based on the findings of the paper, each job, accountants and bookkeepers, has his/her

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own specific task to perform. Each job has a different scope and boundaries that

distinguish them from one another. As stated above, accountants do the analysis and

auditing of financial transactions, while bookkeepers are the ones to do the recording

and storing financial transactions. Hence, the researchers recommend the companies

human resources to provide tasks and trainings needed for an accountant and a

bookkeeper. On the other hand, students will be also one of the beneficiaries of this

research because it will provide information on what a bookkeeper and an accountants

job.

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References

Hermanson, R., Edwards, J., & Saimonson, R.,(1986) Accounting Principles (3rd ed.)
Plano:Texas Business Publications Inc.
Wessels, P.L., & Steenkamp, L. P. (2009). An investigation into students’ perception of
accountants. Meditary Accountancy Research, 17(1), 117-132.
Needles, B., Anderson, H., Caldwell, J., (1990) Principles of Accounting (3rd ed.) U.S.A.
Houghton Mifflin Company.
Stoddard, F.D. (1978). The Accountants Role in Management. Management Accounting
60(1), 42
Tilt, C. (2009) Corporate Responsibility, Accounting and Accountant. Professionals
Perspective of Corporate Social Responsibility. 23(1), 40.
Wilshurst, T. D., & Frost, G. R. (2001). The role of accounting and accountant in the
environmental system. Business Strategy and the Environment, 10(3), 135.
Bragg, S. (2014). Bookkeeper Job Description. https://accountingtools.com. Date
retrieved: March 2, 2015.
Mohr, A. (2012). What’s the difference between bookkeeper and accountant?
https://quickbooks.insuit.com. Date retrieved: December 11, 2014.
Nedved, J. C., (1973). Builder’s Accounting (1st ed.) Chichester: Sussex. Butterworth &
Co.

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A Comparative Analysis between an Accountant and a Bookkeeper

Appendices

Survey Questionnaire for Accountant

I. Demographic Background

Direction: Fill up the following:

Name (optional):

Age:

Gender:

Occupation:

Company Name:

Educational Attainment

Put a check mark on the box.

 High School Graduate

 College Graduate

 Master’s Degree

 Doctorate’s Degree

 CPA

Others, please specify

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Monthly Income

 P 10,000 below

 P 10,000-30,000

 P 31,000-50,000

 P 51,000-70,000

 P 71,000-99,000

 P 100,000 above

II. Open-Ended Questions on Tasks of an Accountant

1. What is an accountant in your own thoughts?

2. What is a book keeper in your own thoughts?

3. What do you think are the qualities of a qualified accountant?

4. What do you think are the trainings needed by an accountant?

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5. Whom do you think is best preferred to be hired in a business? Bookkeeper or an

accountant?

6. When do you think is the best time for a business to hire an accountant?

7. What do you think are the tasks of a bookkeeper and an accountant that tend to overlap?

8. What educational attainment is required to be an accountant?

9. If one BS Accountancy graduate didn’t pass the board exam, what would be the possible

employment he/she will get?

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Survey Questionnaire for Bookkeeper

III. Demographic Background

Direction: Fill up the following:

Name (optional):

Age:

Gender:

Occupation:

Company Name:

Educational Attainment

Put a check mark on the box.

 High School Graduate

 College Graduate

 Master’s Degree

 Doctorate’s Degree

 CPA

Others, please specify

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Monthly Income

 P 10,000 below

 P 10,000-30,000

 P 31,000-50,000

 P 51,000-70,000

 P 71,000-99,000

 P 100,000 above

IV. Open-Ended Questions on Tasks of a Bookkeeper

10. What is an accountant in your own thoughts?

11. What is a bookkeeper in your own thoughts?

12. What do you think are the qualities of a qualified bookkeeper?

13. What do you think are the trainings needed by a bookkeeper?

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14. Whom do you think is best preferred to be hired in a business? Bookeeper or an

accountant?

15. When do you think is the best time for a business to hire a bookeeper?

16. What do you think are the tasks of a bookeeper and an accountant that tend to overlap?

17. What educational attainment is required to be a bookeeper?

18. If one BS Accountancy graduate didn’t pass the board exam, what would be the possible

employment he/she will get?

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Recommendation from the panel

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