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What’s The Difference Between a Bookkeeper, an Accountant and an Advisor?

We breakdown what you can expect from a bookkeeper, an accountant and a financial advisor to help you understand the differences.

Do I need an accountant if I already have a bookkeeper?  What about a CFO, what exactly are ‘advisory’ services and how will it benefit my firm? 

We get these types of questions a lot. In fact, many clients use terms like accounting and bookkeeping interchangeably without fully understanding the nuance between the two services. Even more mysterious are advisory services and yet we’re seeing more and more business leaders relying on their financial partners for exactly this type of advice. 

So what’s the difference between these three services? Let’s dive in.

What to Expect from an Accountant

A great accounting solution for creative businesses includes:

  • Financial Planning and Analysis
  • Monthly Management Reporting
  • A monthly deep dive into your performance around things like client revenue, client profitability, staff cost and overhead ratios, and working capital management
  • Accrual accounting, revenue and costs are booked when earned/received, vs when the bills go out/come in
  • Project accounting in order to understand the performance of your projects
  • A proactive accounting team who works with the business to enable growth

What to Expect from a Bookkeeper

By contrast, a bookkeeping solution generally focuses on transactions.  In most cases, a bookkeeper performs the following services, after the fact:

  • Enters supplier invoices
  • Records payments to suppliers
  • Reconciliation of bank accounts and credit cards
  • Prepares client invoices
  • Prepares, files and pays sales tax returns

These are important activities, and without them, you won’t have good financial statements with which to make decisions.  But without the accounting piece, it’s impossible for your financial advisor to add the most value to your business.

What to Expect from an Advisor

This brings us to the final piece of puzzle, advisory solutions. Advisory solutions focus on:

  • Growth
  • Risk Management
  • Cash Management
  • Consulting
  • Leadership team advice

At Finally, we believe that a good accounting solution contains all three parts.  In fact, we believe that limiting your accounting solution could be limiting your growth.

These solutions don’t have to be cost prohibitive anymore.  Leveraging cloud based tools and industry expertise, we are able to provide a robust accounting solution for the fraction of the cost of traditional delivery models. 

Our packages are flexible and tailored to meet the needs of your business. You choose your service level and we agree on a price in advance, full transparency. For growth oriented creative firms who are looking for more than a bookkeeping solution, our plans are accessibly priced. It’s important to us that our services are affordable and add real value to your firm. 

If you have questions about our solutions and what that might look like for your firm, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are happy to break it down in more detail. Send us an email today.


Finally helps high potential creative services businesses be successful without the stress and bore of traditional financial management. If you’re ready to leap from the basics of bookkeeping into a seamless partner-at-the-table accounting team that helps you see the big picture and provides the tools and counsel to make it happen, get in touch today.