Small Business Bookkeeper vs Accountant: Your Tradie Biz Guide

Xero vs MYOB

Written by Summer Priest

I’m your go-to Sydney Xero Bookkeeper who cares, swears and surprisingly doesn’t own a scratchy brown suit *scandalous*. I help you achieve freedom to live and up-level your biz. Good news. I always have a secret stash of Maltesers to share, love sipping apple martinis with you and dedicate my days to taking care of your books or looking after my littlest bestie, Bowie.

April 4, 2024

There you are, just minding your own (tradie) business, when suddenly you’re struck by the unmistakable urge to shovel your head out of the sand. Bookkeeper vs accountant: what’s the difference, and who does your growing business actually need?

Reckon it’s time to bring the big guns into your biz? Nice one. Next question: which big guns do you need? If you’re all like ‘???’, you’re not alone. Deciding who to use for your business’s financial fitness is a big call. Plus, you wanna make sure you’re not pouring precious dollars down the gurgler. 

Good news: we’ve got ya covered. 

Bookkeeper vs Accountant: What’s the difference?

Since you’re here, chances are you:

  1. a) feel lost AF with your numbers
  2. b) need to hire but the salary $ figure’s a stab in the dark
  3. c) have increased/decreased profit and have no idea what your next move should be

Here’s how to know who the hell to crack open your next biz chapter with.

But first – bookkeeper vs accountant: what do they actually do?

What is a bookkeeper? 

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a bookkeeper as “a person who records the accounts and transactions of a business”. 

Whereas Cambridge Dictionary defines a bookkeeper as “someone whose job is keeping an exact record of the money that has been spent or received by a business or other organisation”. 

Pssst… we at OH NINE are bookkeepers. 

And Corporate Finance Institute says “a bookkeeper is responsible for recording and maintaining a business’ financial transactions, such as purchases, expenses, sales revenue, invoices and payments”.

Our definition of a bookkeeper: Your dedicated numbers nerd, here to set up, manage and report your financial fitness so you can make your next biz move a ripper. 

What is an accountant?

Merriam-Webster is kind of elusive when they define an accountant as “someone who is skilled in the practice of accounting”.

Likewise, what do you make of’s “a person whose profession is inspecting and auditing personal or commercial accounts”?

Or even Collins Dictionary’s definition that “an accountant is a person whose job is to keep financial accounts”?

Our definition of an accountant: Your tax time mate who analyses the financial information your bookkeeper’s prepared, and then files your tax return. 

Bookkeeper vs Accountant

The Ultimate Guide for Tradies


  • Sets up your Xero account (the legit way)
  • Checks your DIY accounting setup’s correct
  • Runs reports on your financial situation
  • Makes sure expenses are allocated right
  • Makes sure GST claims are lodged properly
  • Creates and sends invoices on your behalf
  • Lodges your BAS and IAS
  • Runs and explains business reports* 
  • Pays your staff on your behalf
  • Chases up unpaid invoices for you
  • Pays bills for you
  • Pays your and your staff’s super

*Think Profit and Loss statements and Balance Sheets. We’ll help you understand how these reports paint a picture of your biz performance


  • Helps you start, buy, sell or close a business
  • Helps you apply for business loans 
  • Reviews bookkeeper reports
  • Uses bookkeeper reports to lodge your tax return
  • Prepares forecasting reports for informed choices


Pros and cons of hiring a bookkeeper

Let’s check out whether a bookkeeper’s the top choice for your small business. 

Bookkeeper: The Pluses

  • Takes reconciling, invoicing and paying staff off your to-dos
  • Correctly inputs and tracks your finances for reports and tax returns
  • Gets an accurate picture of your small business’s financial health
  • Offers a fresh, data-driven perspective to help direct your biz decisions
  • Gives you a legit numbers buddy in your pocket to answer your Qs
  • Provides access to extended deadlines for BAS, super and payroll lodgements

Bookkeeper: The Minuses

  • You may saturate your pillowcase when you think about how long you went without us
  • We really tried to think of some more, but that’s honestly it


Pros and cons of hiring an accountant

Is it an accountant you’re after? Here’s a look at the pros and cons. 

Accountant: The Pluses

  • Provides access to extended deadlines for your tax return
  • Maximises your deductions with their special accountant intel
  • Ensures you remain compliant with the latest tax laws
  • Makes tax time more efficient

Accountant: The Minuses

  • Time spent readying accounts (if you haven’t used a bookkeeper)
  • Cost (however, as a business expense, this can be claimed on tax)

To bookkeeper or to accountant, that is the question

If you’re noticing a coupla’ extra fiddys or 000s at the end of your bank balance, chances are you’re experiencing your next growth phase… 

Or if your numbers are drying up (and you have no idea why the heck it’s happening)…

A bookkeeper’s your go-to for clever financial figures that’ll get you back on the tools in no time. 

Tax time? An accountant’s the one you’re looking for!

Let’s *figure* it out together. Book a Virtual Beer with one of our tradie-friendly bookkeepers now. 

Get out of your books and into a cool car or something

Book a virtual beer

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