Bookkeepers so bad?

Why do bookkeepers get such a bad rap by accountants?
Is it because there is a bad standard of work across the industry?
Or accountants don't take the bookkeeping work seriously?
Many accountants do bookkeeping... many!
This is not personal, no issues here - I am just interested to see what people think and why??
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What's the difference between bookkeeper and accountants? Thanks alot in advance.
GO wrote:

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First, bookkeeping is a nonregulated "profession". There are no standards set by the government, and there is no government sanctioned body to self regulate like accountants. Anyone can call themselves a bookkeeper with no repercussions. Try calling yourself a CPA without membership to the AICPA. Say hello to Tony the guard in cellblock C. And goodbye to a hefty fine.
Because there is no standard and no regulating body, the standard of the work produced is often abyssmal. I have fixed more messes than I care to think about, and I will continue to do so. A good bookkeeper who really knows what they are doing does not come cheap. REMEMBER: You get what you pay for.
The difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant:
Bookkeeper - performs a lot of data entry tasks, posting to journals and the G/L, is often guided or instructed by an accountant, does routine analysis for goverment remittances etc. Most can calculate WIP and accrued liabilities, reconcile accounts, and prepare amortization & depreciation schedules.
Accountant - often does the same types of things as a bookkeeper, but is more heavily into the analysis, projections, budgeting, tax planning, investiment planning, does complex consolidations, works often with complex investments, multiple foreign currencies, finding and correcting errors, preparing loan proposals, conducting audits and tax preparations.
A *good* bookkeeper can do much of the same work, and we prefer "accounting technician".
Stephanie Wells, ICIA Durham Business Outsource Accounting & Technology Partner QuickBooks Pro Advisor Member, Canadian Bookkeepers Association www.dbo.ca
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Thank you for your detailed response.
S.M. Serba wrote:

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There are a lot of bad bookkeepers out there, so yes, they have given a bad name to the industry.
The other thing is, that some have taken to stepping into areas (client work) they have no business being involved in.

Not at all. Bookkeepers - good bookkeepers - are worth their weight in gold.
--
Paul A. Thomas, CPA
Athens, Georgia
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Thanks Paul.
Paul Thomas wrote:

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I'm working on my bookkeeping certification. There's an organization called the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. I'm going the self-study route, but my local community college has an adult school course also. That website has a listing of what a professional bookkeeper can do. Once I pass the certification test, I hope to get a "better" job, where my skills are more appreciated and taken seriously. www.aipb.org

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The "bookkeeping profession" is still completely unregulated. Unlike a CPA, CA, CGA or CMA, you can call yourself a bookkeeper and not be breaking any laws or be subject to any fines.
The "profession" needs some kind of regulation, if it is self regulation at the very least. If employers would hire only "certified" bookkeepers, then there will be more of a demand for certification and the level of competence will increase.
Otherwise, we are all at the mercy of Cindy who has 3 months of A/P experience and one QuickBooks course who thinks she can keep a full set of books to trial balance and prepare your tax return.
Stephanie Serba, ICIA Partner, Durham Business Outsource www.dbo.ca
Meyer1228 wrote:

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I think it is a matter of how accountants feel about the bookkeepers job, certainly we are doing a lot of work they ussually have as part of their duties before. I have no problems with the accountants in my company because they have a clear understanding of their roll as well as my roll. I think a good team work is the key on this.

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Personally I think it is because of a bad standard of work across every industry. I have been in many industries as a worker and in each I would put my all into my job. I was there to prove something about myself, I think. The problem is, most people are just doing their jobs for the sake of a paycheck and not taking pride in their work. This leads to apathy and sloppiness, which for a bookkeeper leads to poor work performance. As a recently certified bookkeeper, I plan on bringing my sense of work ethics into my new profession and give the best service I can to my employer or clients. Subsequently, even though I have my certification, I am continuing to educate myself at every opportunity, hence why I am joining groups like this one and acquiring everything I can about bookkeeping and accounting. As to a regulating board, even the best regulating board means nothing if the members of it do not take pride in their work. How many times has a certifying body been discredited because of the poor performance of their members?
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There are lots of people out there who do a bad job. But they are not those who go around telling employers or clients they are trained, experienced and competent like some "bookkeepers".
I have heard of, and seen, the work of some of these individuals. They have a software training course under their belt, like QuickBooks, Simply Accounting, MYOB or Peachtree and NO bookkeeping or accounting training whatsoever, not to mention any experience keeping a full set of books to trial balance. These are the individuals who say they are "full-cycle bookkeepers" and have no clue what it means, don't know the difference between a debit and a credit, and have no idea WHY you would do a monthly bank reconciliation.
THOSE people are the ones that give "bookkeepers" a bad name. I've been studying accounting for some time (on and off for about 11 years and now pursuing my degree) and been a full-cycle bookkeeper (really an accounting technician) for 9 years. I've worked for an employer, for bookkeeping & accounting services (for 2 CMA's and a CA), and for my own bookkeeping, accounting & business services.
I think a lot of the problems is because there is no government or other regulation for "bookkeeping" or "bookkeepers" that there are so many bad ones out there still in business, and bankrupting their clients. If accountants like CPA's, CMA's, CA's and CGA's have to study, pass tests and adhere to a code of ethics in order to obtain and MAINTAIN their licenses, why the heck not for bookkeepers?
EMPLOYERS, if you have the opportunity to hire a CERTIFIED bookkeeper, DO IT! Check references to verify responsibilities and competence, check memberships for current status.
Stephanie
Tabren wrote:

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Thanks for your input to my questions Stephanie.
Hopefully in Australia they will bring in minimum standards for bookkeeping. Even a Cert IV course would be better than nothing.
All the best with your studies.
S.M. Serba wrote:

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Well said!
Tabren wrote:

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