What is the difference between "accountant" and "bookkeeper"?


I’ve always been intrigued by these two terms: bookkeeper and accountant. Could you please tell me the difference between both? To me, account is the more modern of the two and an account might also have more responsibilities than a bookkeeper. Any ideas?


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These two terms mean the same thing to me but then I’m not in that line of business to know for sure.

I agree with you that “bookkeeper” does sound demeaning compared to “accountant”. I think this is the case of being politically correct these days… Like we used to say “stewardess” but now it has to be “flight attendant”.

I wonder if an accountant should refer to a professional in practice of accounting (with a certificate here in Japan) while a bookkeeper could be anybody dealing with bookkeeping (generally without a certificate but holding a diploma in bookkeeping).

Just my two cents.


Hi Haihao,

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. A bookkeeper is mainly as it says someone who keeps the books and points more towards clerical duties associated with accounting.


Hi Alan,

Thank you very much as always for everything. By the way, your ‘bring coals to Newcastle’ also interested me and now I got to know Newcastle used to be a coal-shipping port, that’s why it always had enough coals.


Good morning guys,

Thanks a lot for shedding some light on the accountant/bookkeeper question, it’s a great feeling to have you around.

Talk to you soon,

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