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Bookkeeper? Accountant? Chartered Accountant? What is the difference?

by admin on July 23, 2015 Comments Off

When it comes to accounting, three professionals are often mistaken to be the same: bookkeeper, accountant and a Chartered Accountant of Singapore (CA). Although these three can all perform accounting services Singapore, there are still lines that separate each from the other. So what are the differences among them? Which one is the best to hire? Let’s find out.



Bookkeepers are hired to record transactions and provide financial reports. To decrease workload, most bookkeepers now use an accounting software like Xero accounting or Quickbooks. These brands of software are often used for routine duties.

Though they produce financial statements, bookkeepers do no provide financial analysis. These professionals also do not provide tax advice. What they can provide a firm is to keep the financial books accurate and updated.



Accountants, aside from bookkeeping services, can provide detailed financial reports for a business. You may ask them to provide a simple cost analysis or profitability report. They may also do internal audit for your company. They can help you detect red flags in your organization.

These professionals can also help you out in preparing tax returns. You must bear in mind that if accountants prepare your tax returns, they cannot legally sign and report that return for you, nor can they appear in a tax court for you.


Chartered Accountants (CA)

Chartered Accountant (CA) of Singapore are accountants which passed the national exams and the statutory requirements of the state in order for them to perform accounting services in Singapore. They are mostly employed in accounting firms in Singapore.

Given their license, they can perform the widest range of accounting services: accounting, preparation of tax returns, advisory services and audits. The organization of CAs is called the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants.


Which one do you need?

Your choice from bookkeepers, accountants and CAs will depend on the level of expertise your business transaction requires. Most small and medium businesses can go with bookkeepers and accountants. Nevertheless, from time to time they will need CAs to perform complex activities like resolving tax issues or auditing the company.

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