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Bookkeeper vs. Finance Manager: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

A bookkeeper and finance manager are both responsible for financial record-keeping and reporting. However, a finance manager typically has more experience and education than a bookkeeper, and they may also be responsible for other aspects of financial planning and management. In this article, we compare and contrast the job titles bookkeeper and finance manager, including their responsibilities, education requirements and average salaries.

What is a Bookkeeper?

Bookkeepers are responsible for maintaining financial records and ensuring that all transactions are properly documented and accounted for. They post transactions, reconcile accounts and prepare financial reports. Bookkeepers work with a variety of financial documents, including invoices, bills, receipts and bank statements. They use accounting software to input and track data, and they may also create spreadsheets to track income and expenses. Some Bookkeepers also perform payroll functions, such as calculating employee wages and preparing tax documents.

What is a Finance Manager?

Finance Managers are responsible for the financial planning and management of a company. They oversee the preparation of financial reports, direct investment activities and develop strategies to increase profits. Finance Managers also work with other departments within the company to ensure that all financial goals are met. They develop long-term business plans and budgets, and they monitor financial performance to identify areas of improvement. Finance Managers typically have a bachelor’s degree in accounting or finance, and they may also be certified public accountants (CPAs).

Bookkeeper vs. Finance Manager

Here are the main differences between a bookkeeper and a finance manager.

Job Duties

A bookkeeper’s duties are more focused on the day-to-day operations of a business. They’re responsible for recording financial transactions, such as sales and payments, and maintaining accurate records. This involves using computer software to track financial information and manually inputting data when necessary. Bookkeepers also perform calculations related to financial transactions and prepare reports based on the data they collect.

In contrast, finance managers oversee the entire financial department, which may include multiple bookkeepers and other staff members. They provide leadership to these employees by establishing goals and providing direction on how to achieve them. Finance managers also monitor financial trends within their departments and communicate findings to upper management. They may conduct research to determine the best ways for their teams to improve processes and increase productivity.

Job Requirements

Bookkeepers typically need at least a high school diploma to enter the field, though many employers prefer candidates with some college experience. Bookkeepers can pursue an associate degree or certificate in bookkeeping, accounting or a related field, which can help them stand out to potential employers. Some bookkeepers also become certified through organizations like the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB) or the National Association of Certified Public Bookkeepers (NACPB). These certifications require bookkeepers to pass exams and meet other requirements, such as having a certain amount of work experience.

Finance managers usually need at least a bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting or finance. Many finance managers also have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA), which can help them qualify for more advanced positions. Additionally, finance managers might pursue professional certification through organizations like the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) or the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute. These certifications can demonstrate a finance manager’s knowledge and skills to potential employers.

Work Environment

Bookkeepers typically work in an office setting, but they may also travel to clients’ locations. They usually work regular business hours and have little interaction with customers or clients. Finance managers often work in an office environment during regular business hours, but they may also travel for meetings and events. They may interact with clients and customers on a daily basis and work overtime when necessary.


Both bookkeepers and finance managers need to have excellent math skills. They also both need to be able to use accounting software, as well as spreadsheets like Microsoft Excel.

Bookkeepers tend to have a higher level of detail-orientation than finance managers. This is because they are responsible for recording all financial transactions accurately and keeping track of many different accounts. Finance managers typically have more of an overview of the company’s finances and may not be as focused on individual transactions.

Finance managers also need to have strong analytical skills. They use this skill set to examine financial reports and data to make recommendations about where the company should allocate its resources. Bookkeepers do not typically need to have as strong of an analytical background, but those who do may be able to move into finance manager roles.


Bookkeepers earn an average salary of $49,431 per year, while finance managers earn an average salary of $107,233 per year. The average salary for both positions may vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience the employee has prior to taking the job.


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