What is a Bookkeeper?

Definition: A bookkeeper is an accounting professional primarily responsible for maintaining a detailed record of purchases, sales, and other financial transactions. The kind of transactions accounted for and how they are recorded can vary significantly depending on the preferences and practices of different institutions or individuals.

What Does Bookkeeper Mean?

What is the definition of bookkeeper? Although the terms are typically conflated or used interchangeably, bookkeepers and accountants have distinct roles and obligations. Bookkeepers are, essentially, on the front line; they maintain an account of how finances flow into and out of an entity from day to day.

Accountants are more concerned with the larger picture and use the data bookkeepers keep track of to generate reports, identify important trends, and make projections. In addition, bookkeepers are not required to have an undergraduate degree; accountants typically are expected to have, at least, four years of formal training.


Acme & Associates is a growing novelty store. To ensure better maintenance of their financial records, they recently hired a Bookkeeper, Brenda, and an Accountant, Ann. Brenda’s role is to meticulously document daily financial transactions in a ledger.

As an example, Acme recently had a large shipment of plastic flamingos from PF Co. that cost $750.50 wholesale. In the ledger, Brenda would label this expense as a purchase, note the cost down to the cents, and explicitly indicate that the amount was paid to PF Co. She would record Tuesday’s sales of $1,430.75 as receipts for the given date. Before handing this data off to Ann, the accountant, Brenda would run a trial balance to ensure that no errors were made in recording debits and credits overall.

Upon receiving the balanced ledger of purchases, receipts, and other transactions from Brenda, Ann would then be able to begin gathering insights on where Acme & Associates is allocating its financial capital; how expenses can be streamlined; and what their federal, state, and local taxes are projected to be.

Summary Definition

Define Bookkeepers: Bookkeeper means someone who records business transaction in an accounting system.