Beyond the Books: The Difference Between a Tax Accountant and a CPA

As a CPA, Fractional CFO, and Anticipatory Accountant, speaking to business owners about what I do is part of my day-to-day. I’ve been in this field for quite some time, have had many such conversations, and I’m always eager to “talk shop.”

Something I’ve noticed along the way is that many business owners aren’t really clear on what a firm like KBS CFO can actually do for them. When they hear that I’m a CPA, they often default to taxes. And although, yes, our firm definitely oversees a wide variety of tax compliance requirements for our business clients, what we do extends far beyond overseeing the completion of the companies Federal Form 1120 or 1065.

What KBS CFO does for our clients goes way beyond the books. Yes, we have so-called “bookkeepers” (we prefer the term “Transaction Specialists”)  in house and on staff and those transaction specialists play an important role in the overall value we deliver to our clients. But what we do as CPAs is multidisciplinary by its very nature. And on top of that? I’m lobbying for a full-on ditch of the term “bookkeeper.” Hear me out.

What a CPA Firm Brings to Your Business Beyond Bookkeeping

Here’s the bottom line: A CPA firm offers a far wider array of services that go well beyond tax mitigation and preparation. Here are three of the majors that skim the surface. 

Financial Advisory and Planning

KBS CFO doesn’t live and breathe by ‘tax season’. We offer comprehensive financial advisory services that our business clients need, every day of the year. We provide financial insights and guidance to help business owners make informed decisions that impact the health, wellbeing, and future of their business. We help them see around corners to spot trends and opportunities so they can grow strategically and sustainably. Budgeting, forecasting, cash flow management, financial’s all part of the picture. 

Financial Reporting centered around Growth

So many clients come to us wondering whether or not they are tracking the right financial data, have complete and accurate information, and have the systems, processes, and tech stack they have in place to get the job done. CPA firms like KBS CFO shine a spotlight on all of this and course correct wherever needed. And it matters! …the work we do impacts it all aspects of the business’s life cycle.

Business Advisory and Strategy

As we work with our client, we don’t engage in a one-and-done projects. We are long term partners. Advisors. We get to know you, your whole business, and we help you act according to the plans and dreams you have not just today, but well into the future. Expansion, mergers and acquisitions, investment decisions, cost-cutting strategies, weathering a decline, or business succession planning…the right CPA firm taps into all of this. And as a result? You navigate it with confidence. 

Now, Why I’m Calling it Quits on the Role Title “Bookkeeper”

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not short on missions. But here’s one I feel strongly about. Bookkeepers are a thing of the past. We do a disservice to the industry, those who are entering it (which, by the way, is an alarmingly low number), and to our own financial service businesses by labeling these important team members in this way. 

No-one is “keeping books.” Let us not harken back to the day of handwritten ledgers, pencils, push-button calculators, paper checks and sleeves being rolled up when we consider the individuals that are ensuring all the transactions and data are up to date in the accounting systems. Those individuals are not bookkeepers. They are Transaction Specialists. They are importing data, pushing data, pulling data, seeking to ensure that if there is a financial activity that has happened in the business’s universe, it is caught and reflected in the system, maintaining financial records clean, accurate, and in compliance, among other things. Bookkeeper is entrenched in our industry and it’s time to change the narrative. So, there you go. Taxes matter. No doubt about it! But CPA firms like KBS CFO do so much more for your business. If you’re interested in learning more about what we can do to help you see around corners and take your business intentionally into the future, contact us today.