For your business’ accounting needs, knowing what services you need and how to set up your operational systems is the foundation of receiving accurate and timely financial information. Having the right people on your team to ensure cash is accounted for means having an audit trail in place, your taxes minimized, and the financial information you need.

Let’s explore the three key roles that will support these needs:

Accounts Payable Specialist 

This person is usually in-house. They are at the center of where everything starts, especially in a small business. The owner usually wears many hats, making it difficult for them to send information back and forth with their accountant, or to be able to handle the consistency of day-to-day accounting needs. This vital role of an AP Specialist ensures the checkbook is being handled properly, bills are paid, invoices get out, and they know where the company’s cash is at. Their key responsibilities include: 

  • A/P and Incoming Bills
  • Creating and Sending Invoices
  • Overseeing A/R and Collections
  • Manages the Company Checkbook

The person writing the checks and paying the bills should not be the one to balance the checkbook and reconcile the financial statement accounts.


After all the information has been entered into the system, the bookkeeper ensures all of the cash is accounted for and reconciles credit cards. This job is like a nurse checking the vitals, making sure you are reporting your key data, and checking in regularly. Their key responsibilities include: 

  • Bank Reconciliation 
  • Sales Tax
  • Runs Payroll
  • Pays Payroll Taxes
  • Quarterly Payroll Reports
  • Unemployment Compensation Filing
  • EOY: W-2 & 1099 Processing
  • Reconciles Balance Sheet 
  • Prepares F/S

These responsibilities require more technical expertise, such as an understanding of key rules related to sales tax, payroll, and year-end items. Unlike the Accounts Payable Specialist, the Bookkeeper is not paying the bills or sending out invoices, ensuring a separation of duties to prevent fraud, theft and to safeguard your cash flow. It is recommended to utilize an outside accounting firm with a Bookkeeper and an Accountant/CPA team approach, as it’s typically the best option for small businesses. 


If a bookkeeper is like a nurse, then an Accountant’s role is like the doctor: they come in to double-check and review reports, business guidance, and tax planning. Their key responsibilities include:

  • Oversees Financial Statement preparation
  • Makes sure Financial Statement is correct
  • Provides financial advice and consultation
  • Tax preparation and planning
  • Handles tax issues (audits and notices)

The ultimate result of these three key roles is an accurate and timely financial statement, basic business guidance, and proactive tax planning. The combined services the outside accounting firm should provide you are bookkeeping, accounting, payroll, consulting, and taxes to get the best results. 

Learn more about how to use your numbers to maximize sales, profits, and cash flow with the following free tools!  

  • Access your first online course free on us! Operational Cash Flow Systems will walk you through this and more! Click here and use coupon code ROCKNROLL to access it today! The course also includes a monthly cash flow reporting checklist.
  • Join us for our Cash Flow Bootcamp. A 1-day program where you will learn how to use your numbers to increase sales, profits, and cash flow click to view our live events here! Your first one-day boot camp is on us too! 

Even better, schedule a complimentary strategy session to see how we can partner with you in growing your business!

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