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Who is a Full Charge Bookkeeper: Roles and Responsibilities

Full Charge Bookkeeper
Read Time: 3 min

For small businesses and startups, navigating the intricate world of finance can feel daunting. With limited resources, they often need help handling accounting in-house or seeking external support. This is where the full-charge bookkeeper emerges as a vital financial guardian, wielding a multifaceted skillset to keep the financial gears turning smoothly.

Table of Contents

What is Full Charge Bookkeeping?

Think of full-charge bookkeeping as the Swiss Army knife of financial management for small businesses. It goes beyond the basic data entry and transaction recording of traditional bookkeeping. A full-charge bookkeeper is a one-person accounting department, handling the complete financial cycle from A to Z.

What does a Full Charge Bookkeeper do?

The range of duties that they are accountable for is vast, covering a wide variety of tasks like:

  • Accounts Payable & Receivable: Processing invoices, payments, and collections, ensuring accurate accounts payable and receivable records.

  • Banking & Reconciliation: Reconciling bank statements, managing deposits, and monitoring cash flow.

  • Payroll Processing: Calculate and process employee payroll, including deductions and taxes.

  • General Ledger Maintenance: Recording all financial transactions in the general ledger, ensuring accuracy and adherence to accounting principles.

  • Financial Reporting: Creating financial statements like balance sheets, income, and cash flow statements.

  • Tax Preparation & Compliance: Assisted with tax preparation and ensured timely filing of federal, state, and local taxes.

  • Internal Controls & Audits: Maintaining internal controls and performing essential audits to safeguard financial data and prevent errors.

  • Software Expertise: Proficient in accounting software and bookkeeping applications.

Full Charge Bookkeeper vs. In-House Bookkeeper

While both handle bookkeeping tasks, there’s a crucial distinction. An in-house bookkeeper typically focuses on a narrower range of duties, often reporting to a controller or accountant. Conversely, a full-charge bookkeeper operates independently, serving as the primary financial expert for the organization.

To perform well in this position, a full-charge bookkeeper must have a combination of strong technical skills and interpersonal abilities:

  • Technical Skills: Strong understanding of accounting principles, outsourced bookkeeping practices, and financial software.

  • Attention to Detail: Meticulous approach to ensure accuracy and adherence to regulations.

  • Organizational Skills: proficiency in managing multiple tasks and the ability to prioritize efficiently 

  • Communication Skills: Clear and concise communication with clients, colleagues, and auditors is crucial to mutual understanding.

  • Problem-Solving Skills: Ability to identify and resolve financial discrepancies and challenges.

  • Time Management Skills: Meeting deadlines and efficiently managing workload.
Full Charge Bookkeeper

Roles and Responsibilities of Full Charge Bookkeeper

The precise responsibilities of a full-charge bookkeeper can vary depending on the client’s specific needs and the organization’s size. However, some typical roles include:

  • Setting up and maintaining accounting systems: Choosing and implementing the right accounting software, customizing charts of accounts, and establishing internal controls.

  • Managing accounts payable and receivable: Ensuring timely invoice processing, collecting payments, and managing vendor relationships.

  • Processing payroll: Calculating payroll taxes, deductions, and issuing employee paychecks.

  • Preparing financial reports: Creating accurate and timely financial statements for internal decision-making and external stakeholders.

  • Tax preparation and compliance: Assisted with tax preparation and ensured timely filing of all necessary tax returns.

  • Providing financial analysis and insights: Sharing valuable financial insights with business owners and managers to support strategic decision-making.

Full Charge Bookkeeper vs CPA

While both play crucial roles in financial management, there’s a distinct difference between a full-charge bookkeeper and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). CPAs hold higher accounting expertise and are authorized to perform specialized tasks like audits, tax planning, and consulting. 

Although some full-charge bookkeepers are also qualified bookkeepers with additional certifications or qualifications, their primary focus remains on day-to-day bookkeeping and accounting tasks.

Full-Charge Bookkeeper vs. CPA: A Comparison

FeatureFull-Charge BookkeeperCertified Public Accountant (CPA)
EducationB.A. (optional)Master’s required
CertificationNoneCPA license
Primary FocusDay-to-day tasksAudits, tax, consulting
Typical TasksA/P, A/R, payroll, reportsAudits, tax planning, consulting
Client TypesSmall businesses, individualsLarge corps, nonprofits
Specialization General AccountingDiverse specializations


A full-charge bookkeeper is an invaluable asset for small businesses, providing comprehensive financial management support and enabling owners to focus on core business operations. If you’re navigating the intricate world of finance for your small business, consider partnering with a skilled full-charge bookkeeper to unlock financial clarity, optimize operations, and achieve your growth goals.

Full Charge Bookkeeper