Full-charge bookkeeping describes the “next level” bookkeeping your business can leverage when you’re ready to graduate beyond balancing the books with Excel or hand-writing ledgers. Full-charge bookkeeping is a different animal from traditional bookkeeping but is increasingly popular as digitization opens up new global talent pools. Full-charge bookkeeping involves overseeing all aspects of a company’s financial processes, going beyond just recording basic transactions. This type of bookkeeping requires a deep understanding of financial operations, which includes handling routine entries, creating complex financial reports, and strategic financial planning.

What Does the Full-Charge Bookkeeper Do?

What Does the Full-Charge Bookkeeper Do

A full-charge bookkeeper’s duties aren’t necessarily set in stone. How you use a full-charge bookkeeper’s myriad skills and tools depends on your specific needs. In general, though, expect your full-charge bookkeeper to:

  • Manage Accounts: They make sure that accounts payable and receivable are handled smoothly, keeping vendors paid and cash coming in.
  • Handle Payroll: They manage payroll processes, ensuring that employees are paid accurately and on time while following legal and tax rules – ultimately safeguarding your most valuable asset, human capital.
  • Create Financial Reports: They prepare detailed financial statements that offer valuable insights into the company’s financial well-being. This is important as a matter of principle, but critical if you’re preparing to have external eyes on your enterprise, whether for a buy-out, investment, or as part of legacy planning.
  • Reconcile Accounts: They regularly reconcile bank records to maintain accuracy in financial records. This helps keep the numbers straight while protecting against fraud and shielding against audit risk.
  • Budget and Plan: They play a role in budgeting and financial forecasting, which helps in the company’s strategic planning. This role is often the “bread and butter” of efficient full-charge bookkeepers, but also one that goes critically underused.
  • Ensure Tax Compliance: They take care of tax-related matters to ensure that the company follows all laws and regulations. You’ll still need to chat with a tax pro, but effective staffing in this domain will save you time and money.

What Skills Set a Full-charge Bookkeeper Apart from an Accountant or Regular Bookkeeper?

Of course, to decide whether a full-charge bookkeeper is right for you, we need to break down the differences between the role and traditional accountants and basic bookkeepers.

Regular Bookkeeper

Regular Bookkeeper

Their main focus is on recording financial transactions, handling invoices, and maintaining ledgers. They make sure that all financial transactions are accurately recorded in the accounting system. They can usually operate autonomously but aren’t always effective if presented with novel circumstances and may not be able to adjust to complex circumstances on the fly without further guidance.


Accountants use the data recorded by bookkeepers to create financial models. They are more involved in preparing and reviewing financial statements, planning taxes, and providing strategic financial advice. In a real sense, an accountant is the next step upwards from a full-charge bookkeeper, but often pricier due to more complexity in the work they’re doing.

Full-charge Bookkeeper

The full-charge bookkeeper blends the best of both worlds between bookkeeping and accounting, executing basic financial management practices while serving as a strategic asset to drive your business further.

Benefits of Full-Charge Bookkeeping

Full-charge bookkeeping offers several benefits to businesses:

  • Thorough Financial Management: It ensures careful handling of all financial matters, minimizing the chance of mistakes and inaccuracies.
  • Cost Savings: This role is often cost-effective as it combines multiple financial functions. The role is less expensive than an accountant, but you get many of the same benefits while keeping costs lower.
  • Informed Decision-Making: It provides detailed financial information for making smart strategic decisions. The best full-charge bookkeepers also act as guidance systems to advise and assist, keeping your business on the right track.
  • Compliance with Regulations: It ensures that financial rules and tax filings are followed correctly and on time. Keeping abreast of tax law is burdensome when you’re running your business, so outsourcing the effort to a full-charge bookkeeper lets you focus on what matters.
  • Improved Efficiency: It enhances overall efficiency by simplifying accounting processes. Ultimately, a full-charge bookkeeper greases the wheels of your financial apparatus to keep things running smoothly.

Should You Hire a Full-Charge Bookkeeper?

Should You Hire a Full-Charge Bookkeeper

The decision to hire a full-charge bookkeeper depends on several factors that reflect your business’s specific needs. There’s no “one size fits all” solution but, with the abundance of talent available today, giving a full-charge bookkeeper a chance usually can’t hurt. Still, considerations include:

  • Business Scale and Complexity: If your business transactions are complex, a full-charge bookkeeper brings expertise beyond basic number crunching.
  • Specific Financial Needs: If you have unique operational models or anything more complex than a P&L statement, a full-charge bookkeeper can help address the breadth of your financial landscape.
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis: It’s important to weigh the costs against the benefits of hiring a full-charge bookkeeper. They do tend to be pricier than basic bookkeepers, so if you don’t need help beyond the bare basics, you might want to stick to the lower rung.
  • Growth and Expansion: As your business grows, the need for comprehensive financial management increases. But that hides an important point: even if you don’t need their help today, building an early relationship with a full-charge bookkeeper can save time and effort onboarding help once you do need them.

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