Understanding Finance vs Accounting vs Bookkeeping for your startup

Oct 22, 2023

Introduction to Finance, Accounting, and Bookkeeping

When starting a business, it is essential to understand the financial aspects that will contribute to its success. Three main areas you need to grasp are finance, accounting, and bookkeeping. These may seem similar, but they each play a unique role in your startup.

Understanding Finance

Finance is the broadest of the three areas and revolves around the management of money and investments. It involves determining the financial feasibility of your business, making investment decisions, and managing resources to achieve your startup's objectives. Finance is the backbone of any business strategy, and it is crucial in making long-term and short-term decisions.

Key Aspects of Finance

  • Financial Planning: This involves forecasting both the income and expenditure of your business on a short-term and long-term basis.
  • Investment Management: This involves deciding where to allocate resources to get the best returns.
  • Risk Management: This involves identifying and managing potential financial risks.

Understanding Accounting

Accounting is all about recording, summarizing, interpreting, and communicating financial information about your business. It's more detailed than finance and is used to give a clear snapshot of the financial health of your startup. Accounting information is crucial for decision-making as it highlights the financial implications of business decisions.

Key Aspects of Accounting

  1. Financial Statements: These are reports that provide an overview of a company's financial condition. They include the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement.
  2. Account Analysis: This involves reviewing and analyzing a company's financial statements and trends.
  3. Tax Preparation: Accountants are responsible for preparing and filing tax returns and ensuring compliance with tax laws.
financial statements

Understanding Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is the process of recording daily transactions in a consistent way, and is a key component to building a financially successful business. Without proper bookkeeping, companies are at risk of cash flow issues and potential legal problems.

Key Aspects of Bookkeeping

  • Recording Transactions: This involves maintaining a detailed record of money that comes in and goes out of your business.
  • Reconciling Bank Statements: This involves matching transactions from your bank statement with transactions recorded in your books.
  • Preparing Financial Statements: Using the transactions recorded, bookkeepers prepare financial statements that accountants and business owners can review.


Understanding the differences between finance, accounting, and bookkeeping can help you manage your startup effectively. Each plays a crucial role in different stages of your business's growth. While finance helps you plan for the future and make strategic decisions, accounting provides you with a clear financial snapshot of your business. On the other hand, bookkeeping ensures that you have accurate records of all financial transactions. By comprehending these areas, you can ensure financial success for your startup.