There are a lot of combinations depending on whether you are hiring a bookkeeper or an accounant. Bookkeeper will only maintain your books based on business transactions. Their rates are lower than those of an accountant. A lot of them work remotely as well, so you are not limited to the nearby area. A bookkeeper can help with such items:
An accountant, on the other hand, will handle a broader range of tasks for you:
If you decide to hire a bookkeeper, I strongly recommend engaging a (tax) accountant at the same time to do initial planning, etc. so that when the time comes to file your taxes, you have all information for the accountant. If you hire a good accountant, he or she should be able to handle all mentioned tasks.
I would not advise you to pay an accountant to do your bookkeeping. You should hire a bookkeeper to do your bookkeeping. An accountant's hourly rate is much higher than a bookkeeper's hourly rate, and bookkeeping is a fairly straightforward thing, so it's not one of those things you benefit from paying extra for.
Some accountants will have bookkeepers on staff, which makes it easy. When you interview an accountant ask her about this. Related: What questions should I ask when interviewing a potential accountant? Now, to your question:
what are the typical duties of an accountant for a small software based startup?The things an accountant will handle for a small software startup are pretty much the same as for other companies, just at a smaller scale. These include:
They also work out your tax owed, run your payroll (even if its just for yourself) and advise you on whatever tax benefits/charges you may incur during the running of your business.