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Best Bookkeeping Services for Small Business

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Bookkeeping services for small businesses can help you take care of daily fiscal tasks related to your business, including tracking revenues and expenses and issuing financial statements.

While it’s possible to keep your own books, this takes time away from managing your business — and though you could also hire a bookkeeper part time or full time, that can be costly. Working with a virtual bookkeeping service could be a simple and cost-effective solution.

7 best online bookkeeping services for small businesses

Online bookkeeping services for small businesses combine the automation of accounting software with the expertise of a professional bookkeeper. They perform the same tasks that a traditional, on-site bookkeeper might perform — organizing business transactions, reconciling bank accounts and preparing financial statements — but from a remote location.

Here’s an overview of the best virtual bookkeeping services for small businesses.

Bookkeeping serviceBest forStarting price per month
BenchOverall$249 (billed annually)
MerrittBudget users$190
QuickBooks LiveQuickBooks users$200 (plus the cost of a QuickBooks Online subscription)
PilotStartups$599 (billed annually)
Bookkeeper360Xero users$399
Bookkeeper.comFull service add-ons$399
inDineroScaling businesses$300

Bench: Best Overall

ProsCons

  Bookkeeping team dedicated to you

  Direct access and unlimited communication with research experts

  Discounts with partners, including Stripe and Gusto

  No invoicing, bill payment, payroll or inventory management services

  Accrual basis bookkeeping isn’t supported

Plans and pricing

  • Basic: $249/month (if billed annually)
  • Premium: $399/month (if billed annually)

Features

  • Monthly bookkeeping
  • Dedicated bookkeeping team
  • Income tax consulting and return filing (Premium only)

Who it’s best for:

Bench is a solid overall choice for businesses that need bookkeeping services. It offers catch-up bookkeeping for companies that have fallen behind on their bookkeeping, and claims that its bookkeepers can complete a year’s worth of overdue bookkeeping in two to four weeks.

Merritt Bookkeeping: Best for budget users

ProsCons

  Flat fee with no pricing tiers

  Discounts on catch-up bookkeeping

  No tax return filing services

  No payroll services

Plans and pricing

  • $190/month

Features

  • Monthly bookkeeping
  • Easy-to-understand financial reports
  • Issues 1099s

Who it’s best for:

Merritt Bookkeeping is a good option for small business owners who want an affordable and predictable monthly fee. Merritt charges all clients one flat monthly fee for its services, so you won’t have to worry that business growth will result in higher monthly fees. And while the company uses QuickBooks software, clients can still access financial reports via an easy-to-use interface, making Merritt ideal for businesses that prefer a hands-off approach to their bookkeeping.

QuickBooks Live: Best for QuickBooks users

ProsCons

  QuickBooks-certified bookkeepers

  Optional add-ons include tax filing and payroll management

  No invoicing, bill payment, inventory management, accounts receivable (AR) or accounts payable (AP) 

  No issuing 1099s

Plans and pricing

Pricing is based on average monthly expenses over the last three consecutive months:

  • $0 to $10,000 in expenses per month: $200/month
  • $10,001 to $50,000 in expenses per month: $300/month
  • $50,001 or more: $400/month

All Live Monthly Bookkeeping plans require cleanup and setup, which costs a one-time fee of $500, and a subscription to QuickBooks Online, ranging in price from $25 to $180 per month.

Features

  • Ongoing monthly bookkeeping
  • Virtual collaboration with a QuickBooks ProAdvisor
  • Detailed reports, including profit and loss statements and balance sheets

Who it’s best for:

QuickBooks Live is an excellent choice for business owners who’ve been handling their bookkeeping in QuickBooks Online, but now require more hands-on assistance. All bookkeepers available through this service are accounting professionals who have been certified in QuickBooks; they’ll ensure your existing books are accurate and up-to-date as a first step in taking over your monthly bookkeeping responsibilities.

Pilot: Best for startups

ProsCons

  Supports accrual-basis accounting

  Dedicated bookkeeper

  Burn-rate reports for growing businesses

  Expensive

  Only supports U.S. entities (or U.S. entities with foreign subsidiaries)

Plans and pricing

  • Core: starts at $599/month (billed annually)
  • Select: starts at $849/ month (billed annually)
  • Plus: Custom Pricing available

Features

  • Dedicated expert
  • Monthly bookkeeping and financial reporting
  • Produces profit and loss, balance sheets and cash flow statements

Who it’s best for:

Pilot is a good choice for startups because of the range of services and features it offers — though its pricing tiers are complex. Each package has a starting price but gets more expensive as your monthly expenses increase; at the same time, they offer more customization options than any other service we reviewed.

Bookkeeper360: Best for Xero users

ProsCons

  Dedicated, U.S.-based accountants

  Supports cash or accrual basis accounting methods

  Month-to-month or annual billing

  Only works with Xero or QuickBooks Online

  Pricing based on monthly expenses and whether you use cash or accrual accounting

Plans and pricing

  • Pay-As-You-Go: Starting at $125/hour
  • Monthly: Starting at $399/month
  • Weekly: Starting at $549/month

Bookkeeper360 may offer special pricing during certain times of the year or when you sign up for an annual subscription.

Features

  • Dedicated accountant
  • Monthly or weekly bookkeeping and reporting
  • Can add on CFO services, tax planning and preparation, payroll and back-office support for additional fees

Who it’s best for:

Bookkeeper360 is great for small business owners who’ve been doing their bookkeeping in Xero and want to begin outsourcing the work to a professional. It also offers a wide range of services for small business owners. You can pay by the hour if you want occasional help, or commit to a weekly or monthly plan if you need regular assistance.

Bookkeeper.com: Best for full service add-ons

ProsCons

  Dedicated team of bookkeepers and accountants

  Supports cash or accrual basis accounting

  Support is limited for lower-tier customers

  Pricing doesn’t include software subscription fees

Plans and pricing

  • Small Business: $399/month
  • Small Business Plus: $599/month
  • Small Business Advanced: $799/month

Custom packages and pricing are also available.

Features

  • Monthly, semi-monthly or weekly bookkeeping and reporting
  • Bill pay and invoicing
  • Tax planning and preparation, payroll and financial planning are available for an additional fee
  • Collaborate with your bookkeeper via a secure portal with document storage

Who it’s best for:

Bookkeeper.com has been around for over 30 years, and has the experience of providing bookkeeping and accounting services to a range of businesses — that makes them a great option for businesses that need more than basic bookkeeping. For an additional fee, you can also add on bill pay, payroll, financial statement preparation, tax preparation, budgeting, cost analysis and more.

inDinero: Best for scaling businesses

ProsCons

  Cash or accrual basis bookkeeping

  Supports AR, AP, inventory reconciliation and payroll support

  Can be expensive

  No free trial

Plans and pricing

  • Essential: Starts at $300 per month
  • Growth: Starts at $900 per month

Custom packages and pricing are available.

Features

  • Monthly bookkeeping using cash or accrual basis accounting
  • Financial reports provided at any time
  • Bill pay and expense management via integrations with Bill.com and Expensify

Who it’s best for:

InDinero is a solid choice for growing businesses that may need to add on additional services as the business scales. The company offers basic bookkeeping for small and startup businesses, flexible packaging and pricing for growing businesses and robust services for enterprise-level organizations.

How to choose an online bookkeeping service

There are many online bookkeeping services to choose from, so look out for one that works with other businesses in your industry, uses accounting software you’re familiar with and offers the services you need at an affordable price.

Some options, including Bench, offer a free trial, so you can test their services before committing. Others offer a money-back guarantee if you aren’t happy with the service after a month or two of working together.

During the trial period, note how well your bookkeeper communicates with you and how easy it is to exchange information. If the process isn’t efficient or friendly, it might indicate how they run their operation.

Bookkeeping best practices for small business

Even if you’re planning to use a bookkeeping service for your small business, you’ll still need to take steps to manage your business finances. Follow these best practices to help get your bookkeeping on the right track.

Consider hiring professional help

As your business grows, at some point it will be time to hire a bookkeeper and consult with a CPA. This offers more than just time savings, as a professional accountant can become a trusted business advisor.

Keep business and personal finances separate

It’s easy to commingle business finances with your personal accounts, especially when you’re just starting out. However, keeping your business and personal finances separate makes it easier to track cash flow, maintain accurate records for tax filing, forecast long-term financial performance and attract lenders or investors.

Choose an accounting method

There are two accounting methods:

  • Accrual accounting recognizes income and expenses when the transaction is made, regardless of when money actually changes hands.
  • Cash accounting recognizes revenues and expenses once payments have been made or received.

Cash is the easiest of the two methods and is more common for small businesses without inventory. However, accrual accounting can provide a clearer picture of your financial state by more accurately matching expenses to the revenue they generate.

Establish internal controls

Internal controls are processes that protect your business from fraud or theft and ensure proper money management. Reconciling bank and credit card statements each month is an essential internal control, since this helps identify errors and potentially fraudulent disbursements or expenses.

Track revenue and expenses

Tracking revenue and expenses daily helps you keep a close eye on how much you’re spending. It also helps you understand your cash flow and determine if you can expand your business with a small business loan. Plus, tracking revenue and expenses also aids in simplifying tax time, as you may be able to claim expenses as write-offs.

Plan for taxes

April 15 isn’t the only significant tax deadline. Small business owners typically need to make quarterly estimated tax payments on April 15, June 15, Sept. 15 and Jan. 15 of the following year.

Tax planning throughout the year can ensure you don’t miss any critical deadlines and make moves to lower your tax bill.

Methodology

So how did we choose the best bookkeeping service for small businesses?

Every business’s needs are unique, so when evaluating bookkeeping services for small business, we took the following factors into account: cost, integrations with accounting software, ease of use and add-on services like tax prep and payroll.

 

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