Running a small business is a big job and you may not have the time or experience to manage your own books. If you’re considering hiring an online bookkeeping service, one of the first things you’ll want to know is how much does a bookkeeper cost? Below is an overview of small business bookkeeping and how much it costs.
Do You Need a Bookkeeper for Your Business?
Although bookkeeping may not be the most exciting part of running a business, it’s arguably one of the most important. Accurate and timely bookkeeping allows you to make sound financial decisions.
Bookkeeping can help you maintain your financial records, track expenditures and revenue, and provide an up-to-date snapshot of the growth and overall health of your business. With an organized bookkeeping process, you’ll have all your financial documents in order and be better prepared for tax season.
Is a Bookkeeper Cheaper Than an Accountant?
Accounting and bookkeeping sometimes get lumped together. However, when talking about bookkeeper costs, it is important to note their differences. For one, a bookkeeper is generally cheaper than an accountant, because they have different functions, expertise, and qualifications.
Bookkeepers manage the day-to-day financial functions of a business. The types of services bookkeepers may perform include:
- Managing your accounts payable and receivable
- Paying vendors, suppliers, and other bills
- Tracking customer invoices and payments
- Aiding with payroll
- Reconciling bank accounts
- Managing online bank fees
- Performing cash flow analysis
- Financial reporting
Accountants can do those functions and also provide big-picture business financial reports, strategies, and insights. In addition, accountants can help you prepare and file business tax returns.
Now, you may have an accountant that also completes the tasks of a bookkeeper, but not the other way around. Accountants must meet specific education and certification requirements that vary slightly by state. In general, accountants usually need a bachelor’s degree in accounting and pass a CPA exam in their state.
Because of the extra training, what accountants charge differs from bookkeepers. A bookkeeper might charge you anywhere from $30 to $90 an hour. CPAs charge even more.
If you’re wondering, “How much does a CPA cost?”, you may be surprised to find them considerably higher than a bookkeeper. CPA costs can fall in the $150 to $450 hourly range.
(Xendoo’s Boost plan and up include accounting tax and CPA services as well as bookkeeping so you can get both in one flat monthly fee.)
How Much Does a Bookkeeper Cost?
The average cost of a bookkeeper ranges anywhere from $500 to $2,500 a month.
However, there’s no set cost for hiring a professional to manage your business’s finances. It varies depending on the type of financial expert you hire and the particulars of your business.
Some factors that affect how much a bookkeeper costs are:
- The size and complexity of your business
- The number of monthly transactions
- Type of bookkeeping services and hours you need
- A bookkeeper’s location, expertise, and experience
How much a bookkeeper costs also depends on the payment arrangement. You’ll usually pay for bookkeeping services in one of the three ways—hourly, salary, or a flat fee.
How you pay your bookkeeper depends on whether they are in-house (full-time or part-time employees), freelance, or an online bookkeeping service. Let’s look at the costs and considerations for each.
Most businesses pay in-house bookkeepers on a salary basis. Although, some may pay hourly, especially for part-time employees.
How much does a bookkeeper cost if you hire in-house? The short answer is much more than an online bookkeeping service or freelancer.
According to Salary.com, the average bookkeeper salary in the United States is $45,816. That does not include benefits such as healthcare or location. It also assumes the bookkeeper is entry-level with no specialized experience or qualifications.
The salary of an entry-level bookkeeper in Brooklyn, New York, is estimated to be around $55,117, but it ranges from $55,000 to $70,000. Add in years of experience, benefits, and cost of living and it gets more expensive.
It might make sense for a large business with complex bookkeeping needs year-round to have an in-house bookkeeper. However, for most small businesses, an online bookkeeping service is a better option.
Hourly Pricing (Freelance)
Based on a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report, the median hourly rate for a bookkeeper is $21.90 per hour. Again, this doesn’t account for location, expertise, or services. Most bookkeepers that charge an hourly rate are freelancers, but not always.
Hourly pricing is a great option when you only need help with the books occasionally. You can hire someone to come in on a per-project basis and only pay for the time they spend on the project or for an agreed-upon time.
While this makes it easier to control your bookkeeping costs, most small businesses require consistent services to keep their books straight.
Hourly may seem like the cheaper option, but it isn’t always the case. If you need more bookkeeping than you expected, those hours can add up fast.
Flat Fee (Xendoo)
Flat fee bookkeeping is the simpler of the three options. It allows you to pay a set price each month for an unlimited amount of work.
While some months may not require much from a bookkeeper, others are inevitably going to be busier than others. This makes it easier to manage your business bookkeeper costs by factoring in a consistent monthly rate.
At Xendoo, finding the perfect flat fee plan is easy, so you aren’t paying more for the specific things you need. Xendoo pricing takes into consideration the varying needs of businesses by offering a range of plans based on your monthly expenses.
Depending on your bookkeeping needs, you can pay as little as $275 a month (when billed annually). In addition to bookkeeping and tax advice, plans come with accounting software like Xero and Quickbooks, mobile apps, and profit and loss statements.
While this may look like another added expenditure for your business, this monthly cost pays for itself. If you had to do your own books, how much time would it take? Likely, much longer than it will take an expert who can quickly catch issues the untrained eye may miss.
The Xendoo team can also save you money by ensuring all your expenses are properly tracked so there are no surprises when it comes time to file taxes. We’re familiar with all the small business tax deductions and compliance requirements.
What’s Included With a Business Bookkeeping Service?
A bookkeeping service does more than preserve financial records. It records all your financial metrics and assures you maintain regulatory compliance at the state and federal levels.
Instead of going through the hassle of hiring and paying accountant pricing, many businesses have turned to online bookkeeping services. This minimizes bookkeeper costs and reduces overhead.
If you are still wondering how much does a bookkeeper cost, explore your options. An online bookkeeping business has likely automated most of the services you require and they can have a team of experts at the ready if you are in need of help.
What to Look For in a Bookkeeper
Most business owners are great at what they do, but it can still be tedious when they have to reconcile the daily reports and manage all the paperwork after a long day at work. Hiring a bookkeeper to maintain your financial records is a smart investment.
Here are some tips to help you find the right bookkeeping service for your business:
The highest referral a business owner can find is from a friend in the industry. If you’re looking at an online bookkeeping service, verify their ratings. Ask how long they’ve been in business, and whether they have accountants on staff to help with the bigger questions.
Find a Professional Bookkeeper
A professional bookkeeper may have the certifications and work history, but have they dedicated their career to helping other businesses to succeed? Look for a bookkeeping service whose business model relies on the success of others.
Hire an All-in-One Bookkeeping Service
Some accounting firms only provide basic reconciliation services. However, businesses need services that can also handle payroll and taxes. See if they can integrate with your current bookkeeping software.
Integration between multiple accounting platforms makes keeps all your data in one place and makes bookkeeping quicker and easier.
In many cases, bookkeeping is handled after hours, so it’s important that you have a bookkeeping service available when you need it.
Find a company that offers 24-hour service so that they can help you when you need it most. After all, some of the hardest times to get help are during the weekends and in tax season, but this is exactly when you’re most likely to have questions.
Don’t Look for the Cheapest Partner
When considering the question of how much a bookkeeper costs, think about what matters most to you.
Prices matter when it comes to running a business, but a bookkeeping service is not a place where you want to cut corners. Part of the advantage of a professional service is that it can save you money by reducing the time spent on basic tasks. It can also help you to better track your spending and analyze potential financial hazards.
A small business bookkeeping service is an investment that helps you grow. Our expert team of bookkeepers and CPAs makes managing your finances easy so you can get back to business. Contact us today or get started with a free trial.