In this article, we’ll outline the costs of a bookkeeper, how their services compare to an accountant, as well as the costs you can expect from in-house, freelance, and online bookkeeping services.
How is Bookkeeping Different than Accounting?
It’s common for people to group accounting and bookkeeping together, but they have different functions, expertise, and qualifications.
Bookkeepers typically manage day-to-day financial tasks of your business. Their services could include:
- Managing accounts payable and receivable
- Making bill payments to vendors, suppliers, and others
- Helping with payroll
- Reconciling accounts
- Keeping track of customer invoices and payments
- Analyzing cash flow
- Managing financial reporting
If you have an accountant, they might perform these functions but they may also work on big-picture items like your larger financial reports, insights, and long-term strategies. Accountants can also prepare and file tax returns for your business.
While an accountant may complete the tasks of a bookkeeper, bookkeepers typically do not operate as accountants.
Accountants have specific education and certification requirements that depend on their state of residence. Typically, accountants need a bachelor’s degree in accounting and to pass their state’s Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam.
Due to these requirements, the average fee for an accountant is much higher than a bookkeeper. While a bookkeeper might charge between $30 and $90 per hour, the hourly cost for an accountant can be between $150 to $450 per hour.
How Much Does a Bookkeeper Cost for a Small Business?
On average, the monthly cost for a bookkeeper can range between $500 and $2,500. While this seems like a wide range in price, the cost varies depending on factors such as:
- The size of your business
- How complex your operations are
- The number of monthly transactions they’ll have to track
- The type of financial professional you hire (experience, qualifications, location, etc.)
- The type of services and/or hours you need
In the end, the cost of bookkeeping services will be determined by your payment type (salary, hourly, flat fee, etc.) and engagement type (in-house employee, freelance, or bookkeeping subscription).
In-house employees, whether full-time or part-time, will be either salaried or hourly. Either way, the costs are more predictable and controlled by you, the employer.
The cost of an in-house bookkeeper is generally much higher than an online bookkeeping service or freelancer. The average bookkeeper salary in the United States as of 2022 is $42,360 according to Salary.com. This rate is for an entry level bookkeeper without special qualifications and does not contemplate for additional benefits. For example, location can impact the price as well – the median salary for an entry-level bookkeeper in New York, NY is $50,959.
If you own a large business and have complex bookkeeping requirements throughout the year, an in-house bookkeeper could be more appropriate. For most small businesses, however, an online flat fee bookkeeping service is a better option.
Most freelance bookkeepers charge by the hour. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly rate for a bookkeeper in 2021 was $21.90. Note, this price does not factor in any increases for expertise, location, or other qualifications.
If you only need bookkeeping help intermittently, hourly pricing can be a good option. You can bring a freelancer in to help with certain projects and you’ll only need to pay for the time spent working on your books. While this flexibility can be helpful, the variability can make it harder for small businesses to keep their books in order.
Hourly bookkeeping can be one of the cheapest options, but if your hourly bookkeeper requires more hours to complete the requested services than expected, the hourly route can quickly create a large, unexpected bill.
Online Bookkeeping Subscription
Usually, the most appropriate choice for small businesses is also the simplest of the three options: a flat fee online bookkeeping service. This option sets a standard price per month, no matter the quantity of work needed. A flat fee service makes it easy to manage costs, since you know you’ll have a consistent monthly rate.
NEWITY knows how helpful this consistency can be for small businesses, which is why we partnered with Xendoo to bring flat fee bookkeeping services to our small business members.
Xendoo is a one-stop solution for all your accounting needs, from bookkeeping to tax and everything in between. Their flat fee plans allow you to only pay for the services you need and there’s a range of plans to explore based on your monthly expenses.
In addition to their expert bookkeeping and tax advice, Xendoo plans integrate with accounting software like Xero and QuickBooks to simplify your books alongside access to mobile apps and profit and loss statements.
We recognize that cost can be the first consideration for small businesses in choosing a bookkeeping provider.
To learn more about Xendoo’s flat-rate bookkeeping subscription and plans, visit Xendoo in the Smart Portal.