Nowadays, many companies are cutting down on staffing costs by using online bookkeeping services. This term is often used interchangeably with virtual and outsourced bookkeeping, but all three terms actually mean different things. Outsourced bookkeeping refers to hiring any form of bookkeeper who doesn’t work in-house, while virtual bookkeeping means hiring a single freelance bookkeeper online to help you manage your business’s finances. Online bookkeeping is a more elegant solution than either of the above. This term refers to hiring a company that usually offers both bookkeeping and accounting services and has a team of professionals taking care of these tasks for you. If you choose the right company, online bookkeeping is a cheap, safe, and economical way to solve your bookkeeping and accounting troubles. In our reviews below we’ve examined factors like the costs, services offered, and accounting software compatibility of the best online bookkeeping services on the market. Another crucial metric we’ve looked at is whether these companies provide their services for both cash- and accrual-based businesses and whether they charge extra for accrual accounting. Check out our list of the best online bookkeeping services for 2020 below.
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Bookkeeper.com is the first provider on our list of the best online bookkeeping services, and we consider it the best option when looking for online CPA services. Why? Because Bookkeeper.com has the cheapest all-in-one service. The site offers accounting and bookkeeping to both cash- and accrual-based businesses at the same price. There are two packages available: Small Business and Small Business Plus. While Bookkeeper.com is the cheapest option and doesn’t place limits based on company expenses, there are restrictions on the number of monthly transactions the site’s team will handle.read full review
Bench is another great provider among online accounting services for small business. While it doesn’t provide bookkeeping services to accrual-based businesses, Bench’s competitive pricing means it’s definitely worth checking out if you run a cash-based company. The service doesn’t handle your taxes, but Bench does provide comprehensive income tax summary reports, which it then sends to your tax professional or CPA. Bench has five packages on offer, which you can choose between based on your company’s monthly expenses.read full review
This provider is one of the best online bookkeeping services for your business if you use Xero accounting software. Bookkeeper360 has three packages, with starting prices ranging from $199 to $599 per month. These prices vary according to which tasks you want Bookkeeper360 to perform and how frequently you need them every month. Bookkeeper360 offers bookkeeping services for accrual-based businesses, but you have to pay for the most expensive package to get accrual-based accounting. For those companies that do their own bookkeeping but need help setting up Xero or Quickbooks, Bookkeeper360’s Support package could be ideal.read full review
Merritt is the most affordable provider on our online CPA services for small business list, with a price of $190 per month. This price is not dependent on your business’s number of transactions or bank accounts. While Merritt only does bookkeeping for cash-based businesses, its services are compatible with Quickbooks; the company will create monthly reports and reconcile your statements. If you’re looking for a cheap online provider that offers basic bookkeeping services, Merritt could be a great option for you.read full review
Pilot is one of the leading online accounting firms that’s compatible with Quickbooks. The company offers two packages. The first, Pilot Core, is meant for cash-based businesses with monthly expenses below $200,000, while Pilot Plus is for accrual-based businesses with monthly expenses over $200,000. The monthly amount you’ll pay for each of these packages depends on the value of your monthly expenses. While it offers reasonable prices, Pilot does not cover payroll and tax services.read full review
KPMG Spark offers separate remote bookkeeping services packages for cash and accrual-based businesses. The price difference between these packages is significant; the price for cash businesses ranges from $195 to $395, while packages for accrual businesses range from $695 to $1,095. Packages for both cash and accrual accounting are limited by the value of monthly expenses and by the number of accounts/projects you have. Tax preparation is not included in any of the packages on offer, but it can be added for an extra $125 per month.read full review
The first thing we look at in our reviews of virtual accounting companies is the cost of these bookkeeping services. There are several ways in which the reviewed companies structure their pricing.
The first option is offering fixed prices for packages. With these fixed-price packages, there’s usually a limit to the amount of transactions the provider will process for you every month. Of course, if you buy a more expensive package, you’ll get increased limits with more expensive packages.
The second way providers determine pricing is by offering packages based on your business’s monthly expenses. For example, if you’re looking for bookkeeping and payroll services online and your monthly expenses are lower than a certain limit - let’s say $200,000 - you could use a company’s basic package, while if you have more that $200,000 in monthly expenses, you’d have to take a more expensive package. The pricing for a single package can also vary based on how many expenses you have.
Another way bookkeepers calculate prices is by offering fixed monthly prices but with limits on the number and frequency of services.
In many cases, there’s a significant difference between the price of packages for cash-bashed and accrual-based businesses. While some of the providers on our list of online bookkeeping services reviews, like Bookkeeper.com, offer the same pricing for both types of business, some only service cash-based businesses. Others work with accrual businesses but charge a steep price for it.
Of course, cost is not the only metric we assess, and it’s not always the most important one. Factors like the range of services each company offers and the accounting software it uses are all crucial. Check out the other factors we considered in our bookkeeping service for small business reviews below.
Before you consider hiring an online bookkeeping provider, it’s vital to find one that offers the services your business actually needs. There are two types of accounting for businesses: cash- and accrual-based accounting.
Cash-based accounting is a system in which transactions are recorded when actual money changes hands. When money goes into or out of your bank account - like when a customer pays for your product or you pay your suppliers - these transactions are recorded. There is no accounts payable or accounts receivable to keep track of with cash-based accounting.
On the other hand, accrual accounting also keeps records of payments that are due. This means that revenue and expenses are recorded when they are earned, not when they’re paid for. The money your customers are due to pay is referred to as accounts receivable, while the money you owe is accounts payable.
The best virtual bookkeeping companies we review differ in the services they offer for cash- and accrual-based businesses. Some companies offer the same services at the same price for both accrual and cash businesses. The second group of bookkeepers offer different prices for these two types of businesses. Lastly, some providers on our list don’t provide their services to accrual-based business at all.
When choosing monthly bookkeeping services, you should take into account which accounting software the service in question uses. The most popular accounting programs are Quickbooks and Xero; if you’re already using one of these two it would save time and resources to choose a service that is compatible with either of those. However, some of the reviewed services have their own software, which they will set up for you. If you aren’t using any accounting software, some providers - like Bookkeeper.com - will purchase an accounting software account for you and transfer your old accounting data to it.
For these reviews, we’ve checked each provider’s accounting software compatibility and listed any specific offers these services might have.
In our reviews of the best bookkeeping services online, we check whether the companies in question offer monthly reconciliations as part of their service. Reconciliation refers to a process in which the accountant compares two sets of records and checks if all the figures and transactions are matching and in order. This includes checking if all expenses match exactly the amount of money that’s taken out of the company account and vice versa for money that’s received. In short, reconciliation provides greater consistency and accuracy.
Reconciliation is not only useful but a necessary tool in order to make sure that no one is tampering with the books and will make tax filings much easier.
Another important metric we include in our reviews of the best online accountants is whether or not these online services provide monthly financial statements.
All of the providers on our list supply the three most basic financial statements: profit and loss statements, balance sheet reports, and cash flow statements. However, some services provide additional statements (or provide the standard statements more frequently). We list this information in our reviews.
Besides the aforementioned metrics, there are several other things we keep an eye out for during our research. These include tax services, payroll processing, and consulting. We highlight any relevant properties or services offered among these providers that can help you make a decision on which online bookkeeping service to choose.
Bookkeeper.com ranks number one on our list of online bookkeeping and payroll services for several reasons. First of all, this company offers accounting for both cash- and accrual-based businesses for the same price. Secondly, Bookkeeper.com has fairly low prices, especially bearing in mind that the price is the same for both accrual and cash businesses. This is very rare among bookkeeping services, since most charge considerably more for accrual-based businesses. Bookkeeper.com offers Quickbooks online bookkeeping services. As part of your package, the company will purchase and setup Quickbooks for you.
Bookkeeper.com has two packages offering online bookkeeping services for small business: Small Business and Small Business Plus. The first package has a fixed price of $285. While the price is fixed, Bookkeeper.com will only process up to 125 monthly transactions for you with this package. These transactions include invoicing customers, paying bills, and reconciling transactions. In case you need more transactions processed on a monthly basis, you should consider going for the Small Business Plus package. This package offers up to 250 monthly processed transactions for a price of $495 per month. With Small Business Plus, you also receive three monthly customized reports, as well as class- and location-tracking features.
Both of these online cpa services come with monthly financial statements including the usual profit and loss report, balance sheet statement, and cash flow statement. The staff at Bookkeeper.com will also reconcile all your bank and credit card statements with those in Quickbooks to ensure everything is in order. Bookkeeper.com also offers payroll processing and tax services at an additional cost. You receive free secure online document storage, which you access with your ID and password.
You have a team of bookkeepers ready to assist you at any time, and your dedicated bookkeeper will have one-on-one teleconference meetings with you to go over your financial reports.
To conclude, Bookkeeper.com offers a competitive, all-encompassing bookkeeping and accounting service for both accrual- and cash-based businesses, while still being affordable. For this reason, Bookkeeper.com tops our list of bookkeeping services online.
Another great provider on our list, Bench is one of the best possible choices for cash-based businesses. While Bench only provides bookkeeping services to cash-based businesses, it is one of the most affordable options and offers a plethora of services. Furthermore, you can send your financial reports for checks and invoices to Bench and the company will adjust your monthly statements to reflect accounts receivable and accounts payable as well.
There are five Bench bookkeeping packages on offer. They range from $119 to $299 per month in price. The main difference between these packages is their monthly expense limit. The first online accounting and bookkeeping services package is for businesses that have up to $1,000 in monthly expenses while the biggest one has a limit of $1 million. Make sure to check how many expenses each month your business currently has, or will have, so you can see which package you’ll need. With a starting price of $119, Bench is one of the cheapest providers out there, but you’ll probably have to take one of the more expensive packages, as the limit of $1,000 in transactions is pretty restrictive. All of Bench’s packages come with regular monthly financial statements and reconciliations. Expense management – categorising all expenses to appropriate accounts – is also available with all five Bench packages.
Tax and payroll service are not included in any of the packages Bench has on offer but the company can refer you, prepare your tax returns, or make adjustments to financial statements for payroll figures.
Bench does not use Quickbooks, but has proprietary software which the team will set up for you. You get secure access to this software, which allows you to review the data and run reports at any time.
Although it only handles cash-based businesses, Bench accounting is definitely a great option if you’re looking for online bookkeeping and accounting services. Bench has the lowest pricing and a wide selection of services and packages on offer, making it a great choice for cash-based small businesses looking to outsource their bookkeeping.
Bookkeeper360 is an online bookkeeping service best suited for small businesses that use Xero or Quickbooks accounting software. Like Bookkeeper.com, Bookkeeper360 also works with both cash and accrual-based businesses. There are three bookkeeping packages on offer, including a package aimed at businesses that do their own bookkeeping but need assistance in setting up Xero or Quickbooks.
For online accounting and bookkeeping services, Bookkeeper360 has three packages you can choose from: Support, Basic, and Premium, with starting costs of $199, $349, and $599 per month respectively. You can get a 10% discount if you decide to go for annual billing, which locks you into using Bookkeeper360’s services for at least a year. The pricing depends on which services you’ll need Bookkeeper360 to provide; the exact pricing will be confirmed once you contact the team and explain what your business needs.
The first package does not offer full-fledged bookkeeping services such as reconciliations, reporting, and payroll integration. Rather, it’s meant to provide you with support and training for setting up and running your accounting software. This package will net you a QuickBooks or Xero subscription, Hubdoc subscription, a dedicated accountant to answer all of your questions, as well as training and technical support for accounting software use. This is a rare option among the top bookkeeping services online.
On top of everything included in the Support package, the second package offers bookkeeping and accounting for cash-based businesses. This includes monthly reconciliations, bookkeeping, and financial reviews, as well as payroll processing
The Premium package encompasses all services in the previous two packages. In addition to that, this is the only Bookkeeper360 package meant for accrual-based businesses. You also receive payroll and invoice processing, bill payments service, and more frequent bookkeeping and financial reviews.
For additional fees, Bookkeeper360 also offers tax filing ($200 per filing) and full payroll processing services ($45 per month). Combined, this is all you could ask for in cpa bookkeeping services online.
The first package is meant for businesses that will mostly handle their own bookkeeping and accounting but need help setting up accounting software and ongoing support for any questions or technical problems. The other two packages both offer extensive bookkeeping services; you should base your choice on whether you run a cash- or accrual-based business.
While it’s a bit more expensive than the competition, Bookkeeper360 still brings a lot to the table. While Bookkeeper360 used to offer the same pricing for both accrual and cash-based businesses, the company now has different packages for each. However, these new service packages are more competitively priced.
Bookkeeper360 is a solid choice if you need comprehensive bookkeeping online services. Unless you’re running an accrual-based business, we would suggest you to go with the Basic package, as it will cover most of your accounting and bookkeeping needs. In case you only need help with accounting software such as Quickbooks or Xero, the Support package is just the right thing for you. If after a while you feel you’ve mastered the use of this accounting software, you can just stop using the Support package altogether.
Merritt is a California-based online bookkeeping and accounting service that only works with businesses that use cash accounting and only has one package to offer. However, the company charges a cheap, flat rate and offers free online bookkeeping services for nonprofits and charities.
Merritt’s bookkeeping package comes at a flat rate of $190/month. The company does your bookkeeping and accounting in Quickbooks Online, which means that if you use cash-based accounting and you’re already using Quickbooks, Merritt is the cheapest option for you. This package offers the basic bookkeeping services you might need, including monthly reconciliations, monthly financial statements, and collecting all your bank statements for you. Merrit does not offer tax services or payroll processing, so you’d have to use some other software for that, or outsource those services to someone else. Signing up to Merritt is quick and easy; it usually takes no longer than 24 hours.
While Merritt offers only simplified bookkeeping, without tax service and payroll processing, if you’re looking for cheap online bookkeeping services,it could still be a great choice for you. It’s the cheapest option for small businesses that use Quickbooks cash accounting or self-employed individuals, with great user reviews and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
Pilot is another Quickbooks-compatible provider that makes our list of online bookkeeping and accounting services for small businesses. Pilot has two packages to choose from. One is for cash-based businesses with lower monthly expenses, while the other is meant for accrual accounting businesses that have higher monthly expenses. While the starting rates Pilot offers are among the cheapest on the market, this company does not offer flat rate online bookkeeping services; the price depends on the exact amount of monthly expenses your business has.
The first package is called Pilot Core. This package is meant for cash-based businesses with monthly expenses lower than $200,000, and it costs between $299 and $899, depending on the value of your monthly expenses. The second package, Pilot Plus, is for accrual businesses with expenses over $200,000. The monthly pricing for this package starts at $1,000 and also goes higher the more monthly expenses you have. As is the case with most providers on our list, both these accounts offer the basic bookkeeping services – monthly reconciliations and monthly financial statements. Besides the three usual financial statements online business bookkeeping services offer, Pilot also provides you with a burn rate report. This report showcases the rate at which your business spends (burns) money on a monthly basis.
Pilot bookkeeping does not include tax services or payroll processing. However, with Pilot Plus, you receive inventory tracking and custom reporting. Inventory tracking keeps track of item quantities in your inventory, while custom reporting creates customized reports, which are classified by factors like entity, class, and location.
Pilot uses Quickbooks Online for its bookkeeping service. The company can either import your old data or open a new Quickbooks account for you.
While Pilot does not offer tax or payroll services, it does offer packages for both cash and accrual accounting. The starting price the offer for cash-based businesses is low but, depending on your monthly expenses, can become very expensive. On the other hand, the package for accrual businesses starts at a hefty $1,000 per month. However, if you know what your monthly expenses will amount to, you can see whether it makes sense to use Pilot’s payment model. Pilot offers a month-long trial of its free services for bookkeeping online, so if you’re having second thoughts, don’t hesitate to test out the service without any obligation to continue.
KPMG Spark, formerly known as Bookly, offers comprehensive bookkeeping and accounting services. The company provides its services to both accrual- and cash-based businesses, but with separate packages. As is the case with many other services, KPMG Spark’s packages for accrual businesses are much more expensive than those for cash businesses. However, the company offers basically all imaginable bookkeeping services, which partially offsets the higher prices.
KPMG Spark has three packages on offer, each available in cash and accrual versions. These packages are named Starter, Essential, and Enterprise. For cash accounting, the online bookkeeping services pricing for these packages is $195, $295 and $395. The difference between these packages is in the amount of monthly expenses and the number of bank accounts KPMG Spark will manage for you. The Starter package is for businesses with monthly expenses up to $10,000 and five bank accounts to reconcile. With Essential, these limits go up to $25,000 in expenses and 10 bank accounts. The Enterprise package allows up to $250,000 monthly expenses and more than 10 bank accounts.
For accrual accounting, the prices for these packages are $695, $895 and $1,095. While these packages do not limit the amount of monthly expenses that will be processed, they differ in the amount of accounts or projects that will be reconciled. With Starter, you get up to five accounts, with Essential up to 10, and with Enterprise you’re allowed more than 10 accounts or projects. All of KPMG Spark’s packages come with monthly reconciliations and monthly financial statements.
You’ll get access to KPMG Spark’s own accounting software, in which the company performs bookkeeping and accounting services online,. In case you were previously using Quickbooks or Xero, KPMG Spark will integrate data from that software into its own.
KPMG Spark also offers tax services and payroll processing for an extra fee. For an additional $125 per month, the company will prepare your tax returns. Payroll processing will cost you an additional $100 per month, plus $6 for every employee.
Should you go for KPMG Spark bookkeeping service? It’s certainly worth considering, as this respected company offers highly rated bookkeeping and accounting services for both accrual and cash businesses. That said, the pricing is quite steep, especially for accrual-based businesses. On the other hand, if you choose KPMG, you can cater to all your bookkeeping needs in one place, tax and payroll services included.
Bookkeeping refers to the recording and tracking of all financial transactions, while accounting refers to interpreting and summarizing this data. However, people often use these terms interchangeably.
Online bookkeeping refers to outsourcing bookkeeping services to an individual or a company, usually through bookkeeping websites, which perform these services and communicate with you online. This means that transactions and other financial documents will be exchanged and updated online through bookkeeping software.
Bookkeeping services include, but are not limited to, performing monthly reconciliations, creating financial statements and reports, handling taxes, and payroll processing.
Hiring a bookkeeper frees up your time to focus on business, minimizes the chances of making critical errors, alleviates tax concerns, and gives you a clear view of your finances.
When hiring an online bookkeeper, you should look for a trustworthy and cheap provider that performs all bookkeeping services for your type of business.
Free online bookkeeping services are almost impossible to find.The monthly cost of bookkeeping depends on the amount of services the provider offers, your monthly expenses, and whether you deal in cash or accrual accounting. Exact pricing systems differ between providers, but monthly prices range anywhere from $190 to $1,000.
In order to find a bookkeeper, you need to evaluate which bookkeeping services your business needs. First of all, look at whether you need cash or accrual accounting, tax services or payroll processing, the number of expenses you have, how many accounts you need reconciled, and so on. These are some of the most important metrics to keep in mind when looking for online bookkeeping services.