All small businesses need to track their cash flow and develop financial reports to increase their profitability. However, it is not always possible or wise to hire an entire accounting team. Fortunately, there are outsourced and online bookkeeping services available to meet these needs for you. Here is a guide for small businesses.
What is an accounting service?
An accounting service is a third-party provider that reviews your books and provides information to help your team make financial decisions. Unlike accounting software, this type of service includes a financial advisor or other professional to help you. Here are some of the functions accounting departments typically offer:
- Measure cash flow
- Study balance sheets to help you pay off debt or reduce spending
- Build financial reports to inform your future decisions
- Create projections for future earnings
- Track payroll services and employee benefits
- Provide tax services to limit your year-end payments
- Manage accounts payable and accounts receivable
- Keep a ledger of transactions
Why You Should Consider Using Small Business Accounting Services
Small business accounting services can benefit almost any business, but especially those that need help managing their finances without the resources to hire an accountant. Here are some specific benefits for small businesses:
- Make better financial decisions: Accountants provide an overall picture of your financial situation to improve decision making.
- Stay on top of tax returns: An accounting service should also track your tax liabilities so you can pay quarterly and track any potential deductions.
- Save time on bookkeeping and accounting services: Your team’s time may be better spent on high-level work than remedial bookkeeping tasks.
- Avoid overpaying for various services: Accounting services also track expenses, which can inform areas where you can cut back or switch to cheaper providers.
- Stay up to date with payments: Late payments may result in late fees or interest payments.
Best accounting services for a small business
If you’re a small business owner looking for an accounting service provider, here are some options to consider.
1. 1-800 Accountant
1-800Accountant offers online accounting software and calls with real accountants. Services include tax, accounting, payroll and business formation. A free plan is available. And paid plans start at $125 per month.
- Free telephone consultation
- Personalized advice from a CPA
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Continuous payments instead of on-demand services
- Smartphone apps not available
1-800Accountant offers direct support for accountants and bookkeepers. But it’s not the most high-tech or intuitive offering.
inDinero is one of the best online accounting services available for small businesses. The service offers software as well as information from real CFOs. Pricing starts at $300 per month.
- Real-time financial information
- Scalable solutions for businesses at different stages
- Integrates with payment solutions such as Bill.com and Expensify
- You can work with different CFOs on each call
- More expensive than some other options
If you’re looking for software as a service accounting solution, inDinero’s proprietary software and CFO access can help.
3. Block Advisors
Managed by H&R Block, Block Advisors offer personalized trading advice virtually. Services start at $50 per month, but each option is priced separately.
- 100% Tax Accuracy Guarantee
- Tax professionals receive continuous training every year
- Free consultations available
- Doesn’t integrate with QuickBooks or other popular bookkeeping options
- Services billed separately
Block Advisors is an ideal choice for those who need extra help with taxes or those who are focused on one area.
Sunrise is a free accounting service that provides information on everything from cash flow to expenses. A paid plan is also available.
- No charge
- Log in to your bank account
- Create and send personalized invoices
- Always forces you to update expenses and payments
- Take payment processing fees
Sunrise is a solid solution for those with a small budget for financial services and those who want to manage their own accounting.
5. QuickBooks Live
QuickBooks Live has real experts to help you with your books. This solution is easy to integrate into the tools you already use. Pricing starts at $12.50 per month, with a free trial available.
- Easily integrates with your existing books
- Accuracy Guarantee
- Be matched with an accountant in progress
- Does not include billing
- No bill payment functionality
QuickBooks Live is an additional feature for those who already use QuickBooks software,
Pilot includes a wide range of financial services in one plan. You can customize offers and access a dedicated team. Pricing starts at $599 per month.
- Financial reports adapted to each industry
- Access to a dedicated accountant
- Additional services are available
- More expensive than many other services
- Must purchase different services for accounting, tax, and CFO services
Pilot offers customizable offers for businesses that can afford day-to-day expenses.
Paro is a financial app that uses AI to help you find the best experts and services for your needs. You get a list of experts who match your needs and work directly with them. Prices vary depending on services and level of experience.
- Fully customizable.
- Get a dedicated CFO
- Ability to compare skills and services
- Each expert controls their own hourly rate
- Experience can vary greatly
Paro is a marketplace rather than an accounting agency. But it can help you find competent professionals.
Best Bookkeeping Services for Small Businesses
Accounting includes keeping a permanent record of transactions, rather than providing analysis or financial information. If you are interested in accounting outsourcing, these services can help you.
BookKeeper.com offers a variety of virtual accounting services. They offer different plans with DIY options, online support, and monthly calls. Pricing starts at $399 per month.
- Dedicated accountant
- Integrates with QuickBooks
- Ability to add services
- Can be expensive for new businesses
- Some features are DIY
BookKeeper.com offers an all-in-one solution that can be customized to your needs
Bench provides access to a team of accountants and a DIY platform. Pricing starts at $249 per month, with a free trial available.
- Individual assistance
- Integrates with payment solutions
- Offers financial reports
- Specialized and remedial bookkeeping are additional costs
- Doesn’t integrate with popular accounting platforms
Bench combines proprietary software with real accountants to personalize services for small businesses.
Bookkeeper360 offers cloud-based accounting through Xero, QuickBooks, and Gusto. Monthly plans start at $349.
- Monthly, accumulation and pay-as-you-go plans are available
- Integrates with multiple accounting solutions
- Dedicated account manager
- Additional financial solutions are billed separately
- Smaller plans do not include unlimited support
Bookkeeper360 includes a variety of bookkeeping options and services, with various payment options for businesses with different needs.
How to Choose the Best Bookkeeping and Accounting Services
If you’re looking for the best bookkeeping services for your small business, here are some tips:
- Prioritize financial services: Do you need help with financial reports? Taxes? Account bookkeeping? Pay? List the services you need and find the platforms that support those options.
- Look for essential integrations: It’s easier to get started if your service integrates with the accounting or tax services you already use.
- Consider your budget: How much can you afford each month? Or does it make more sense to pay on demand? Some services even offer free options.
- Try different options: Many accounting services offer free trials. Try them out or sign up for demos to see which are most intuitive for you.
Do all businesses need accounting services?
No, you can instead hire in-house accountants or handle the financial analysis yourself. However, many small businesses can benefit from outsourcing accounting services.
What is the average cost of accounting services for small businesses?
The cost of accounting services varies depending on the type of plan and additional services you choose. Many offer custom pricing options, and a few even have free plans. However, the average monthly fee is often around $200 to $300.
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