There are a lot of perks that come with owning your own business, and a lot of headaches as well. Many business owners dread the thought of balancing their books and making sure all their financials are tax-ready. If you'd prefer to let someone else handle your bookkeeping so you can focus on running your business, consider using an online bookkeeping service. Read on to learn about our top picks for online bookkeeping services and get all the information you need to choose the service that's the best fit for your company.
Our Top Picks for Best Online Bookkeeping Services
- Bench: Best for Small Business Bookkeeping
- Merritt Bookkeeping: Best for Freelance Bookkeeping
- Jitasa: Best for Nonprofit Bookkeeping
- FIXE: Best for Restaurant Bookkeeping
- Pilot: Best Online Bookkeeping for Startups
Best Online Bookkeeping Services Reviews
- Tax filing with Premium plan
- Catchup and Retro bookkeeping available
- Unlimited communication with bookkeeping team
- Accounts receivable bookkeeping costs extra
- Doesn't file taxes for nonprofits
- Proprietary software doesn't integrate with other bookkeeping software
Why we chose it: With Bench, you'll have unlimited communication with your team of bookkeeping experts at an affordable price. Bench can get your books up-to-date, even if you're years behind.
Bench offers two plans for small business bookkeeping. With the Essential plan, you'll get monthly bookkeeping and a year-end financial package, including your financial statements and 1099 reporting, if needed. With the Premium package, you'll also get unlimited, year-round tax advisory services, and Bench will file your income taxes for you. When you pay annually, the Essential plan costs $249 per month, and the Premium plan costs $299 per month.
Bench can get your bookkeeping caught up for an additional charge through their Catchup and Retro services. You can also add on specialized bookkeeping services for segment-level bookkeeping and accounts receivable tracking. Bench doesn't offer payroll services, but you can save up to 30% on Gusto payroll services thanks to a partnership between the companies. Bench uses its own proprietary software, so it doesn't integrate with Quickbooks or other popular bookkeeping software. This can make it harder to switch to a different bookkeeping company in the future.
Bench connects to your bank and merchant processor accounts. It integrates with Stripe, Square, Shopify, PayPal and Amazon and supports clients who use other payment processors. You'll be able to communicate with your team of bookkeeping experts through unlimited messaging and phone calls. Customer satisfaction with Bench is generally high, with most users reporting an easy-to-use platform and responsive customer service. However, there are some complaints that the monthly bookkeeping services are not always completed on time.
- Low monthly flat fee
- 90-day money-back guarantee
- Doesn't file taxes
- Only one plan to choose from
Why we chose it: Merritt offers basic bookkeeping services at an affordable flat monthly price. For freelancers who don't have employees or complicated business finances, Merritt Bookkeeping can provide everything you need to keep your books in order and be ready for tax time.
Merritt Bookkeeping charges $190 per month to complete your bookkeeping in QuickBooks and send you financial reports. It uses automatic bank statement retrieval to gather your financial data. Merritt lets you review and adjust your reports through its user-friendly interface, so you don't need to know how to use Quickbooks to access your financial information. Merritt also offers discounted catch-up bookkeeping in case you've gotten behind. It doesn't provide payroll services or file taxes for you, but Merritt bookkeepers will communicate directly with your CPA to keep them up-to-date on your company's financials. It also issues 1099s if you work with contractors.
You can message the bookkeeping team at Merritt anytime, and you'll receive a same-day reply. If you're unhappy with the services for any reason, email Merritt within 90 days of receiving your first set of reports, and you'll get a full refund. Customer satisfaction with Merritt Bookkeeping is consistently high, with customers reporting fast service, responsive and helpful customer support and an easy-to-use platform.
With only one monthly plan to choose from, Merritt doesn’t offer as many options as some of its competitors.
- Works with nonprofits of all types and sizes
- Webinars with former nonprofit CFOs
- Nonprofit tax filing available
- Setup takes 6 to 12 weeks
- Bookkeeping must be paired with accounting services
Why we chose it: Jitasa offers bookkeeping and accounting services exclusively for nonprofits, working with organizations of all sizes and in all sectors. Jitasa ensures that your bookkeeping meets all nonprofit standards and offers unique add-on services like grant management.
Jitasa offers full-service bookkeeping and accounting services in addition to tax services and CFO services. Because the company works only with nonprofits, its bookkeepers have experience working with nonprofits of all types, including startups, large federations and churches. You'll have access to a dedicated team of bookkeepers and accountants, and for consistency, you'll work primarily with one person. Bookkeeping services are paired with accounting services, so you can't pay for bookkeeping only. There are three plans available based on the size of your organization.
- Startup/small (under $200,000 in annual gross receipts): $395/month
- Midsize ($200,000 - $1,000,000 in annual gross receipts): $1,050/month
- Large (over $1,000,000 in annual gross receipts): custom pricing
All plans come with monthly statements, end-of-year reports, 1099 reports, accounts reconciliation and monthly webinars with Jitasa's team of former nonprofit CFOs. The plans for midsize and large organizations also include audit prep.
Jitasa offers nonprofit tax filing for an additional fee. Other optional add-on services include payroll coordination, bill pay and financial dashboards. Across third-party review sites, user satisfaction with Jitasa is mostly high, although there are several complaints of poor customer service. Additionally, setup can take from six to 12 weeks.
- Restaurant-specific reports
- POS integration
- Fast onboarding
- Limited phone support
- No tax filing
Why we chose it: FIXE bookkeeping services are designed specifically for restaurants, with features like vendor invoicing, restaurant-specific reports and payroll processing. It integrates directly with your point-of-sale (POS) system to capture your numbers quickly and accurately.
FIXE offers three bookkeeping plans to choose from: Core, Pro and Premium. All bookkeeping services are completed using QuickBooks.
- Core: $550/month/location. Includes financial statements, weekly vendor payments, POS and payroll integration, monthly inventory adjustment, unlimited email support, one hour of phone support and connections to two credit cards and two bank accounts.
- Pro: $750/month/location. Includes everything in Core, plus payroll processing, limited accounts receivable processing, additional reports, customized period reporting and two hours of phone support.
- Premium: $1,000/month/location. Includes everything in Pro, plus a weekly inventory adjustment, customized reporting, four hours of phone support and connections to three credit cards and three bank accounts.
FIXE works with Gusto, ADP, Square, Toast and Paychex for payroll processing. With FIXE's weekly vendor invoicing, you only need to take a picture of the invoice, and FIXE will file it and write a check to pay the vendor. There is no onboarding fee and, for most clients, onboarding to FIXE is completed within three days. FIXE doesn't offer tax filing services in any of its plans. At the time of writing, there were no third-party reviews of FIXE's services available.
- Monthly burn-rate calculations
- Integrates with many merchant and payroll apps
- High customer satisfaction
- Expensive pricing for revenue-generating companies
- Onboarding fee
- No monthly subscription option
Why we chose it: Pilot offers bookkeeping services that specifically cater to startups, with monthly burn-rate calculations and a first-year discount for pre-revenue companies.
Pilot's Core plan is for pre-revenue businesses and is priced based on your company's monthly expenses. The Core plan starts at $499 per month and includes a $200 first-year discount for pre-revenue startups. As your company grows and its expenses increase, your monthly fee will automatically increase. Pricing for revenue-generating companies is customized and starts at $1,500 per month. Both plans include a dedicated finance expert, bookkeeping services, financial statements and monthly burn-rate calculations. All plans are charged as a yearly subscription, although you could receive additional bills throughout the year if your company moves into a higher price bracket based on its monthly expenses. Pilot also offers CFO and tax services for additional fees.
Pilot uses QuickBooks for all bookkeeping services, and it integrates with popular apps like Stripe, Square, Shopify, Gusto, Expensify, bill.com and more. You can communicate with your bookkeeping team through Pilot's customer portal. There is a one-time onboarding fee equal to the cost of one month of bookkeeping. Across third-party review sites, user satisfaction with Pilot is high, with customers reporting responsive customer support and accurate, streamlined service.
Other online bookkeeping services we considered
The online bookkeeping services reviewed above aren't the only ones out there. Depending on your business needs and your budget, one of these other companies we considered might be a good match.
- Includes accounts receivable/accounts payable bookkeeping
- Growth and Custom plans support NetSuite and QuickBooks Online
- Provides financial reports anytime
- Expensive plans
- Accrual-based accounting not available with Essential plan
inDinero offers bookkeeping services, plus accounting, tax filing and CFO services for additional fees. inDinero didn't make the cut as one of the best online bookkeeping services because its plans start at $750 a month, and the lowest price plan doesn't provide accrual-based bookkeeping or support popular accounting software like QuickBooks.
- Also offers tax advisory and filing, new business setup and payroll services
- Affordable plans
- Free consultation
- Many complaints of poor service
- Bookkeeping only included with most expensive plan
1-800Accountant offers a wide range of affordable financial services, including bookkeeping and accounting, tax filing, payroll and free help setting up a new business. It didn't make the list of best online bookkeeping services because many recent users report poor customer support and inaccurate financial services.
- CFO services available
- Payroll processing available
- High customer satisfaction
- Usually only works with companies with annual revenue over $1M
- 90-day onboarding
IgniteSpot offers bookkeeping services that include bill payment and invoicing, plus accounting and CFO services at an additional cost. It didn't make the list of top online bookkeeping services because it usually only works with companies that have annual revenue of $1,000,000 or more, so it's not an option for many small businesses.
Online Bookkeeping Services Guide
What is online bookkeeping?
Online bookkeeping provides all the services generally offered by in-house bookkeepers, such as:
- Data entry
- Bank reconciliation
- Financial report generation
Some online bookkeeping companies offer additional services, either included with your bookkeeping plan or as add-ons. These may include:
- Catch-up bookkeeping to get your financials up-to-date
- Customized reports
- Business tax preparation, advisory and filing
- Payroll processing
- Inventory management
- Fractional CFO services, including financial report analysis and assistance in raising capital and conducting audits
When you work with an online bookkeeping service, you'll usually be paired with a dedicated bookkeeper or a team of bookkeepers and financial experts. You'll be able to communicate with your team, though the amount and method of communication varies by company and plan.
Some virtual bookkeeping services use their own proprietary software, while others work with programs like QuickBooks, one of the best accounting software for small businesses. Most bookkeeping companies will onboard your financial statements and records to whichever software they use, which could entail an extra fee for the setup or onboarding process.
If you're behind in your bookkeeping, most services can get you caught up quickly, although you may need to pay a fee for every month you're behind. Some companies offer discounts for catch-up services, which can save you a lot of money if you're more than a couple of months behind.
What does bookkeeping entail?
Bookkeepers log a company's transactions, including sales and business expenses. They ensure that all information is accurate and up-to-date. Using this information, they create financial reports, including:
- Balance sheets
- Income statements
- Cash flow statements
Whether you use in-house or outsourced bookkeeping, these services will help you understand your company's financial health and ensure your records are in order for tax time. The monthly financial reports you receive will allow you to make informed business decisions to support your company's growth.
There are several types of bookkeeping, and it's helpful to be familiar with the different methods when choosing a bookkeeping service. The common types are:
- Double-entry bookkeeping
- Cash-basis bookkeeping
- Accrual-basis bookkeeping
What is double-entry accounting or bookkeeping? It's a way of recording in which every transaction is logged in two accounts, as both a credit and a debit. If all entries are made correctly, the company's credits and debits will be equal, and the books will balance. This method helps to ensure accuracy and also prevent fraud. Double-entry bookkeeping has become the industry standard and is used by almost all online bookkeeping and accounting services.
When bookkeepers use the cash-basis method, they record transactions as money is paid out or received by the business. When they use the accrual-basis method, they record transactions when they occur, even if the money has yet to actually be transferred. Generally speaking, accrual bookkeeping gives companies a more comprehensive and accurate picture of their finances and better helps them plan for the future.
Factors to consider when choosing an online bookkeeping service
Online bookkeeping is a good solution for many businesses that can't afford or don't need an in-house bookkeeper. Most business owners would rather put their time and energy into helping their company thrive rather than balancing the books and preparing financial reports. But with the abundance of remote bookkeeping companies, you may be wondering how to choose the right service to meet your company's needs. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when shopping around for an online bookkeeping service.
The size of your client or customer base
If you only have a handful of clients, a basic bookkeeping service may provide all the assistance you need to keep your books in order. If your business has a large customer base, however, you might need to consider a more expensive plan that offers advanced services, like accounts receivable tracking or invoice processing.
Your monthly invoice volume
Not all online bookkeeping services process invoices, and those that do often limit the number of invoices included with your plan. If you do a lot of invoicing, you'll need to find a bookkeeping service that can accommodate your invoicing needs, or invest in one of the best invoicing and billing software.
Your business growth plans
No matter what size your company is now, consider your plans for growth before selecting a bookkeeping service. If you have big plans for growth, you'll want to find a service that will scale with your business. Look for a company that lets you add on more features as needed and is experienced in working with high-volume companies.
Also, consider the pricing structure of the bookkeeping services you're comparing. Bookkeeping companies primarily use three types of pricing structures:
- Flat rate
- Multiple plans
- Price based on revenue or expenses
Some bookkeeping companies charge a flat monthly rate regardless of the size of your business. Others will automatically upgrade your plan to a more expensive one once you hit a specific revenue limit, or you may need to upgrade yourself once you require more advanced features. These companies often take an average of the last several months to determine which price bracket your business falls into. No one pricing structure is best for every company, but it's important to understand how your company's future growth will affect your monthly bookkeeping expenses.
The number of contractors and employees you work with
Before choosing a bookkeeping service, have a clear picture of how many employees and contractors you work with. If you have a lot of employees, it can be helpful to use a service that offers payroll processing. If you work with contractors, your bookkeeping service should include 1099 tracking and filing.
Whether you need tax filing services and advice
Although it's rarely included in the price of bookkeeping services, many online bookkeeping companies also offer tax advisory and filing at an additional cost. If you already work with a CPA and plan to have them continue filing your taxes for you, you don't need to worry about finding a bookkeeping service that provides tax services. But if you need tax filing and advice along with bookkeeping, you'll want to look for a company that provides both services. Also, check that the bookkeeping services you're considering file taxes for companies in your business's industry. For example, not all services file taxes for nonprofits, so make sure to ask questions and read the fine print before deciding on a company.
Their pricing plans and your budget
When shopping around for an online bookkeeping service, you'll need to consider the cost of the service. Start by looking at your company's budget and determining how much you have to spend on bookkeeping services each month. Remember to consider the different pricing structures discussed above and how your company's growth will affect your bookkeeping costs.
In addition to the monthly cost of bookkeeping, be sure to calculate any add-on services you'll need, like catch-up bookkeeping, tax advisory or payroll processing. Before choosing a service, find out whether you'll need to pay for accounting software on top of the fee for bookkeeping. Remember that bookkeeping is intended to improve the financial health of your business, so it's important that the service you choose fits into your budget without stretching it too thin.
Online Bookkeeping Services FAQ
What is the difference between bookkeeping and accounting?
What is double-entry bookkeeping?
How much does bookkeeping cost?
How We Chose the Best Online Bookkeeping Services
When searching for the best online bookkeeping services, we considered many factors, including:
- Cost: Although you shouldn't make your choice based solely on the cost of a service, it needs to fit into your company's budget. We selected services that provide a good value for the cost and carry a reasonable price tag.
- Features: We looked for bookkeeping services that offer a broad variety of features.
- Communication with bookkeeping team: When looking for the best online bookkeeping services, we gave preference to those that let you communicate with your team as much as needed. We also considered which communication methods are available and how convenient they are.
- Onboarding process: We gave preference to companies that offer fast, easy and affordable onboarding.
- Integrations: We examined which popular apps each company integrates with. Being able to integrate your bookkeeping service with merchant apps, payroll processors and bill-paying services is an effective way to streamline your company's financial processes.
- Customer satisfaction: We read user ratings and reviews across many third-party review sites to learn about real customers' experiences with online bookkeeping services.