All small businesses must track their cash flow and develop financial reports to increase profitability. However, it’s not always possible or sensible to hire an entire accounting team. Luckily, there are outsourced and online accounting services available to fill these needs for you. Here’s a guide for small businesses.
What is an Accounting Service?
An accounting service is a third-party provider that goes over your books and provides insights 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 functions accounting services usually offer:
- Measure cash flow
- Study balance sheets to help you pay off debt or cut expenses
- Develop financial reports to inform your decisions going forward
- Create projections for future profits
- Track payroll services and benefits for employees
- Provide tax services to limit your end-of-year payments
- Manage accounts payable and accounts receivable
- Keep a general ledger of transactions
Why You Should Consider Using Small Business Accounting Services
Small business accounting services can benefit nearly every company, but especially those that need help managing 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 status to improve decision-making.
- Stay on top of tax returns: An accounting service should also track your tax commitments so you can pay quarterly and track all potential deductions.
- Save time on bookkeeping and accounting services: Your team’s time may be better spent on high-level work than on catch-up bookkeeping tasks.
- Avoid overpaying for various services: Accounting services also track expenses, which may inform areas you can make cuts or switch to less expensive providers.
- Stay up to date with payments: Falling behind on payments may lead to 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 top options to consider.
1-800Accountant offers online accounting software and calls with real accountants. Services include taxes, bookkeeping, payroll, and business formation. There’s a free plan available. And paid plans start at $125 per month.
- Free phone consultation
- Personalized advice from a CPA
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Ongoing payments instead of on-demand services
- Smartphone apps not available
1-800Accountant offers direct support from accountants and bookkeepers. But it’s not the most high-tech or intuitive offering.
inDinero is one of the top online accounting services available for small businesses. The service offers software along with insights from real CFOs. Pricing starts at $300 per month.
- Real-time financial insights
- Scalable solutions for businesses at various stages
- Integrates with payment solutions like Bill.com and Expensify
- You may work with different CFOs during each call
- Pricier than some other options
If you’re looking for a software as a service accounting solution, inDinero’s proprietary software and CFO access may help.
3. Block Advisors
Run by H&R Block, Block Advisors offer personalized business advice virtually. Services start at $50 per month, but each option is billed separately.
- 100% accuracy guarantee on taxes
- Tax pros receive ongoing training each year
- Free consultations available
- Does not integrate with QuickBooks or other popular bookkeeping options
- Services billed separately
Block Advisors is an ideal choice for those needing extra help with taxes or those focusing on just one area.
Sunrise is a free accounting service that provides insights on everything from cash flow to expenses. There’s also a paid plan available.
- No cost
- Connect to your bank account
- Create and send branded invoices
- Still requires you to update expenses and payments
- Takes payment processing fees
Sunrise is a solid solution for those with a low budget for financial services, and those who want to manage their own accounting.
5. QuickBooks Live
QuickBooks Live offers real experts to help 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 integrate with your existing books
- Accuracy guarantee
- Get paired with an ongoing bookkeeper
- Doesn’t include invoicing
- No bill payment features
QuickBooks Live is an additional feature for those who already use QuickBooks software,
Pilot includes a huge array of financial services under one plan. You can customize offerings and get access to a dedicated team. Pricing starts at $599 per month.
- Financial reports tailored to each industry
- Access to a dedicated bookkeeper
- Add on services are available
- More expensive than many other services
- Must purchase different services for bookkeeping, tax, and CFO services
Pilot offers customizable offerings for businesses that can afford the ongoing expense.
Paro is a finance 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 requirements and work directly with them. Prices vary based on services and level of experience.
- Completely customizable.
- Get a dedicated CFO
- Ability to compare skills and services
- Each expert controls their own hourly rate
- Experience may vary widely
Paro is a marketplace rather than an accounting agency. But it can help you find relevant professionals.
Best Bookkeeping Services for Small Business
Bookkeeping includes keeping an ongoing ledger of transactions, rather than providing analysis or financial insights. If you’re interested in outsourcing bookkeeping, these services may help.
BookKeeper.com offers a variety of virtual bookkeeping services. They offer various plans with DIY options, online support, and monthly calls. Pricing starts at $399 per month.
- Dedicated bookkeeper
- Integrates with QuickBooks
- Ability to add on services
- Can be costly 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 bookkeepers and a DIY platform. Pricing starts at $249 per month, with a free trial available.
- One-to-one support
- Integrates with payment solutions
- Offers financial reports
- Specialized and catch up bookkeeping are added costs
- Doesn’t integrate with popular bookkeeping platforms
Bench pairs proprietary software with real bookkeepers to customize services for small businesses.
Bookkeeper360 offers cloud-based bookkeeping through Xero, QuickBooks, and Gusto. Monthly plans start at $349.
- Monthly, accrual and pay-as-you-go plans are available
- Integrates with multiple bookkeeping solutions
- Dedicated account manager
- Extra financial solutions are billed separately
- The smallest plans don’t 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 accounting services for your small business, here are some tips:
- Prioritize financial services: Do you need help with financial reports? Taxes? Bookkeeping? Payroll? List the services you need and look for platforms that support those options.
- Look for essential integrations: It’s easier to get started if your service integrates with the bookkeeping 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 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 financial analysis on your own. However, many small businesses can benefit from outsourcing accounting services.
What is the average cost of accounting services for small business?
The cost of accounting services varies based on the type of plan and add-on services you choose. Many offer custom pricing options, and a few even have free plans. However, the average monthly fee often falls around $200 to $300.