What is the Cost of Hiring a Bookkeeper for a Small Business?

Factors that Affect Bookkeeping Fees for Small Businesses


As a small business owner, it is crucial to understand the factors that affect bookkeeping fees to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money. Bookkeeping fees can vary depending on several factors that influence the cost of the service. Here are some of the factors that can affect how much a bookkeeper will charge your small business:

Business Size and Complexity

The size and complexity of your business can influence how much a bookkeeper will charge. A small business with a few employees and a straightforward financial structure can expect to pay less for bookkeeping services than a larger business with hundreds of employees and multiple entities or locations. The more complex your business is, the more time-consuming and detailed the bookkeeping process will be. Bookkeepers may charge higher fees for more detailed financial reports, multiple accounts, payrolls, handling numerous transactions and more.

Additionally, if your business requires the use of specialized accounting software or if you need assistance in transitioning to new accounting software, bookkeeping fees may be higher. This is because it takes a considerable amount of time and resources to set up the proper accounting systems and processes. Your bookkeeper may need to spend more time training your employees on how to use the new software for communication and managing accounts which may require additional support and consultation from the bookkeeper.

Location and Experience of the Bookkeeper

The location of the bookkeeper is another factor that can affect their fees. Bookkeepers located in metropolitan areas or cities with a high cost of living may charge more for their services than those located in rural or less expensive areas. Additionally, more experienced and certified bookkeepers may charge more than those with less experience. You can expect to pay more for a highly trained bookkeeper due to the level of expertise required and the added assurance that all your financial statements will be handled efficiently and reliably.

Frequency and Type of Bookkeeping Services

The frequency of your bookkeeping services, such as monthly or quarterly, can also impact the cost. If your bookkeeper needs to provide regular updates and reports, they may charge you more for their ongoing services. Similarly, different bookkeeping services have varying prices. If you need more specialized bookkeeping services like auditing or help with tax preparation, your bookkeeper may charge more than their standard fee.

Additional Services Required

Other services such as tax filing, financial analysis, and payroll processing can also increase bookkeeping fees. The more services you require, the higher the fees are likely to be. Some bookkeepers may bundle services, and others may offer them a la carte, so be sure to ask for an itemized list of services and their corresponding fees.


Bookkeeping fees for small businesses are influenced by numerous factors, including business size and complexity, bookkeeper location and experience, frequency and type of bookkeeping services needed, and other additional services required. It is crucial to determine what services your business needs and what budget you have for these services when selecting a bookkeeper. With proper research and a thorough understanding of what services are needed, you can find a bookkeeper who can deliver quality bookkeeping services that meet your business’s financial needs.

Average Hourly Rates of Professional Bookkeepers

Professional Bookkeepers working at a desk

For small business owners, hiring a bookkeeper is essential to keep their finances in check. But how much does a bookkeeper cost? The cost of a bookkeeper varies depending on several factors. One of the most significant factors is location. Bookkeepers in metropolitan areas or urban centers charge higher rates than those working in rural areas. Other factors affecting the cost of a bookkeeper are experience, qualifications, and type of services rendered.

On average, a professional bookkeeper charges $40 to $60 an hour. However, some bookkeepers can charge higher or lower rates depending on the services offered. For instance, if a bookkeeper specializes in tax accounting or financial reporting, they can charge higher rates than general bookkeeping services.

When it comes to paying a bookkeeper, there are two payment options that small business owners can choose from: hourly rates or flat rates. Hourly rates allow businesses to pay bookkeepers based on the number of hours worked, while flat rates allow them to pay a predetermined amount for a set of services rendered.

Hourly rates are ideal for small businesses that require bookkeeping assistance but do not need it often. They can pay bookkeepers on an as-needed basis without committing to a long-term contract. However, businesses that need bookkeeping services more frequently can benefit from flat rates. Flat rates provide certainty, and small businesses can budget accordingly.

If you’re in the market for a bookkeeper, it’s essential to research several bookkeepers in your area before settling on one. It would be best if you asked for referrals from other small business owners and check out their online reviews. Remember, your bookkeeper will have access to sensitive financial information, so it’s best to take the time to choose the right one.

In conclusion, the cost of a bookkeeper varies significantly depending on factors such as location, experience, qualifications, and the type of services offered. On average, professional bookkeepers charge $40 to $60 an hour. Small business owners can choose between hourly rates or flat rates to pay their bookkeepers, depending on their needs. If you’re in the market for a bookkeeper, research and talk to other small business owners to ensure you find the right one for your business’s needs.

Outsourcing vs. In-house Bookkeeping Costs

bookkeeper calculator

One of the biggest questions small business owners face when considering bookkeeping services is whether to outsource or have an in-house bookkeeper. Both options come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and costs also vary depending on the route chosen.

Outsourcing Bookkeeping Costs

Outsourcing bookkeeping services can be a good option for small businesses that want to avoid the headaches and expenses of hiring an in-house bookkeeper. Outsourcing bookkeeping services means that the business owner contracts with a third-party bookkeeping firm to handle the company’s records.

One of the biggest advantages of outsourcing bookkeeping is that it can be cheaper than hiring an in-house bookkeeper. On average, the cost to outsource bookkeeping services ranges from $300 to $500 per month, depending on the number of transactions the business has.

Another advantage of outsourcing is that a business owner doesn’t have to worry about hiring and training a bookkeeper, since the outsourcing firm takes care of everything. Also, outsourced bookkeepers can offer a level of expertise that most small business owners themselves don’t have.

However, one disadvantage of outsourcing bookkeeping is that it can be difficult to establish a relationship and trust with a third-party bookkeeping firm. Miscommunication or misunderstandings can happen and lead to errors or issues for the company. Outsourcing bookkeeping services also means that the business owner doesn’t have as much control over the bookkeeping process and the quality of work.

In-house Bookkeeping Costs

In-house bookkeeping involves hiring a bookkeeper to manage the financial records of the business. Depending on the experience and qualifications of the bookkeeper, the cost can range greatly. According to ZipRecruiter, the average in-house bookkeeper salary in the US is around $42,000 per year or $3,500 per month.

One of the advantages of having an in-house bookkeeper is that the business owner has more control over the bookkeeping process, which can lead to fewer errors and improved record-keeping. An in-house bookkeeper can also build a closer relationship with the business owner and understand the company’s needs better.

However, an in-house bookkeeper also comes with added costs, such as employee benefits, taxes, vacation pay, and training. There is also no guarantee that an in-house bookkeeper will have as much experience and expertise as an outsourced bookkeeper.

Which One To Choose

Choosing between outsourcing and in-house bookkeeping ultimately depends on factors such as the size of the business, budget, and the business owner’s preference. Businesses that have a high volume of financial transactions or don’t have the time or experience to manage their own books may find outsourcing bookkeeping to be the most cost-effective option.

On the other hand, businesses that prefer more control over the bookkeeping process or have complex financial reporting needs may find it more advantageous to hire an in-house bookkeeper instead.

Hidden Costs of DIY Bookkeeping for Small Businesses

DIY Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is a crucial task for any business, but especially for small businesses that don’t have the financial resources to hire expensive professionals. That’s why many small business owners try to cut costs by doing bookkeeping themselves. While DIY bookkeeping might save some money in the short term, it can lead to hidden costs that you may not have considered. Here are four hidden costs of DIY bookkeeping for small businesses:


Bookkeeping Mistakes

Doing your own bookkeeping may seem like a good idea, but the smallest mistake can lead to big problems. Inaccurate records can lead to incorrect tax filings, which can result in penalties and fines. Small business owners who don’t have a background in bookkeeping may not know the correct way to record transactions, classify expenses, or create financial statements. This can cause errors that may not be detected until it’s too late.

Additionally, if a small business owner is handling other aspects of the business, they may not have the time to devote to bookkeeping. This can lead to even more mistakes due to rushing or lack of attention to detail. Mistakes can be costly and time-consuming to fix, especially if you have to go back and correct months or years of records.

Opportunity Cost

Opportunity Cost

Opportunity cost is the cost of doing one thing instead of what you could have done instead. In the case of DIY bookkeeping, the opportunity cost is the cost of not spending time on other aspects of your business that could help it grow. By spending time on bookkeeping, you’re taking away time that could be spent on marketing, networking, or improving your products or services.

Small business owners should focus on what they are best at and delegate tasks that they aren’t experienced in. By outsourcing bookkeeping to a professional, you can free up time to focus on what you do best and grow your business.

Increased Stress


Running a small business can be stressful enough without adding bookkeeping to the mix. DIY bookkeeping can add unnecessary stress to a small business owner’s life. Bookkeeping requires attention to detail, organization, and accuracy, which can be a source of stress for those who aren’t experienced in it. Small business owners who do their own bookkeeping may feel overwhelmed by the additional work and stress.

Outsourcing bookkeeping can reduce stress and give small business owners peace of mind knowing that their finances are being handled by a professional. This can free up mental energy to focus on other aspects of the business.



DIY bookkeeping can be inefficient, especially for those who aren’t experienced in it. Small business owners who do their own bookkeeping may take longer to complete tasks, which can cause delays in other aspects of the business. This inefficiency can lead to missed opportunities or lost revenue.

Outsourcing bookkeeping can increase efficiency, as professional bookkeepers know how to complete tasks quickly and accurately. This can reduce delays and free up time for the small business owner to focus on other aspects of the business that require their attention.

In conclusion, DIY bookkeeping may seem like a cost-effective solution for small business owners, but it can lead to hidden costs that can be detrimental to the business. By outsourcing bookkeeping to a professional, small business owners can save time, reduce stress, avoid mistakes, and increase efficiency, allowing them to focus on growing their business.

How to Negotiate Bookkeeping Fees with a Service Provider

bookkeeping fees

When it comes to bookkeeping fees, small business owners often find themselves at a loss as to how to negotiate with service providers. While it’s easy to assume that a bookkeeper’s rates are set in stone, many providers are open to negotiations, especially when working with small businesses. Here are five tips to help you negotiate bookkeeping fees with a service provider.

1. Determine Your Needs

determine your needs

The first step towards negotiating bookkeeping fees is to determine your needs. This means taking a good look at your business and figuring out what services you need from a bookkeeper. Are you looking for someone to handle your accounts payable and receivable? Do you need help with payroll calculations? Are you hoping for someone to provide financial analysis and reporting? Once you know what you need, you can start looking for a service provider who can meet those needs on your budget.

2. Shop Around

shop around

It’s always a good idea to shop around when looking for a bookkeeping service provider. Don’t just settle for the first company you come across. Instead, do some research, ask for quotes, and get references from other small business owners in your area. This will give you a better idea of what’s available and what the going rates are for bookkeeping services in your area. From there, you can start to negotiate with your preferred providers.

3. Ask for Discounts

ask for discounts

Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts when negotiating bookkeeping fees. Many service providers are willing to cut their rates for new clients or for those who sign on for a longer contract. You may also be able to get a discount if you bundle bookkeeping services with other services, such as tax preparation or financial planning. Be upfront about your budget and what you can afford to pay for bookkeeping services. You may be surprised at how willing some providers are to work with you.

4. Be Honest About Your Expectations

be honest about your expectations

To get the best possible deal on bookkeeping services, you need to be honest about your expectations. Let the service provider know what you expect from their services and how often you need to communicate with them. Do you want weekly reports? Monthly meetings? Be clear about what you need and what level of service you expect. This will make it easier for the provider to give you an accurate quote and may help you negotiate a lower rate if they think you’ll be an easy client to work with.

5. Consider a Performance-Based Agreement

performance-based agreement

Another option to help lower bookkeeping fees is to consider a performance-based agreement. This is an agreement where the provider is paid based on the quality of their work and how well they meet your expectations. For example, if you hire a bookkeeper to reduce your accounts payable backlog by 50%, they may offer a lower fee if they’re successful. This type of agreement can be a win-win for both parties, as the provider has an incentive to work harder, and you get to pay less if they don’t meet your expectations.

When it comes to bookkeeping fees, don’t be afraid to negotiate. By determining your needs, shopping around, asking for discounts, being honest about your expectations, and considering a performance-based agreement, you can get the bookkeeping services your small business needs at a price you can afford.

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