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How much should a small business bookkeeper charge?

How much should a small business bookkeeper charge?

As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate. Between managing your team, handling your finances, and building your customer base, finding the time to do everything yourself can be challenging.

This is where a small business bookkeeper comes in. A bookkeeper is responsible for keeping track of your business’s financial transactions and ensuring that your books are accurate and up to date.

How much should a small business bookkeeper charge?

Some small business bookkeepers may offer basic services such as bank statement reconciliation and expense tracking for as little as $25-$50 per hour.

These services suit small businesses with simple financials and a few monthly transactions.

On the other hand, bookkeepers who offer more advanced services such as inventory management, budgeting, forecasting, and financial reporting may charge $50-$100 or more per hour for their expertise.

These services may be more suitable for businesses with complex financial systems and a larger volume of transactions.

Factors that Affect a Bookkeeper’s Hourly Costs

Different factors may affect a bookkeeper’s hourly wage.

Let’s dive into them below.

Experience:

As with any profession, bookkeepers who have been in the field for longer will charge more for their services.

This is because they have gained more knowledge and expertise through their years of experience, which can make them more efficient and effective at their job.

Education:

Some bookkeepers may have formal education in accounting or finance, while others may have learned through on-the-job training or self-study.

Generally, bookkeepers with formal education charge more, as they have a deeper understanding of accounting principles and may be able to handle more complex tasks.

Size and complexity of your business:

The size and complexity of your business can also affect the hourly bookkeeping cost.

If you have a small business with a simple financial structure, you can find a bookkeeper who charges a lower rate.

On the other hand, if you have a larger business with multiple entities or a complex financial structure, you may need to pay higher for a bookkeeper who can handle the complexity.

Services provided:

The services that a bookkeeper provides can also affect their hourly fee.

Some bookkeepers may only handle basic bookkeeping tasks such as recording transactions and creating customer invoices, while others may offer comprehensive services such as processing payroll, monitoring cash flow, and filing taxes.

costs associated with bookkeeping tasks
Man with a computer and a pen as he uses the calculator.

What can you expect to pay for bookkeeping services?

Here are some guidelines to help you get an idea of what you might pay for a bookkeeper’s hourly rate:

  • Entry-level bookkeepers: $20-$30 per hour
  • Experienced bookkeepers: $30-$50 per hour
  • Senior bookkeepers or those with specialized skills: $50-$75 per hour
  • Bookkeepers who provide comprehensive services: $75-$100 or more per hour

It’s worth noting that these are rough estimates, and the actual bookkeeper cost may be higher or lower depending on the specific factors we discussed above.

How much should I pay for bookkeeping each month?

On average, businesses can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $1,000 per month for bookkeeping services.

However, this range can vary significantly depending on the specific needs of your business.

For example, if you have a large volume of transactions or a highly complex financial situation, you may need to pay on the higher end of this range.

On the other hand, if your business is relatively small with very few activities, you will more likely pay basic bookkeeping costs.

How long does bookkeeping take for a small business?

Bookkeeping for a small business can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks per month. The length of time depends on the size and complexity of the company.

For a small business with simple financials, bookkeeping may only take a few hours per month to reconcile bank statements, track expenses, and produce financial reports.

On the other hand, small to medium businesses with complex financials, such as multiple bank accounts, inventory management, cash flow analysis, and a large number of transactions, may require several days to a few weeks per month to properly maintain accurate and up-to-date financial records.

Do note that speed is affected by other factors as well.

Lack of Experience affects bookkeeping time.

If a business owner who does their own bookkeeping is not well-versed in bookkeeping and financial management, it may take longer as they learn the necessary skills and processes.

Small business DIY bookkeeping
A woman in front of a computer who looks overwhelmed with post-it notes.

Overall, the time investment for bookkeeping depends on the company’s specific needs and goals, as well as the expertise and efficiency of the person handling the bookkeeping tasks.

It is important for business owners to allocate sufficient time and resources to maintaining accurate financial records, as this is crucial for the overall health and success of the company.

But let’s say, as a business owner, you want to do something other than your own books; how can you determine which fee structure works well for your company?

Well, let’s see below.

Hourly vs. monthly bookkeeping fees

There are two main bookkeeping fees, and they both have pros and cons.

Let’s check them out.

Hourly fees:

Pros:

  • Offers Flexibility: Hourly fees allow businesses to only pay for the bookkeeping tasks they need, as they need them. This can be particularly helpful for companies that experience fluctuating or seasonal needs.
  • Pay-as-you-go: With hourly fees, businesses only pay for the time their bookkeeper spends working on their accounts. This can be a cost-effective option for businesses that require basic bookkeeping.

Cons:

  • Lack of predictability: It can be difficult for small businesses to predict how much they will need to pay for bookkeeping activities on an hourly basis. This can make budgeting and forecasting more challenging.
  • Potential for higher costs: Hourly fees can add up quickly, especially if a business has a lot of bookkeeping needs. In some cases, the costs of hourly fees may be higher than the costs of other pricing models.

Monthly fees:

Pros:

  • Predictability: With a monthly fee structure, business owners know exactly what they will pay for monthly bookkeeping tasks. This can help with budgeting and financial planning.
  • Potential for lower costs: Depending on the hourly rate and the number of hours worked, paying a flat monthly fee for bookkeeping tasks may be cost-effective.

Cons:

  • Less flexibility: With a monthly fee structure, business owners may have less flexibility to adjust their bookkeeping needs as their business grows or changes.
  • Upfront commitment: By committing to a monthly fee, business owners may be locked into a contract for a set period of time, which may not be ideal if their bookkeeping needs change unexpectedly.

What are the average bookkeeping fees for small businesses?

It is important to understand the average hourly wage and monthly costs before outsourcing bookkeeping or hiring an in house bookkeeper.

Average Hourly Costs

The average hourly fees for bookkeeping can range from $20-$50 per hour. This range can apply to in house bookkeeping and an outsourced bookkeeper.

The average hourly costs can vary depending on the bookkeeper’s location, experience, and expertise. Some bookkeepers may charge higher or lower rates based on their specific skills and qualifications.

Hourly fees can be a good option for small businesses that need flexible, pay-as-you-go bookkeeping services.

However, they can also be unpredictable and potentially more expensive in the long run compared to other pricing models.

Average Monthly fees

Monthly fees for a bookkeeper can vary greatly depending on the services being provided and the company’s size.

On average, a bookkeeper may charge between $500 and $1,000 per month for their services.

This can include data entry, tracking and recording financial transactions, and preparing or providing financial reports.

Other Options for Small Business Bookkeeping

While hiring a bookkeeper on an hourly basis can be a good option for many small businesses, there are other options.

Here are a few other options to consider if you’re looking for bookkeeping services for your business:

  1. Flat rate pricing: This option involves paying a set fee for a specific set of basic bookkeeping and accounting tasks, such as tracking accounts payable and accounts receivable, updating accounting software, and preparing or analyzing financial statements.
  2. Retainer model: With this option, you pay a fixed monthly fee for a set number of hours of bookkeeping tasks.
  3. Project-based pricing: This option involves paying a fee for a specific project, such as setting up a new accounting system or cleaning up a disorganized set of financial records.
  4. Hybrid pricing: This option involves a combination of different pricing models, such as an hourly rate for ongoing bookkeeping tasks and a flat rate for specific projects.
  5. Outsourced bookkeeping services: You can outsource a freelance bookkeeper to work for your business on a part-time basis.

Bookkeeper salaries & costs of outsourcing

Salaries for bookkeepers can range from around $30,000 to over $50,000 per year, depending on the specific job duties and responsibilities, as well as the level of experience and education.

Outsourcing bookkeeping services can be a cost-effective alternative for businesses, as it allows them to access a professional bookkeeper without the cost and hassle of hiring in house bookkeepers.

Tips on finding the right bookkeeper for your business

The cost of outsourcing bookkeeping tasks will depend on the specific needs and complexity of the business, as well as the bookkeeper’s or bookkeeping firm’s level of experience and expertise.

What to look for when Outsourcing bookkeepers
A man holding up a pamphlet on bookkeeping services with reports on the table.

So, how can you understand the needs of your company? Easy, let’s discuss what to look for.

Determine your bookkeeping needs

Before you start looking for a bookkeeper, it’s important to have an understanding of what services you need.

This will help you narrow down your options and find a bookkeeper who fits the specific services you require.

Due diligence: Research different bookkeeping options: 

There are several different options for bookkeeping services, including hiring full time bookkeeping, outsourcing to a local bookkeeping firm, or using online bookkeeping services.

Consider the pros and cons of each option, in which then choose the one that best fits your business.

Referrals: Seek recommendations from other business owners: 

Word-of-mouth recommendations can be a great way to find a reliable bookkeeper.

Check credentials and experience: 

When considering potential bookkeepers, be sure to verify their credentials and experience.

Look for bookkeepers who have a degree in accounting or a related field, or those who have professional certifications such as a Certified Bookkeeper (CB).

Experience is also important, so look for bookkeepers who have worked with businesses in the past and can demonstrate expertise.

Consider the bookkeeper’s personality and communication style: 

In addition to technical skills, finding a bookkeeper who you feel comfortable working with and who communicates clearly is important.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the amount that a small business bookkeeper should charge will depend on various factors. This includes the size and complexity of the business, the bookkeeper’s level of experience and education, and the specific services being provided. 

While it is not uncommon for bookkeepers to charge hourly rates, some may also offer fixed fees or project rates for certain tasks.