How much does a bookkeeper cost?
Business bookkeeping and tax prep keep a company’s financial affairs in order. Bookkeepers use day books and accounting software to record every one of a business's financial transactions by the day, week or month. Bookkeepers often manage payroll and invoicing as well. On a quarterly or annual basis, an accountant can then use the data to create financial reports, analyze business costs and file the company taxes. Many accountants include bookkeeping as part of their financial services for a company, in which case, rates may be higher. Business bookkeepers or accountants can provide temporary, part-time or full-time bookkeeping and tax prep support to any size and classification of business. Several factors affect the cost of business bookkeeping and tax prep services.
Some bookkeepers charge by the hour for their services, and some charge an ongoing rate as a part-time staff member. Bookkeeping services can include offering training on bookkeeping and accounting software, payroll services, or straightforward data entry. Bookkeepers require no certification, so rates tend to be lower for those with less experience, education or reputation. Alternately, certified public accountants (CPAs) have education and certification requirements, so their rates are generally higher. Absolutely Advanced Accounting in Denver, Colorado, charges the following hourly rates for various services:
Bookkeeping: $40 per hour
Accounting and business development: $60 per hour
Training on any aspect of bookkeeping: $100 per hour
Bookkeeping services are often provided on an ongoing, monthly payment basis. Rates for monthly services vary depending on the bookkeeper’s experience and geographic location. Many accountants bundle bookkeeping services into monthly packages along with broader-reaching financial services. In this case, monthly rates depend on the company size and complexity of the work. Here’s an example of tiered pricing from Naresh Setlur CPA, CGMA in Houston, Texas:
Bookkeeping and basic financial services (including annual tax preparation) for a small company with one to three employees: $250–$300 per month
Bookkeeping and basic financial services (including annual tax preparation) for a mid-size company: $250–$500 per month
Acting as chief financial officer for larger companies: $500–$1,000 per month
- This price includes overseeing all financial operations, making monthly entries, reconciling the bank, preparing payroll, paying payroll taxes, paying monthly sales tax, writing quarterly and annual reports, and preparing both business and owner tax returns:
Businesses can pay their taxes on a quarterly or annual basis. Typically, accountants use the data entered throughout the year by the bookkeeper to determine what taxes are owed and what deductions can be made. They also prepare and submit all tax documentation to the IRS. Some accountants charge an annual fee for this service, and some roll it into the cost of year-round financial services. Here’s how Absolutely Advanced Accounting handles pricing for different types of tax preparation situations:
Simple tax prep (1040): $75–$100
Self-employed (Schedule C) tax prep: $150–$250
Corporation tax prep and other complex tax situations: $400+