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How much does bookkeeping cost in 2024?

The average price of bookkeeping is
$11 - $30 per hour

in the US, depending on the size of your business and the service you choose.

What's the average cost of a freelance bookkeeper? Find out the average rates for bookkeepers in the US, set your budget, and find a brilliant bookkeeper for your business with our price guide.

Bookkeeping, often seen as as the unglamorous backbone of all successful businesses, is a service that’s frequently outsourced to professionals capable of crunching numbers and maintaining the intricate balance of an organization’s financial health. Small business owners in particular need to keep a finger on the pulse of their financial situation from day one, but finding the right bookkeeper at the right price can be a daunting task.

This comprehensive guide is tailor-made for small business owners looking to gauge the landscape of bookkeeping services in the US. We'll comb through the average prices of freelance bookkeeping, specific types of bookkeeping, and the factors that impact costs, ensuring you understand what you’re really paying for and how to make the most of your investment. (And when you're ready to find a bookkeeper within your budget, Bark can put you in touch with professionals that suit your needs.)

Wait - What is Bookkeeping? 

Man bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is one of the primary practices every successful business has at their core. It’s simply the art of keeping financial records and updating these records over time. 

Bookkeeping serves a lot of purposes for businesses. For one, it helps the business’ administration to keep track of their progress and expenses. By keeping a close eye on their money, they can evaluate their actions and find out what is working in their business and what isn’t. Under ideal conditions, bookkeeping is done every day as part of every business’ daily operations. 

So you know you need a bookkeeper - but how much does it cost to crunch the numbers?

Average Price of Bookkeeping in the US

Happy Bookkeeper

Bookkeeping isn’t a one-size-fits-all service, and the price reflects the customized nature of the work. On average, businesses in the US outsource bookkeeping services at a range of $500 to $2,500 per month, depending on the complexity of their financial activities, amount of transactions to be managed, and if payroll and taxation are included.

Larger businesses that require intricate financial reporting for multiple departments might find themselves at the higher end of the spectrum, while a smaller operation might secure bookkeeping services at the lower end. The average cost often includes monthly financial statements, bank reconciliation, accounts payable, and receivable support, giving you a full financial package.

Average priceNature of serviceDuration
$400 - $800Part-time bookkeeping services 1 working month
$3,000 - $4,500 Full-time bookkeeping services1 working month
$500 - $2,500Outsourced services1 working month (or as is stipulated in the contract)

Hourly Rates for Bookkeeping

If you prefer to engage bookkeeping services on an hourly basis, freelance bookkeepers charge on average between $11 to $30 per hour. This range allows for the variance in specialization and experience levels. A bookkeeper charging $11 an hour might be an entry-level professional, while the $25+ rate could signify someone with more certifications or industry expertise.

Hourly rates for bookkeepers
Lowest average rate$11
Average price range$11-25
Highest average rate$30+

For businesses with irregular transactions, hourly rates might offer cost savings, as you’d pay for the time the work actually takes. However, it’s important to agree on a maximum monthly fee to prevent any unexpected spikes in your bookkeeping expense.

Daily Rates for Bookkeeping

Some businesses might elect to pay on a day-rate basis, which could range from $80 to $293 per day. This can work well for small bursts of activity, such as quarterly financial analysis and reporting. Day rates can be a preferred option for businesses with seasonally fluctuating financial needs.

However, the trade-off here is you must ensure a bookkeeper's daily rate does not lead to higher costs than a flat monthly rate for the same amount of work over an extended period.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping

The costs associated with bookkeeping are far from static and are influenced by a myriad of factors. Some of the most notable include:

Size of Business

The number of employees, volume of transactions, and complexity of business operations can significantly impact the cost of bookkeeping.

Geographic Location

The average cost of bookkeeping services also varies by state due to differences in living wages and local economic conditions. For instance, in a high-cost area like New York bookkeeping services would likely command a higher price than in a less expensive state like Missouri.

Agency vs. Freelancer

Choosing between a bookkeeping agency or a freelance bookkeeper comes with its own financial considerations. Agencies often charge higher rates but provide greater assurances on service quality and availability. Freelancers might offer more competitive pricing but could have fewer resources.

Software Subscriptions

Bookkeepers often use specialized accounting software, the costs of which may be passed on to the client. They might recommend or require subscriptions to services like QuickBooks or FreshBooks, adding to the monthly expense.

Specific Types of Bookkeeping and Their Prices

Man doing taxes bookkeeping

The type of bookkeeping you require will also dictate the price you pay. For example, fully remote bookkeeping services, where all tasks are handled virtually, could be more cost-effective than having a local bookkeeper who comes to your office.

And not everything falls into bookkeeping - from tax accounting to more specialized services like forensic accounting or international tax compliance, you'll naturally pay more, and to a specialist professional too.

How to Save Money on Bookkeeping

While the value of solid bookkeeping cannot be overstated, there are ways to keep these essential financial services from becoming a burden on your budget:

Good Recordkeeping

The cleaner you can keep your financial records, the less time a bookkeeper will need to spend untangling them, resulting in lower costs. Implementing solid record-keeping practices within your business can significantly reduce the time spent by a bookkeeper on your accounts.

Regular Updates

The old adage ‘time is money’ rings particularly true in the realm of bookkeeping. Regular updates from you to your bookkeeper can save time and money by ensuring there are no surprises or major corrections required.

Negotiate a Package

If you are expecting a consistent volume of bookkeeping work, negotiate for a comprehensive monthly package that covers all your needs. This can often save you money compared to paying for each service separately or at a higher hourly rate.

Go Part-Time

Depending on just how much you’ve budgeted for it, hiring a professional on a part-time basis may be cheaper for you. This way, you do not have to spend a ton of money even when the professional doesn’t have a lot of work to do for your business.

Opt for a Mid-Range Professional

You may want to hire a mid-range professional if you're on a budget. Their services are usually a mix of expertise and affordability. 

Go for an Individual Professional

Hiring individual professionals is often cheaper than hiring a bookkeeping/accounting agency to do the job for you. 

Choosing a Bookkeeper Based on Your Budget

Doing bookkeeping

When it comes to securing bookkeeping services, aligning with a professional who meets your budget is just the beginning of creating a successful financial partnership. Other crucial factors to consider include experience and transparency in communication.

By taking into account the average price of bookkeeping, understanding the factors at play, and adopting sound financial strategies, you can ensure that your bookkeeping expenses not only align with your budget but also act as a catalyst for your business success. Now, armed with this information, you can confidently move forward in securing the bookkeeping services that are the perfect fit for your business's financial needs.

To get started, hire a bookkeeper for your business today!

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