Stack of folders that represent how confusing bookkeeping fees can be

Understanding Bookkeeping Services Fees

When you're looking for a bookkeeping service, you don’t want a company who is simply trying to beat their competitors’ prices. If you hire an accountant for $80 per month, they aren’t going to be able to provide you quality support. Instead, you should find a bookkeeping service that has a pricing strategy. To understand the fees of these services, you should first understand the strategies employed by most accounting firms.

Fixed Fee Services

Fixed Fee Services is a strategy that involves working out monthly payments with the bookkeeping services firm. This fee will vary depending on what you need. The benefits of this type of model are that you won’t be billed for every time you contact your accountant. Rather, you’ll have a set fee that you pay each month that covers the services that are listed in the contract.

Since the fee is based on what specific services you need, the exact pricing will vary. The best way to figure out pricing for these types of bookkeeping firms is to call them directly and go over the services you need.

Hourly Fee

Hourly fees are fairly easy to understand. The exact pricing will be based on the accountant you’re working with, or each firm may have its own set price. Some people really like this sort of system since it’s a way for you to only pay for what you use. The benefit is that you could pay less on low volume months versus an overall straight fee. The only downside is that the accountant can claim excess hours.

On average, the fees can range anywhere from $90 to $300 per hour (or more at some firms). Low hourly rates do not equate to better value. An experienced, efficient accountant may charge a higher hourly rate, but could complete the task in half the time.

Startup Pricing

Startup pricing is specifically for businesses that are just getting started. If you’re just beginning to set up your business, you’ll want to find a company that specializes in basic support. These bookkeeping services provide excellent systems for helping new businesses get off the ground. Unfortunately, they usually do not remain with you as your business grows. You should understand that you may have to transfer your support to another bookkeeping firm that is more advanced as your company increases in size.

Bookkeeping firms that offer this type of pricing determine how much you pay based on the size of your business. Generally, you will be expected to pay the firm monthly. The monthly price can range anywhere from $125 for a micro business to $500 for larger businesses. The firm will usually help you define what size your business is for optimum services.

Project Fee

The final model that some bookkeeping services use to set pricing is a project fee. This is great for businesses that need their books caught up and then want to take them back over. In this type of situation, the pricing depends on what exactly you need. This is a “one-time” service in most instances where you would return as advisor over your own bookkeeping services. Because of this, the prices for project fees will vary. 

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