The 9 Best Virtual and Outsourced Accounting Services for Small Businesses in 2021

We considered bookkeeping features, payroll and tax add-ons, integrations and software, and price to bring you the best outsourced bookkeeping services for small businesses.
Best overall
Book Keeper
Bookkeeper.com
  • Starting price: $299.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Cash-basis and accrual-basis
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Tax prep and payroll add-ons
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Syncs with QuickBooks
Most affordable
Merritt Bookkeeping
Merritt Bookkeeping
  • Starting price: $190.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Cash-basis only
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Limited add-ons
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Syncs with QuickBooks
Best for established startups
inDinero
inDinero
  • Starting price: $300.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Cash-basis and accrual-basis
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Tax prep and CFO add-on
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Syncs with QuickBooks and NetSuite
Best bookkeeping only
Bench
Bench
  • Starting price: $159.00
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Cash-basis only
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Tax prep add-on
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    In-house bookkeeping software
Best for payroll & HR
Book Keeper 360
Bookkeeper360
  • Starting price: $399.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Cash-basis and accrual-basis
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Tax prep, payroll, and HR add-ons
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Syncs with QuickBooks and Xero

If you can’t—or simply don’t want to—shoulder your business’s bookkeeping needs alone, virtual or outsourced bookkeeping is a good time-saving solution.

Bookkeeper.com is our favorite outsourced bookkeeping provider: it’s cost-effective, comprehensive, and easy to sync with QuickBooks. But there’s more than one virtual accounting company in the world, and solutions range from on-demand CFO services to simple pay-by-the-hour book balancing. Below, we review our 10 favorite virtual and outsourced accounting services for small-business owners like you.

Best virtual and outsourced accounting for small businesses

Compare the top outsourced accounting service features

Brand
Starting cost
Accounting software integration
Cash-basis or accrual-basis accounting
Add-on services
Learn more
Bookkeper.com$299.00/mo.QuickBooksBothPayroll, tax preparation
Merritt Bookkeeping$190.00/mo.QuickBooksCash-basisUnlisted
inDinero$300.00/mo.QuickBooks or NetSuiteBothTax preparation, CFO services
Bench$159.00/mo.Proprietary in-house softwareCash-basisTax preparation
Bookkeeper360$399.00/mo.QuickBooks or XeroBothTax preparation, HR payroll, inventory management

Data effective 4/11/21. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Best overall: Bookkeeper.com

Book Keeper

If you need an all-in-one affordable bookkeeping service with optional full-service payroll and tax prep assistance, Bookkeeper.com can help.

For ease of use, versatility, and scalability, Bookkeeper.com is hard to beat. While Bookkeeper.com’s cheapest plans start with bookkeeping basics, you can add comprehensive accounting, payroll, and tax services as needed. Bookkeeper.com manages your accounts using QuickBooks Online (or QuickBooks Desktop, if you prefer). Plus, not every online bookkeeping service works with both accrual-basis and cash-basis accounting—but Bookkeeper.com does.

Bookkeeper.com’s cheapest plan, Small Business, starts at $299 per month. It’s limited to businesses that have 100 or fewer monthly transactions and includes key financial documents, bank reconciliation, and limited online support. The next step up, Small Business Plus, costs $499 a month and allows for 200 or fewer transactions. Small Business Plus is a big step up cost-wise, but it’s also a big step up feature-wise: you get longer onboarding, unlimited online support, bill pay, and CFO and advisory services.

Most affordable: Merritt Bookkeeping

Merritt Bookkeeping

If you don’t have many employees and are comfortable filing your own taxes, Merritt Bookkeeping is a solidly affordable choice.

Merritt doesn’t offer many of the services that other virtual bookkeeping services we compared do, like payroll management, invoicing, or tax filing. But it provides enough outsourced accounting services to free up valuable time. In particular, Merritt automates some of the most basic but most time-consuming bookkeeping tasks—reconciling accounts, balancing books, and recording journal entries—so you can focus more on running your business.

Best of all, Merritt Bookkeeping starts at $190 a month, which is cheaper than any provider on our list save Bench (which charges by your business’s monthly expenses). Unfortunately, Merritt’s site doesn’t list much additional information about its online bookkeeping services. You’ll have to contact the company directly to learn more, which is a little frustrating. (On the other hand, reaching out to the company means you can ask specific questions about how Merritt can help your unique business.)

Best for established startups: inDinero

inDinero

inDinero’s scalable plans can work for startups, midsize businesses, and enterprise-level corporations alike. Each inDinero plan also includes employee-focused features, including employee reimbursements and payroll support.

Looking for a scalable outsourced bookkeeping service with flexible payment options? Every inDinero plan includes a dedicated account manager, direct employee reimbursements, some inventory management, and payroll assistance. It also syncs with either QuickBooks Online or Netsuite (as opposed to syncing just with QuickBooks, like most virtual bookkeepers). And you can choose to pay monthly, quarterly, or annually.

Prices start at $300 a month for the Essential plan, which is geared towards startups that use cash-basis accounting. If you use accrual-basis accounting, you’ll need the Growth plan, which starts at $900 a month. And the Executive plan, which is built for larger companies that need CFO services, has custom pricing. You’ll need to get in touch with an inDinero rep for a price estimate.

Best for bookkeeping only: Bench

Bench

Do you already work with a bookkeeper, CPA firm, or tax professional? Bench handles all bookkeeping duties and syncs up with your in-house staff during tax time to reduce stress and save time.

When you sign up for Bench’s virtual accounting services, a dedicated bookkeeper talks you through Bench’s in-house software, analyzes your books, and starts sending you monthly financial reports. Your dedicated Bench professional can connect directly with your current bookkeeper or CPA firm. Bench will also prepare your tax paperwork for you. Unlike most of the other providers on our list, Bench doesn’t sync with QuickBooks: your bookkeeper will use Bench’s proprietary in-house software instead.

Instead of offering additional services at higher price points, Bench breaks its plans down by how high your business’s monthly expenses are:

  • Starter ($159/month): Monthly expenses $3K or under
  • Micro ($199/month): Monthly expenses between $3K and $20K
  • Boutique ($249/month): Monthly expenses between $20K and $50K
  • Venture ($299/month): Monthly expenses between $50K and $100K
  • Corporate ($419/month): Monthly expenses between $100K and $1M

The pricing above is for annual plans: if you want to pay month by month, you’ll end up spending $30 to $80 more each month, depending on the plan. Plus, Bench charges you $100 extra per month if you have "complex bookkeeping needs"—which is pretty vague, so you'll have to check in with Bench to see if your business counts.

Pin
Bench's Catch Up Bookkeeping plan

Need help getting past accounts in order? With Bench's Catch Up Bookkeeping services, a Bench bookkeeper will work through past months of disorganized bookkeeping to bring your accounts up to date.

Find Your Money—and Keep More of It

With plans starting at $15 a month, FreshBooks is well-suited for freelancers, solopreneurs, and small-business owners alike.

  • Track time and expenses
  • Create custom invoices
  • Accept online payments

Best payroll and HR: Bookkeeper360

Book Keeper 360

Bookkeeper360 uses dedicated accountants while also providing full-service payroll solutions, HR add-ons like medical insurance, and fractional CFO services.

With Bookkeeper360, you’ll get a dedicated virtual accountant who sends detailed reports on a monthly basis. You can also add on a variety of HR and payroll services. For instance, Bookkeeper360 syncs with ADP and Gusto—two of our favorite payroll service providers—to make direct deposits, help with time tracking and PTO, file payroll taxes for you, and find medical benefits and workers compensation insurance for your small business. And on the accounting software front, Bookkeeper360 syncs with both Xero and QuickBooks Online.

Bookkeeper360 offers two cash accounting plans that differ based on how often you need its services: a monthly plan, which starts at $399 per month if you pay annually, and a weekly plan, which starts at $549 per month (not per week). Accrual accounting plans are a bit pricier, with the cheapest plan starting at $549 per month.

Virtual bookkeeping software: Honorable mentions

The virtual bookkeeping providers above might be our favorite—but if they don’t quite fit your needs, we understand completely. Here are three other online accounting service providers worth looking at.

Compare runner-up bookkeeping service features

Brand
Starting price
Accounting software integration
Cash-basis or accrual-basis accounting
Add-on services
Learn more
Pilot$599.00/mo.QuickBooks or NetSuiteAccrual-basis (cash-basis by request)Tax preparation, CFO services
KPMG Spark$295.00/mo.Proprietary in-house softwareBothPayroll, tax preparation, invoicing, expense tracking
Ignite Spot Accounting$575.00/mo.QuickBooksBothTax preparation, CFO services
AccountingDepartment.comContact for quoteQuickBooks or NetSuiteBothPayroll, GL maintenance, expense tracking

Data effective 4/11/21. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Best for startups: Pilot

Pilot
Pilot

Want help getting your business off the ground? Pilot is geared toward small businesses and startups that want expert financial advice right out of the gate.

Like Bench, Pilot structures its pricing around how much you pay in expenses each month. If you’ve just gotten off the ground and aren’t spending (or making) too much money yet, Pilot’s dedicated accountants can help you figure out how to get—and stay—on track. Unfortunately, you’ll pay a lot for the help: plans start at $599 per month for businesses with $15,000 worth of monthly expenses.

Best for cash-basis only: KPMG Spark

KPMG Spark

If you need bookkeeping help on the go, try KPMG Spark—its solid mobile app quickly connects you to your dedicated bookkeeper.

KPMG Spark (formerly known as Bookly) has its own accounting software and mobile app, which means you can connect with your dedicated bookkeeper on the go. KPMG Spark used to advertise a cash-basis and accrual-basis plan, with the accrual-basis plan costing hundreds more a month. Now, the pricing structure is more streamlined. Pricing starts at $295 a month, includes invoicing, and is limited to cash-basis accounting only.

Best reporting: Ignite Spot Accounting

IgniteSpot

Ignite Spot Accounting lets you dive right into bookkeeping by axing setup fees and creating detailed reports.

Ignite Spot Accounting delivers heftier reports than many other cloud accounting providers we checked out for this piece. Along with typical financial reporting (like profit and loss reports and balance sheets), you’ll get a KPI (key performance indicator) report and profitability analysis, among others. The company doesn’t charge a setup fee unless your books aren’t current. If they aren’t up to date, you’ll pay a fee to get everything in order.

Ignite Spot is definitely on the pricier end of virtual accounting. Its bookkeeping services start at $575 a month, and its virtual CFO services start at $500 a month.

Best in-house support: AccountingDepartment.com

With an in-house team of trained professionals and a slew of financial reports, AccountingDepartment.com is dedicated to taking meticulous care of your books.

Along with offering the typical outsourced bookkeeping services, AccountingDepartment.com provides outsourced controller services. With this service, their CPAs manage bookkeeping while also budgeting, forecasting, doing job costing, managing cash flow, tracking inventory, and performing other financial management tasks on your behalf. Contact the company directly for a quote.

Virtual accounting FAQ

What is virtual accounting?

Virtual accounting firms provide the same services as in-house accountants: they can balance your books, file your taxes, and advise you on your business’s financial health. But instead of working out of your office, virtual accountants work from afar. Usually, virtual accounting and bookkeeping companies use cloud-based accounting software to ensure you have constant access to your own financial records.

Is there a difference between virtual and outsourced accounting or bookkeeping?

Virtual, outsourced, and online are often used interchangeably when referring to bookkeeping and accounting. However, virtual bookkeeping and accounting can sometimes refer to accountants or CPAs who work out of their homes and contract out their services individually. In contrast, outsourced bookkeeping and accounting nearly always refers to accountants with an accounting firm who handle your books from their own office.

How much does outsourced accounting cost?

Outsourced, virtual bookkeeping can cost as little as $150 per month and as much as $900 (or more) per month. Some companies charge by the number of accounts you need them to manage, while other companies charge based on your company’s monthly expenses. Typically, the lower your expenses (and the fewer your accounting needs), the less you’ll be charged.

Is virtual bookkeeping legit?

Yes, virtual and outsourced bookkeeping is just as legitimate as in-house bookkeeping and accounting. However, as with any in-person accounting professionals you’d trust with your financial data, you should always verify a bookkeeping firm’s credentials before committing to a monthly plan.

The takeaway

Outsourced bookkeeping and accounting services are a happy medium between do-it-yourself software and pricey in-house bookkeeping. If that description fits what you’re looking for, one of the nine best virtual bookkeeping providers can save you time, money, and stress.

Bookkeeper.com is an all-around solid pick for small to midsize businesses that might want additional payroll and tax help down the road. But Merritt Bookkeeping is a cheaper option, inDinero has even more add-ons, Bench’s bookkeepers work seamlessly with your own CPA, and Bookkeeper360 integrates with some of our favorite HR and payroll providers.

In other words, no matter what type of virtual bookkeeping solution you’re looking for, there’s a perfect match out there for you. And one final tip for the road: before you sign up for a virtual outsourced accountant, don’t forget to ask your customer service representative about free trials and money-back guarantees. You deserve the best of the best.

Would you rather tackle accounting yourself instead of outsourcing it to a third party? Check out our list of the year’s best accounting software for small businesses to get started.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Kylie McQuarrie
Written by
Kylie McQuarrie
Kylie spent two of the last four years writing for and with small-business owners—from dentists in Australia to plumbers in the Midwest. She spent the other two writing in depth about internet and security. She’s passionate about reading, hiking, and dedicating every spare second to writing for fun (at lunch, between meetings, on the train, before breakfast . . . ). Her content helps small-business owners tackle the logistics of running a business so they can focus more on their passions too.
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