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 from
$449.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Tax prep and payroll add-ons
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Syncs with QuickBooks
Most affordable
Merritt Bookkeeping
Merritt Bookkeeping
Starting from
$190.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Limited add-ons
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Syncs with QuickBooks
Best for established startups
inDinero
inDinero
Starting from
$300.00/mo.
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Tax prep and CFO add-on
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Syncs with QuickBooks and NetSuite
Best bookkeeping + payroll
Bench
Bench
Starting from
$249.00/mo.*
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Tax prep add-on
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    In-house bookkeeping software
Best bookkeeping-only
Book Keeper 360
Bookkeeper360
Starting from
$19.00/mo. + $99.00/hr. of support
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Tax prep, payroll, and HR add-ons
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Syncs with QuickBooks and Xero

Data as of 7/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*When billed annually

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
Book Keeper

Bookkeeper.com

$449.00/mo.QuickBooksBothPayroll, tax preparation
Merritt Bookkeeping

Merritt Bookkeeping

$190.00/mo.QuickBooksCash-basisUnlisted
inDinero

inDinero

$300.00/mo.QuickBooks or NetSuiteBothTax preparation, CFO services
Bench

Bench

$249.00/mo.*Proprietary in-house softwareCash-basisTax preparation
Book Keeper 360

Bookkeeper360

$19.00/mo. + $99.00/hr. of supportQuickBooks or XeroBothTax preparation, HR payroll, inventory management

Data as of 7/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*When billed annually

Bookkeeper.com: Best overall outsourced bookkeeping

Best overall outsourced bookkeeping service
Book Keeper
Bookkeeper.com
  • Starting at $449.00/mo.
  • Check
    Balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and cash flow statement
  • Check
    Payroll add-on through Gusto
  • Check
    Cash-basis and accrual-basis accounting

Data as of 7/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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 $449 per month. It includes key financial documents, bank reconciliation, and limited online support. Bookkeeper.com’s most popular plan, Small Business Plus, costs $649 a month. While it’s a big step up cost-wise, it’s also a big step up feature-wise: you get longer onboarding, unlimited online support, bill pay, and CFO and advisory services.

Merritt Bookkeeping: Most affordable

Most affordable virtual bookkeeping
Merritt Bookkeeping
Merritt Bookkeeping
  • Starting at $190.00/mo.
  • Check
    Automated monthly reporting
  • X
    Limited features and add-ons
  • X
    Cash-basis accounting only

Data as of 7/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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. 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.)

inDinero: Best for established startups

Best outsourced bookkeeping for established startups
inDinero
inDinero
  • Starting at $300.00/mo.
  • Check
    Balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and cash flow statement
  • Check
    Add-on business tax and CFO services
  • Check
    Cash-basis and accrual-basis accounting

Data as of 7/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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.

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

Bench: Best for bookkeeping + payroll

Best bookkeeping + HR plans
Bench
Bench
  • Starting at $249.00/mo.*
  • Check
    Balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and cash flow statement
  • Check
    Tax prep and payroll (through Gusto) with each plan
  • Check
    Cash-basis and accrual-basis accounting

Data as of 7/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*When billed annually

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.

Bench recently changed its pricing structure. Instead of charging you based on your monthly income, Bench offers three separate plans that range from $249 a month to $599 a month. Each plan includes tax prep, a business bank account, real-time accounting, and payroll via Gusto.

Bullhorn
Bench's Catch Up Bookkeeping plans

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.

Bookkeeper360: Best payroll and HR

Best for bookkeeping only
Book Keeper 360
Bookkeeper360
  • Starting at $19.00/mo. + $99.00/hr. of support
  • Check
    Monthly 1:1 financial record reviews
  • Check
    Tax prep and HR add-ons
  • Check
    Cash-basis and accrual-basis accounting

Data as of 7/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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 recently added a new pay-as-you-go plan with a base price of $19 a month plus $99 per hour of support. This plan is ideal for businesses that need minimal monthly support and simply want occasional on-demand bookkeeping assistance.

Otherwise, 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.

Tailored recommendations for your business

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

Pilot

$599.00/mo.QuickBooks or NetSuiteAccrual-basis (cash-basis by request)Tax preparation, CFO services
KPMG Spark

KPMG Spark

$295.00/mo.Proprietary in-house softwareBothPayroll, tax preparation, invoicing, expense tracking
IgniteSpot

Ignite Spot Accounting

$575.00/mo.QuickBooksBothTax preparation, CFO services
Logo for AccountingDepartment.com

AccountingDepartment.com

Contact for quoteQuickBooks or NetSuiteBothPayroll, GL maintenance, expense tracking

Data as of 7/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Pilot: Best for startups

Best outsourced bookkeeping for startups
Pilot
Pilot
  • Starting at $599.00/mo.
  • Check
    Balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and cash flow statement
  • Check
    Add-on CFO and tax prep services
  • Check
    Accrual-basis accounting

Data as of 7/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Pilot’s plans are based on 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. And Pilot doesn’t have a month-to-month payment option. Instead, you’ll have to prepay for each plan annually.

KPMG Spark: Best for daily bookkeeping

Best accounting option for daily bookkeeping
KPMG Spark
KPMG Spark
  • Starting at $295.00/mo.
  • Check
    On-demand financial reports plus daily revenue and expense updates
  • Check
    Payroll and tax add-ons
  • Check
    Cash-basis and accrual-basis accounting

Data as of 7/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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. Pricing starts at $295 a month, includes daily revenue and expense categorization, and is limited to cash-basis accounting only. You’ll get more thorough financial documents (including cash flow statements) and accrual-basis accounting with KPMG Spark’s more expensive plans, starting with the Professional plan at $795 a month.

Ignite Spot Accounting: Best reporting

Best reporting package
IgniteSpot
Ignite Spot Accounting
  • Starting at $575.00/mo.
  • Check
    Balance sheet, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, KPIs, and more
  • Check
    CFO and tax add-ons
  • Check
    Cash-basis and accrual-basis accounting

Data as of 7/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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. However, Ignite Spot is definitely on the pricier end of virtual accounting. Its bookkeeping services start at $575 a month for semi-monthly bookkeeping, and the next plan up costs $1,200 a month.

AccountingDepartment.com: Best in-house support

Best customer support
Logo for AccountingDepartment.com
AccountingDepartment.com
  • X
    Contact for quote
  • Check
    Balance sheet, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, and more
  • Check
    Payroll and tax filing included with each plan
  • Check
    Cash-basis and accrual-basis accounting

Data as of 7/14/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

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, a virtual bookkeeper or virtual accountant 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

Virtual and 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.

Related reading

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 is an accounting writer for Business.org. 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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