8 Best Online Bookkeeping Services

Small businesses can use online bookkeeping services to manage their bookkeeping, payroll and tax. We’ve done all the research and selected the best eight virtual bookkeeping services.

Top 8 Virtual Bookkeeping Services 2020

Overall Best Online Bookkeeping Service: QuickBooks Live

QuickBooks Live Live is an online bookkeeping solution offered directly by QuickBooks Online, our choice for best overall small business accounting software . Its online bookkeeping service provides access to a dedicated team of bookkeeping professionals. QuickBooks Live can be added easily to your current QuickBooks Online subscription.

Pros Cons
Fantastic mobile app for accessing your books You must subscribe to QuickBooks Online and pay a monthly bookkeeping fee
There is no obligation or contract There is no financial or tax advice available
Bookkeeper dedicated to your needs There is no add-on for bill pay or invoices

QuickBooks Live Pricing

QuickBooks Live comes in three pricing options that are dependent on your monthly expenses. QuickBooks Online subscriptions range from $25 to $150 per year. The monthly cost of QuickBooks Live is not included in the price. To learn more about subscription options, please visit our comparison.

  • Low Volume: $200/month for up to $25,000 monthly expenses
  • Medium Volume: $400/month for between $25,000 and $150,000 monthly expenses
  • High Volume: $600/month for more than $150,000 monthly expenses

There is an additional $50 one-time fee for setting up your QuickBooks Online account.

QuickBooks Live Features

  • A dedicated bookkeeper: Your bookkeeper is a QuickBooks ProAdvisor certified with an average of 15 year experience.
  • Customized setup Your dedicated bookkeeper will create your chart of accounts and connect your banks.
  • Monthly closes Each month your books are closed and you receive a PDF copy of your financial statements.
  • Payroll: QuickBooks provides full-service payroll services for an additional charge.
  • Access in real time: Your bookkeeper works in QuickBooks Online. You can access your books online in real-time by logging in to your account.
  • Services not Included: Your bookkeeper does not send invoices, pay bills or manage inventory.

You can find more information in our review for QuickBooks Live.

Bookkeeper.com is the best online bookkeeping service for businesses that want a full-service accounting firm.

Bookkeeper.com is more than just an online bookkeeper. Bookkeeper.com offers many of the services you would expect from a brick-and-mortar accounting firm like payroll, tax preparation, bill pay, and financial planning. You can get started with their online bookkeeping plan, and then add additional services as you need them.

Pros Cons
No additional cost for business, financial planning and tax advice Additional services such as tax return preparation are not subject to an upfront price
Additional fees may apply for bill pay, tax return preparation, or payroll Very small businesses may find the starting price a bit high
QuickBooks Online bookkeeping software
A dedicated team of QuickBooks Online ProAdvisors certified  

Bookkeeper.com Pricing

  • Small Business: Start at $285 per Month for up to 125 transactions
  • Small Business Plus Starting at $495 per Month for between 125 to 250 transactions per month
  • Small Business Advanced – Custom Pricing for More Than 250 Transactions per Month

Bookkeeper.com Features

  • QuickBooks Online: You can keep your books with QuickBooks Online, the most popular small-business accounting software.
  • A dedicated bookkeeper: This bookkeeper is a certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor.
  • Monthly financial statements Every month you will receive a Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss Statement, Statement Cash Flows and General Ledger.
  • Advice: Your monthly charge includes general business consulting and strategic planning.
  • Software Setup: Your monthly fee includes your accounting software set-up.
  • Payroll All payroll transactions will processed and required returns filed on your behalf. You only need to provide details about employees and work hours. There is an additional fee.
  • Tax return preparation Bookkeeper.com charges an additional fee to prepare personal and business taxes.
  • Bill payment: Once you approve the online portal, your bills will be paid. There is an additional fee.

For more information, we have provided an expert Review of Bookkeeper.com.

Best Online Bookkeeping Service For Businesses: Bench

Bench is a great online bookkeeping service for small businesses that have fallen two or more years behind on their bookkeeping. Bench provides a very affordable bookkeeping option with their Essential plan by focusing almost exclusively on bank transactions, which provides accurate cash-basis books required for tax returns. With Bench’s historical bookkeeping, you will work with a team of real people to get your books caught up fast and help deal with IRS or bankruptcy problems. Once your bookkeeping is current, continue working with Bench with pricing plans starting at $299 per month and never fall behind again.

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Pros Cons
Affordable plans include annual income taxes returns Bench’s software handles bookkeeping. Transferring your books can be difficult.
BenchRetro provides a customized payment plan to companies that are behind in their bookkeeping. You will need additional software to invoice, pay bills, manage inventory, and payroll, unless you are willing to pay more for specialized bookkeeping.
Bookkeepers are employees of Bench and not contractors No mobile app for Android

Pricing

Two pricing options are available from Bench. They depend on whether you need tax advice or filings. If you pay annually, discounts are available

  • Essential: $299 a month, includes year-end financial statements and monthly bookkeeping
  • Premium: $499 a month Adds unlimited tax advice to your bookkeeping package and an annual tax return for business

Bench can also help you catch up on your bookkeeping, starting at $299 per month. Bookkeeping services can be added to your account, such as tracking invoices, bills and segments. Prices start at $100 per month.

Bench Features

  • Financial statements: You can access financial reports from your Apple or computer anytime.
  • Historical bookkeeping This program is for businesses with more than two years of bookkeeping behind. It can be used to dissolve, file bankruptcy, or have IRS problems.
  • A dedicated bookkeeper: The account’s bookkeeper is an employee of Bench and not a contractor.
  • Tax: Individual returns for sole proprietors or federal tax returns are available with the Premium plan.

You can find more information in our expert review of Bench Accounting.

Best Online Bookkeeping Service for Xero Users: Bookkeeper360

Bookkeeper360 is ideal for small businesses that prefer using Xero bookkeeping software. Bookkeeper360 offers both cash basis accounting as well as accrual accounting that includes complex items such as deferred revenue, accrued expenses, and inventory. All plans include the Bookkeeper360 app, which integrates with your Xero account to provide unique insights into your business.

Pros Cons
Uses Xero bookkeeping software Higher than other options
Accrual basis accounting can be used There is no bill pay or invoicing service.
Additional packages are available for chief financial officer (CFO), tax services, and payroll  

Bookkeeper360 Pricing

Bookkeeper360’s bookkeeping services are priced according to whether you require cash or accrual accounting, and what your monthly expenses are.

Monthly Expenses Monthly Fee (Cash Basis). Monthly Fee (Accrual Basis).
Maximum $1,000 $399 $549
From $1,000 to $35,000 $499 $649
From $35,000 to $50,000 $599 $749
$50,000 – $65,000 $699 $849
$65,000 to $85,000 $899 $1,049
More than $85,000 Custom pricing Custom pricing

Bookkeeper360 Features

  • App Both the desktop and mobile apps are connected to your Xero account. They provide easy-to-understand dashboards and scorecards as well as metrics derived from your Xero data.
  • A dedicated bookkeeper: You will be assigned an accountant who will learn all about your business.
  • Financial statements The Balance sheet and profit and loss statement (P&L) are prepared monthly. Additional charges may apply for weekly preparations.
  • Accrual Basis: Accrual Basis accounting is available. It includes complex accounting such deferred revenue, accrued expense, and inventory.
  • CFO Advisory An accountant who is dedicated to your business will offer services similar to a CFO for an additional charge.
  • Payroll: Full-service payroll is available and fully integrated into your bookkeeping–additional fee.
  • Tax Service – Tax professionals can file individual and business returns, as well as offer tax planning–an additional fee.

Bookkeeper360 is reviewed in detail by our accounting expert.

Merritt Bookkeeping is the best online bookkeeping service for small businesses on a budget

Merritt Bookkeeping is an ideal solution for businesses on a tight budget. Merritt charges a flat monthly fee of $190 regardless of the level of your expenses. With Merritt Bookkeeping, there are no surprises, so you know exactly what your bookkeeping costs are upfront.

Pros Cons
Flat-rate, affordable pricing No dedicated bookkeeper
Filing Form 1099 included Only messages can be sent to bookkeepers for access
Bookkeeping uses QuickBooks Online Not available for invoicing, bill payment and inventory management

Merritt Bookkeeping Pricing

  • $190 per month

Merritt Bookkeeping Features

  • A simple user interface: Your bookkeeper will use QuickBooks Online. You can indicate any corrections using a customized interface without having to log into QuickBooks Online.
  • Financial reports: P&L Statements are emailed to your monthly.

For more details, read our expert review of Merritt Bookkeeping.

Best Online Bookkeeping Service For Startups

Pilot ’s services are built around the needs of startup companies backed by venture capitalists. The monthly statements come with your burn rate so that you know exactly where you and your investors stand. They also provide services tailored to ecommerce and professional service firms. While more expensive than other online bookkeeping options, Pilot provides a very comprehensive service that includes accrual accounting in all plans.

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Pros Cons
Financial reports specific to each industry All plans must all be pre-paid annually
All plans include accrual basis accounting Comparable to other options
Additional services available for tax, bill pay, invoicing and CFO

Pilot Pricing

All Pilot plans must all be purchased annually and pre-paid. The Core plan is for users with monthly expenses less than $200,000, while the Select plan is for those with lower monthly incomes. The Select plan offers standard industry ratios as well as monthly phone reviews.

Monthly Business Expenses Annual Core Fee Choose an Annual Fee
Below $30,000 $7,188 $10,188
$30,000 – $60,000 $7,788 $10,788
From $60,000 to $100,000 $8,628 $11,628
100,000 to $150,000 $9,708 $12,708
$150,000 to $200,000 $10,788 $13,788
More than $200,000 You must choose Plus plan (custom pricing). You must choose Plus plan (custom pricing).

The Plus plan offers custom pricing and extensive customization, as well as invoices, bill payment and inventory tracking.

Pilot Features

  • A dedicated bookkeeper: Your business and books will be taken care of by a bookkeeper.
  • Monthly financial reports: These reports include balance sheet, profit and loss and statement of cash flows.
  • Industry-specific Reports: Monthly Reports include industry-specific statements like burn reports for startups or inventory management for ecommerce businesses. This requires either the Select plan or the Plus plan.
  • Accrual Basis: All plans include Accrual Basis bookkeeping.
  • Invoices Pilot will create and send invoices for your customers. This requires the Plus plan.
  • Pay bills Bills are paid by Pilot. This plan requires the Plus plan.
  • CFO support: CFO services include annual budgeting, ongoing financial support, pitch assessment, and fundraising strategies–additional fee.
  • Tax service: pilot can prepare your federal, local, and state tax returns, along with filing your 1099s,–adding fee

Our expert provides additional details in our Pilot Bookkeeping Review.

Best Online Bookkeeping Service for Accounting Firms

Botkeeper uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to automate the majority of the bookkeeping process and produce what they refer to as a “pre-accounting solution” for their partner accounting firms. Botkeeper eliminates the need for most data entry and delivers books with the majority of your clients’ bookkeeping already complete. You and your staff will review the work and make adjusting entries to finalize your client’s books. While the annual platform fee might seem expensive, Botkeeper can do the work of a team of bookkeepers and will pay for itself quickly, provided you have the client base to support it.

Pros Cons
Innovative approach to bookkeeping To recover the $42,000 annual platform fees, firms need to have a large client base
Excelent dashboard and reporting All plans must all be paid annually
You can free up your staff’s time so that they can focus on providing value-added services for clients Your staff will be able to work less off-season

Botkeeper Pricing

Botkeeper pricing is made up of both a per-client and platform fee for accounting firms.

  • Platform Fee: $42,000/year
  • Fee per client:
    • Starter: $948/year for up to $50,000 monthly expenses
    • Basic: $23,388 per annum for more than $50,000 monthly expenses

Botkeeper Features

  • Integration Credit cards, banks, and payroll providers can be integrated to automatically extract transactions.
  • Automation: Humans use critical thinking to train the machine to pay bills, categorize expenses and reconcile transactions.
  • Synch After transactions have been verified by humans, transactions are transferred to the client’s books.
  • Reports – Client performance can be accessed in dashboards as well as up-to-date financial statements.

Our Botkeeper review includes details from an accounting expert about Botkeeper’s unique offerings for bookkeeping firms.

Sunrise: Best Free Software with an Online Bookkeeping Option

Sunrise by Lendio is a unique bookkeeping solution. It is based on its proprietary bookkeeping software, which it allows do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) to access for free. While you handle day-to-day tasks like invoicing and paying bills, you can add online bookkeeping to your account to help with the critical areas of your bookkeeping, such as account reconciliations and month-end close. The software is free, and bookkeeping plans start at $149 per month.

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Pros Cons
High-end software is paired with sufficient bookkeeping support to keep DIYers on the right track Bookkeepers provide limited service
Software is free Software isn’t as well-known than QuickBooks Online.
Cancel anytime, no contract  

Sunrise Pricing

  • Self-Service No bookkeeping required
  • Early: $149/month for up to 120 transactions
  • Growing: 299 per month for up 200 transactions
  • Corporate:$499/month for up to 500 transactions

Sunrise Features

  • No cost software: Sunrise is a very powerful software that can create customized invoices, financial reports and expense tracking.
  • Accountant Access: Invite an independent accountant to access your Sunrise bank account.
  • A dedicated bookkeeper: Your bookkeeper matches transactions with bank statements and closes your books each month.

Sunrise’s strength is its free software. Our complete review of Sunrise contains more information about the Sunrise software.

How to choose your online bookkeeping service

When deciding on the best virtual bookkeeping service for you, there are many things to take into consideration. You must first consider what kind of services your online bookkeeping service should provide.

  • Bank reconciliation It is essential to maintain good bookkeeping. Any online bookkeeping service can do this for you.
  • Payroll If your goal is to outsource some accounting work, payroll is the best place to start. Payroll services should be offered by your online bookkeeping service.
  • Financial statements A professional bookkeeping service should print financial statements or alert you when they are available. Financial statements should be made available at the very least every quarter, but most importantly, monthly.
  • InvoicingIt is crucial for your cash flow that you send your customers invoices on time. While most online bookkeeping services will not invoicing you, it is possible to have the service monitor your invoices and alert you to any problems.
  • Bills The company is responsible for the day-to-day tasks of paying bills and tracking them. It is useful if your online bookkeeper alerts to problems, just as it is with invoices.

There are other factors to consider when selecting a virtual bookkeeping service.

  • A dedicated bookkeeper. Just because your bookkeeper works online, doesn’t mean that they aren’t a person who knows your business. You should have a dedicated person to talk to when you have any questions about your online bookkeeping service.
  • Cost While cost is an important consideration, try to consider the value you get in terms of time saved and the utility of your financial statements. Sometimes, the cheapest option in bookkeeping may not be the best.
  • Access your information: Gone are the days when you had to wait until the end of an accounting period in order to view your financial statements. Access to your financial information should be available 24/7 from any device, even your mobile phone.
  • Software: Think about which online bookkeeping software they use. If they use the same software as QuickBooks Online, it is very simple to transfer your books to another person if you are not satisfied. Transferring your books to them may be more difficult if they have their own software.

Bottom line

Bookkeeping online takes some of the stress out of managing a small business. All of the reviewed services will import your bank transactions and credit card transactions and categorize them. Then, they will reconcile them to your bank statements. Some services will issue invoices, pay bills and provide CFO advice. Others can prepare tax returns. Consider which services are best for you and your business. This will allow you to spend more time on the things that matter to you.