Saying “bookkeeping is important” is a bit like saying “water is wet.” It’s as patently obvious as business advice can be. What might be less obvious is just how difficult it is to address this critical responsibility. Smaller organizations may struggle to find the time, the expertise and the tools necessary to keep pace with the perpetual fluctuations inherent in doing business.

For teams like this, it’s all too easy to find yourself months or even years behind the current financials. That’s bad both in terms of business planning and legal risk. The good news is that you don’t have to handle bookkeeping alone. There are reliable outsourcing firms that can help ease the burden of maintaining accuracy and compliance. In this article, we’ve compiled a list of 7 leading brands in this category.

Top accounting software comparison

What makes for a good third-party bookkeeping service? Well, that depends quite a bit on what you’re in the market for. Broadly speaking, you may be looking for a provider that can help you keep the books current, perhaps facilitate financial tasks like payroll and accounts receivable and possibly help you optimize your cash flow based on the data.

Let’s take a look at our list along these lines and see how they compare to each other.

Starting priceGets you up to datePayrollExpense/AR/APAnalytics
Bookkeeper360$49/mo. ($1000 to start, $125/hr. for support)YesIntegration onlyIntegration onlyYesVisit Bookkeeper360
QuickBooks Live$50/mo. base fee + $30/mo.YesAdd-on onlyAdd-on onlyYesVisit QuickBooks
Bench Accounting$249/mo.YesNoNoYesVisit Bench
Pilot Bookkeeping$499/mo.NoNoNoLimitedVisit Pilot
Merritt Bookkeeping$190/mo.NoNoNoYesVisit Merritt
1-800Accountant$179/mo.YesYesYesYesVisit 1-800Accountant
Ignite Spot Accounting$417/mo.YesYesYesYesVisit Ignite Spot

Bookkeeper360: Best overall outsourced bookkeeping service

Bookkeeper360 icon.,
Image: Bookkeeper360

Bookkeeper360 can function as a purely self-service digital solution, integrating with your other financial apps and providing a single source of truth. Or you can go full-service with comprehensive outsourcing.

You can also split the difference to a variety of degrees — with a la carte add-ons, pay-for-what-you-need hourly support and a host of CFO/advisory services, there is plenty to choose from to build the solution you need without paying for the functions you don’t.


  • Bookkeeper360 has three different pricing models, based on how you’d like to pay:
    • Pay-as-you-go: $49 per month plus $125 per hour for support.
    • Monthly billing: Starting at $399 per month.
    • Weekly billing: Starting at $549 per month.


  • Support from a dedicated accountant at every subscription tier.
  • Access to advisory, coaching, training and support.
  • Add-on modules for CFO support, tax handling, payroll and HR, as well as back-office responsibilities.


  • Pay-as-you-go pricing provides a low-cost, low risk option for trying the solution.
  • Extensive integration options, making Bookkeeper360 largely platform-agnostic.
  • App functionality makes for better, more intuitive user experience.
  • Customize your solution with optional modules as you need.


  • Some very specific third-party integrations are still unsupported.
  • Pricing starts low, but can scale up pretty fast depending on your team’s particular needs.

QuickBooks Live: Best for QuickBooks users

QuickBooks icon.
Image: QuickBooks

What Microsoft Office is to the productivity space, QuickBooks is to the financial sector. It’s a ubiquitous baseline that just about anyone who keeps books or reports on P&L data has had experience with. In other words, you can’t really talk about this particular market niche without mentioning the brand. But while most professionals know QuickBooks as a software-only solution, Intuit’s financial forerunner’s offerings are much broader than that.

With their assisted bookkeeping and virtual bookkeeping services, QuickBooks provides both partial and full-service outsourcing for keeping financial records current, accurate and audit-ready. And when combined with the full suite of Intuit financial software tools, you have the digital equivalent of an entire accounting firm at your disposal.


For assisted bookkeeping, QuickBooks has four pricing tiers, each with a base fee of $50 a month. Pricing for a given plan is added to the base price:

  • Simple Start: $30 per month, for a total of $80 per month with base fee.
  • Essentials: $60 per month, for a total of $110 per month with base fee.
  • Plus: $90 per month, for a total of $140 per month with base fee.
  • Advanced: $200 per month, for a total of $250 per month with base fee.

Full-service, virtual bookkeeping only has one pricing tier:

  • $200 per month, after an unspecified first-month cleanup fee.


  • Accurate, up-to-date bookkeeping, all without leaving your office.
  • Business financial reporting made easier with on-demand support and assistance for any needed answers or guidance.
  • Option to handle your books personally with expert support or give the full burden to QuickBooks professionals.
  • Integration synergy with all Intuit products.


  • Offers an accuracy guarantee for increased peace of mind.
  • Reputable, industry-trusted brand with market-leading expertise.
  • Can be combined with other QuickBooks subscriptions for lower costs.


  • Tax services, payroll, expense and financials management, etc. are all available through Intuit but aren’t included in the bookkeeping services by default — you’ll have to upgrade to QuickBooks Live or pay for add-ons.
  • As the biggest dog in the yard, QuickBooks is priced higher than most of its competitors.

Bench Accounting: Best for small businesses

Bench Accounting icon.
Image: Bench Accounting

A provider built specifically to meet the needs of smaller organizations, Bench Accounting’s outsourced bookkeeping services can completely replace your current process or software tools. With competitive pricing, comprehensive catch-up bookkeeping services and unlimited access to your dedicated bookkeeper through their app, Bench can feel like having your own financial pro on staff without breaking the budget. And with a one-month free trial, you can test drive their offerings before fully committing.

With the current economic environment as uncertain as it is, small businesses have often found themselves stretched thin just to keep afloat. One unfortunate byproduct of this is financial records falling behind. That can be a major problem, and a huge GRC risk. Bench makes it possible to undo that kind of damage and get you back to a state of confident accuracy in short order.


Bench offers two different pricing tiers, billed either monthly or annually:

  • Essential: $299 per month (or $249 per month when billed annually).
  • Premium: $399 per month (or $299 per month when billed annually).


  • Monthly bookkeeping to keep you current.
  • Catch-up and historical record bookkeeping, allowing you to get current if you’re not already.
  • Help with taxes, including preparation, filing and tax advisory.
  • Real-time financial insights and reports via their proprietary app.


  • Ability to connect your financial accounts to their system directly and automate the collection of statements and records.
  • Record accuracy maintenance, report and filing preparation and other full bookkeeping services to free up your time.
  • Reporting, analytics and expert insight, especially at year end, to aid in more effective decision-making.


  • Cash-basis by default — it will cost extra if you want accrual accounting.
  • Proprietary app and system completely replaces your current bookkeeping software if you have any and may make it difficult to switch to something else in the future.

Pilot Bookkeeping: Best for startups

Pilot icon.
Image: Pilot

We’re seeing a rise in freelance, solopreneurship and startup endeavors as of late. That’s where Pilot comes in. Pilot, a service conceived with these smaller scales in mind, helps organizations get professional bookkeeping help even if they’re just getting the business off the ground. It comes with fewer add-on features or upgrades, but for those who just need assistance keeping the numbers accurate, Pilot is an excellent fit.


Pilot’s bookkeeping services come in three different subscription tiers, with monthly pricing based on how much the business manages in monthly expenses:

  • Starter: Starting at $499 per month, billed annually (with $200 “pre-revenue” discount for qualifying organizations).
  • Core: Starting at $699 per month, billed annually.
  • Plus: Contact Pilot for custom pricing.


  • Dedicated service tier for “pre-revenue” organizations so newer startups can minimize overhead while trying to build up cash flow.
  • Subscriptions come with a dedicated finance expert.
  • Burn rate calculations included.
  • Add-on packages include CFO services, tax services and a few others.


  • Low-complexity, hassle-free experience.
  • Pricing structure scales with businesses, minimizing costs for early-stage teams and allowing room for growth.
  • Service includes personalized onboarding, easier communication via their online portal and monthly financial statements (P&L, balance sheets and cash flow statements).


  • No options for customizing reporting and no analytics beyond standard financial statements.
  • Tax prep service is a separate add-on.
  • Minimal industry-specific functionality that costs extra (e.g., inventory tracking).

Merritt Bookkeeping: Most affordable bookkeeping service

Merritt Bookkeeping icon.
Image: Merritt Bookkeeping

Sometimes cost can be a barrier to entry, even for solutions that specifically target clientele with tight budgets. At some point, though, just about anything is better than a sterile spreadsheet and often the most cash-strapped businesses need the most help to resolve that issue.

Merritt Bookkeeping is an answer to this problem. A very straightforward solution, Merritt offers the most critical, core functionality at the lowest overall subscription cost. Because it doesn’t offer add-ons, extra features or other bells and whistles touted by other brands on this list, it can keep the costs at a flat rate — and a much lower one at that.

For teams that need just the bare essentials, Merritt can provide the foundation for a financially savvy, yet affordable, future for organizations with the least wiggle room.


Merritt Bookkeeping costs a tidy $190 per month. There are no tiers, no add-ons, no extra fees and no contracts.


  • Core bookkeeping services only.
  • Offers QuickBooks integration for those that need it.
  • 90-day money-back guarantee.


  • No extraneous features, services or add-ons for a simple platform and pricing structure.
  • More affordable than almost any other outsourcing in the market, with full pricing transparency.
  • Excellent for use cases where all you need is bookkeeping and nothing else.
  • Bookkeeping catch-up available but not included by default.


  • Not built for complex bookkeeping.

1-800Accountant: Best for small-business taxes

1-800Accounting icon.
Image: 1-800Accounting

Intuit may have TurboTax, but in this context at least, that’s an add-on — not the core bookkeeping solution. That’s why 1-800Accountant takes our top spot for outsourced bookkeeping with included tax services.

Intended to automate the majority of both your bookkeeping efforts as well as your tax preparation, 1-800Accountant turns a major hassle into a huge relief. With a dedicated accountant assigned to help you get your records in shape, the service maintains your finances and prepares your taxes simultaneously. At year end, tax prep is virtually effortless because they already have all of the information in hand.

For small businesses that already need to cover both functions, this can make a big difference in overhead costs.


1-800Accountant offers three pricing tiers:

  • Business: $179 per month, billed annually.
  • Corporation: $239 per month, billed annually.
  • Enterprise: $399 per month, billed annually.


  • User-friendly online portal for 24/7 access.
  • Dedicated accountant who focuses on your brand’s situations and concerns.
  • Tax advice whenever you need it, any time of year.
  • Quarterly estimated taxes, audit defense and other tax-specific support.


  • Hassle-free taxes without increasing costs.
  • Automation saves you time, effort and overhead.
  • Lower cost on average with transparent pricing structure.


  • Minimal features.
  • No catch-up bookkeeping.
  • Some users report inconsistent service quality, as well as billing issues.

Ignite Spot Accounting: Best add-on accounting plan

Ignite Spot icon.
Image: Ignite Spot

Finally, we have Ignite Spot. Bookkeeping services are the foundational offering at Ignite Spot, but teams that need it (and have the budget to cover it) can upgrade all the way to CFO-level support from a certified public accountant (CPA).

Ignite Spot is on the pricier end of the brands on this list, but what you get for the price is hard to argue against. Especially for teams that need the support but aren’t ready to hire a full-time accountant internally, Ignite Spot is a solid answer to the bookkeeping dilemma.


Pricing tiers are based on what particular services you’re looking for, with higher tiers escalating financial services (as indicated by the tier names):

  • Bookkeeper: Starting at $417 per month.
  • Accountant: Starting at $625 per month.
  • Controller: Starting at $1,650 per month.
  • CFO: Starting at $2,500 per month.


  • Growth-friendly financial services.
  • Dedicated bookkeepers certified for the platform you use (e.g. QuickBooks, TSheets, etc.)
  • CFO services performed by a CPA.


  • No contract needed with flexible payment options.
  • Varying subscription levels to fit your needs, be it core bookkeeping services or full-on CFO-level input.
  • Services can cover payroll, expenses, invoices, bills, deposits and more.
  • Support specialized in your chosen platform or solution.


  • More expensive than most and costs add up quickly as you increase service levels.
  • Live support hours are pretty limited.

How do I choose the best outsourced bookkeeping for my business?

Ah, the age old question: “Which one is the best?” Well, all qualifications, waffling and granular discussions aside, Bookkeeper360 is our top pick on this list. But — and you knew this was coming — the real answer is, “it depends.”

Yes, we know that’s a bit of a non-answer. So allow us to clarify a bit. The same way a doctor can’t diagnose and prescribe treatment without thoroughly evaluating their patient, we can’t recommend any solution — outsourced bookkeeping, accounting software or anything else — without knowing exactly what your use case is.

And more to the point, you shouldn’t commit to a solution without thoroughly evaluating it personally, either. You never know what kind of deal breakers might only come up once you get a closer look at a given provider, so “due diligence” is the phrase to live by here.

Because in the end, the best solution is the one that works for you and your team.


While writing this article, we researched the vendors and their websites, as well as customer reviews and ratings, to gain a full understanding of where each solution fits into the market landscape — and who they serve most effectively.

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Stay up to date on the latest in technology with Daily Tech Insider. We bring you news on industry-leading companies, products, and people, as well as highlighted articles, downloads, and top resources. You’ll receive primers on hot tech topics that will help you stay ahead of the game. Delivered Weekdays