Best Online Bookkeeping Services for Small Businesses in 2022

Look for an online bookkeeping service that integrates with your accounting software and doesn’t break your business’s budget.

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Bookkeeping is the process of accurately recording a business’s financial activity. It can be time-consuming to reconcile bank statements with invoices and receipts, create financial reports and do everything else bookkeeping entails. Outsourcing these tasks to online bookkeeping services can help take some of the pressure off of small-business owners.

Generally, online bookkeeping services are staffed by real people who will reconcile your books each month, generate financial reports like balance sheets and cash flow statements, and make sure your documents are in order at tax time.

Here are NerdWallet’s picks for the top online bookkeeping services for small businesses.

Bookkeeping service

Best for

Pricing

Bookkeeper360

Best overall.

$349 per month and up.

Bench Accounting

Best for new businesses.

$249 per month (when billed annually) and up.

QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping

Best for QuickBooks users.

$200 per month and up, plus $500 for first month of onboarding.

Merritt Bookkeeping

Best for businesses on a budget.

$190 per month.

Best for fast-growing startups.

$599 per month (when billed annually) and up.

Bookkeeper360: Best overall

Price: Monthly reporting starts at $349 per month, and weekly reporting starts at $499 per month. Prices increase for larger businesses or those using accrual basis accounting.

Pros 

  • Integrates with QuickBooks and Xero.

  • Offers weekly reporting.

  • Pay-as-you-go pricing option available.

Cons

  • More expensive than some competitors.

Why we like it: Bookkeeper360 offers full-service bookkeeping support with a dedicated accountant for each small business. For businesses with more intensive bookkeeping needs, Bookkeeper360 is able to offer weekly financial reports and accrual basis accounting. Add-on services include payroll and human resources support, chief financial officer advisory services, tax filing, invoicing and more.

Bench Accounting: Best for new businesses

Bench: America's Largest Bookkeeping Service for Small Businesses.

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Price: $249 per month (when billed annually) and up.

Pros 

  • Unlimited in-app messaging and phone calls with your bookkeeper.

  • Offers a one-month free trial.

Cons

  • No integration with QuickBooks, Xero or other accounting software. Business owners have to use Bench’s proprietary software, which could make it hard to move to another provider in the future.

Why we like it: Bench offers bookkeeping support at a lower price than many competitors. Because it doesn’t integrate with other accounting software, the service is best suited to businesses that are fairly new and those who prefer to completely hand over their bookkeeping to someone else. It also offers a plan with unlimited income tax support and annual tax filing services for $399 per month when billed annually.

QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping: Best for QuickBooks users

Price: $500 for the first month of onboarding, then $200 to $400 per month depending on average monthly expenses. Note that you will also need a subscription to QuickBooks Online.

QuickBooks Live

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on QuickBooks' website

Pros 

  • Fully integrated with QuickBooks Online.

  • Onboarding month includes catch-up bookkeeping from your last business tax return to the present.

  • If you think your bookkeeper has made an error, you can request that another bookkeeper looks over your books. QuickBooks will reopen books and correct errors for free.

Cons

  • No tax filing, even as an add-on service.

Why we like it: Like other QuickBooks services, QuickBooks Live integrates with the product suite, pulling in whatever information users have already shared with QuickBooks Online. Users can schedule video calls with their bookkeepers as needed. Bookkeepers can provide monthly financial reports, though they can’t help with tax planning, sending invoices or managing payroll.

Merritt Bookkeeping: Best for businesses on a budget

Price: $190 per month. Catch-up bookkeeping costs $70 or $140 per month, depending on how complete your books are.

Pros 

  • Flat rate of $190 per month is more affordable than other bookkeeping services.

  • Integrates with QuickBooks.

  • Will communicate with a user’s certified public accountant as tax season approaches.

Cons

  • No add-on services.

Why we like it: Merritt Bookkeeping is a straightforward, budget-friendly bookkeeping option that runs on QuickBooks. Its team of bookkeepers categorizes bank transactions each month and produces financial reports, looping in CPAs as needed. Merritt will also issue 1099s. However, it does not offer payroll or HR support, financial forecasting, tax planning or the other add-on features that more robust bookkeeping services offer.

Pilot: Best for fast-growing startups

Price: $599 per month (when billed annually) and up. Prices increase when you reach $30,000 or more in monthly expenses.

Pros 

  • Designed for startups with high growth potential.

  • Accrual basis accounting.

  • Integrates with QuickBooks, Expensify, Gusto and more.

Cons

  • More expensive than some competitors.

Why we like it: Pilot aims to serve startups with niche services, like help claiming the research and development tax credit. It offers discounts for pre-revenue companies and add-on support and tax services for CFOs. It also calculates burn rate, a metric important for venture capitalist-backed companies.

How to choose a bookkeeping service

There are two different accounting methods: cash basis and accrual basis. Cash basis accounting focuses on the movement of cash, so expenses are recorded when payments are made and revenues are recorded when payments are received.

Accrual accounting, on the other hand, recognizes revenue as soon as it's been earned and expenses as soon as they are owed. For example, you record invoices when they're sent out, regardless of when you receive payment. Bills get recorded when they're received, often before cash payments are made. If you have a lot of cash on hand but a lot of bills that need to be paid, accrual accounting will reflect both.

Cash basis accounting is much simpler, which is why many bookkeeping services offer it at a lower price. But accrual accounting can give you a better understanding of where your business stands. Make sure to choose a service that does the right type of accounting for the size and complexity of your business.

Lots of bookkeeping services are built to run on QuickBooks, an industry leader in accounting and bookkeeping software. Some services also support Xero, another cloud-based accounting software. If you’re comfortable with your current software, make sure your bookkeeping service supports it.

If you haven’t always been diligent about your financial record-keeping, most bookkeeping services will go through your old receipts, invoices and bank statements to bring your books up to date. This service usually carries a monthly fee, so it’s important to price out your catch-up bookkeeping costs while searching for a bookkeeping service.

Online bookkeeping services typically offer a dedicated bookkeeper or accounting team, available by email or occasionally by phone. You may have to pay more for regular one-on-one meetings. If you want a higher level of support in the future, such as CFO-style services, consider choosing a bookkeeping service that will allow you to upgrade later.

When comparing services, make sure you’re pricing out all of the features you need, including add-on services like tax prep, payroll and HR. If you’re considering a bookkeeping service that runs on QuickBooks or Xero, include the cost of that software too. Take advantage of product demos and introductory calls to find the right service for you.