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QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping is real-time, live bookkeeping support from a QuickBooks-certified bookkeeper (also known as a QuickBooks ProAdvisor). Offered exclusively for users of QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping can be a major help for business owners who don’t have the time to keep their own books and who want hands-on, human support without hiring an in-house bookkeeper.
Although QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping offers “full-service” bookkeeping, some tasks often fall to in-house or outsourced bookkeepers that aren’t included in the service. And keep in mind this service won’t make tax filings on your behalf, so you'll have to handle that separately.
$200 – $400/month, depending on average monthly expenses.
Maximum number of users
Dependent upon your QuickBooks Online subscription level.
Ease of sharing with accountants
You can easily invite your accountant to view your QuickBooks Online file.
Yes, provided your needs remain simple.
Ease of use
How does QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping work?
QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping is available to both new and established businesses. New businesses (those that have subscribed to QuickBooks Online within the past 60 days) will have a one-time session with a Live Bookkeeper to set up their books. This setup includes instructions on setting up the chart of accounts, customized invoices, and connecting bank accounts and credit cards.
Established businesses will start their engagement with QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping’s cleanup services. Even if you think your bookkeeping is in good shape, a Live Bookkeeper will review and update your bookkeeping, reconcile your bank and credit card accounts, and reconcile your other balance sheet accounts from the date of your last tax return (or your business’s incorporation date, if that is most recent) through the end of the last month before you signed up for Live Bookkeeping. This step ensures your books are accurate and up to date when your ongoing monthly bookkeeping service commences.
When you sign up for QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, you are connected with a QuickBooks ProAdvisor, which is a bookkeeper certified by QuickBooks. You can contact your bookkeeper anytime to schedule a live video chat or to discuss questions or concerns about your bookkeeping. Ongoing communication is available at any time via document sharing and live chat, either with your bookkeeper or a member of your bookkeeper’s team.
Throughout your engagement with QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, your bookkeeper will manage your books for you and provide you with month-end reports. They will also help you with ongoing, basic bookkeeping and QuickBooks questions, like how to use QuickBooks’ reporting features, assistance with bank connections, and setting up customers and vendors. Your QuickBooks Live Bookkeeper will not send invoices, pay bills, manage your inventory, or provide tax or financial advisory services. If you need payroll, that is available at an additional cost.
How much does QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping cost?
QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping can be more cost-effective than hiring an in-house bookkeeper or outsourcing your bookkeeping to an accounting or bookkeeping firm. There are no long-term contracts, so you can switch or cancel your service at any time without incurring fees. And, QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping comes with an “Accurate Books Guarantee” to cover any errors made by your Live Bookkeeper (some exceptions apply).
Pricing is based on the average of your monthly expenses over a three-month period.
Average expenses (per month)
QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping price (per month)
$50,000 and up
Setup (new businesses)
Cleanup (established businesses)
QuickBooks Online subscription
$25 – $180 per month, depending on the subscription.
Benefits of QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping
There are numerous benefits to using QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, which make it a good deal for many small businesses:
Tax-ready books. One of QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping’s primary selling points is that they will provide you with tax-ready books. This does not mean they will do your taxes for you, but it does mean that your books will be ready to hand off to an accountant or tax preparer with little effort required on your part.
Accurate books guarantee. If your Live Bookkeeper miscategorizes a transaction or makes another error in your bookkeeping, QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping will fix it at no additional charge.
A real, live bookkeeper you can communicate with. Even with all the talk of “bots” and “AI,” most bookkeeping services still rely on human bookkeepers to do at least part of the bookkeeping work. What sets QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping apart is that they will match you with a bookkeeper with experience in your industry who you can actually meet on a video call.
Scalable pricing. QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping grows with your business, and it typically costs less than an in-house bookkeeper or an outsourced bookkeeping provider.
Drawbacks of QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping
QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping is a good choice for small and simple businesses, but there are several things it is lacking:
They won’t invoice your customers or pay bills for you. If you have accounts receivable (you invoice customers for payment later) or accounts payable (you enter bills to be paid later), QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping won’t handle this for you. You — or someone on your team — will need to manage these tasks internally.
They don’t offer advisory services. Your financial information is useful for much more than filing a tax return. Most business owners benefit from having an advisor review their financial statements with them and make recommendations for improvements to the business, but QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping doesn’t offer this service.
Your Live Bookkeeper might not have accounting knowledge. Even though QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping ensures their bookkeepers are QuickBooks certified, that doesn’t mean they have accounting knowledge. There’s a big difference between knowing how to use QuickBooks and understanding accounting, and a bookkeeper who is well-versed in both will be an asset to your business.
Alternatives to QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping
If the cost of QuickBooks Live is an issue for you, you might consider Wave Accounting software with the Wave Advisor service add-on as a more cost-effective alternative. Wave Accounting is one of the very few business accounting software providers on the market that’s completely free.
With Wave's Advisor service, which is similar to QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, you can choose from three paid plans: Bookkeeping Support, Tax Service, and Accounting and Payroll Coaching. Bookkeeping Support starts at $149 per month if you pre-pay for an annual plan. Tax Service starts at $899 per year, and Accounting and Payroll Coaching is a one-time fee of $329, with additional purchase options available.
Bench is similar to QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping in many ways. You are partnered with a dedicated bookkeeping team you can communicate with regularly, they do all your bookkeeping for you, and you are presented with tax-ready financial statements.
Unlike QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, Bench also offers historical bookkeeping services beyond the last filed tax return as well as tax filing and advisory services. And if you need accounts receivable or accounts payable, Bench offers specialized bookkeeping for an additional fee.
At $299 per month Bench’s base bookkeeping costs a little more than QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, but that amount includes the bookkeeping software (with QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping, you must pay for your QuickBooks Online subscription separately.) And that leads us to one of the biggest downsides of Bench: Bench uses proprietary software that only its bookkeepers and customers can access. If you choose to cancel your subscription, you can continue to log in to view your data, or you can export it to Excel, but you cannot continue to use Bench’s software for your bookkeeping.