How to find and use a good bookkeeping service?


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For 2010, I think it's finally time to get a bookkeeper. We're doing it in-house now, which means that it's always behind schedule and not as accurate as I'd like. In an ideal world, we'd like to...

  • continue printing all checks here (either we or bookkeeper could enter checks to be printed)
  • receive checks here and deposit it to the bank (we'd scan the checks and deposit slip, sending to the bookkeper)
  • have employees submit expense reports (scanned, via email) and have the bookkeeper enter in checks
  • scan and send financial statements to bookkeeper for reconciliations
  • run our own financial reports

Is this a typical use for bookkeeping?

Are there large companies that provide this service, or is it best to find a local freelancer?

What cost would you expect to pay for this service?

Are there any security concerns?

We use desktop-based accounding software, but can provide bookkeeper a logmein account to the virtual machine that hosts the software; sound like a good strategy?

** UPDATE: ** Google provides plenty of options, including Books2Taxes, which appears to outsource to India. Has anyone used these services?

Accounting Bookkeeping

asked Dec 11 '09 at 03:40
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Alex Papadimoulis
5,901 points

5 Answers


2

What you described is what we do at my company (< 15 people). It works pretty well. Our bookkeeper comes to our place every 2 weeks to do the book. We also use TriNet to do payroll. If you are a small firm, you can also look into PayCycle (now Intuit) for payroll.

We use an independent guy who is fantastic but AccountTemps could also help you out. Since all the checks are printed at our place, we don't have many security concerns. We also trust the guy and setup some minor auditing to ensure things work out well.

To summarize, we have the following process for outsourced accounting/bookkeeping:

  • TriNet for Payroll, Insurance, etc. (I have also heard PayCycle is good)
  • A bookkeeper that comes in every 2 weeks. He is an independent
  • We print our checks on-site
  • The bookkeeper puts all of the transactions into Quickbooks, which is on a VM, that is login controlled.
  • We do some minor auditing but basically trust the guy
  • AccountTemps is a big firm that could potentially help you out
  • We roughly pay between $300-$1,000 per month, depending on the amount of time he spends. Sometimes we do some detailed audits just to make sure everything looks good.
answered Dec 11 '09 at 04:56
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Jarie Bolander
11,411 points
  • +1, thanks for the specifics! – Jason 8 years ago
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Bookkeeping is something no company should ignore. As a matter of fact, it's an area that can't be ignored for too long without major financial repercussions. To get a sense of why this is so, we need to look at what it means to keep the books and how this works and the impact this has on the operations of a company. This is not self promotion by any means it is just good information and should be taken seriously for financial well being and healthy cash flow. Seeing how your business is performing through the eyes of a professional qualified bookkeeper and record keeping system can make all the difference between success and failure Success and achievement in life comes down to the choices you make, choosing the right people, tools and equipment in order to reach your goals. Having the correct and up to date information is essential for you to make decisions confidently to manage your business activities.

answered Oct 17 '12 at 08:30
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Susanne Bruen
21 points

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Whoever is your tax accountant might offer this service.

If not, there are tons of "admin" services who will charge around $30/hour for this kind of work.

To answer some of your "ideal world" things specifically (cause I've had to do those things too):

  • I wouldn't be concerned with writing checks in-house. My online bank interface let me mail physical checks anywhere for free; that took less time and was completely accurate. Of course you track this in your main accounting software too, but I wouldn't worry about having the physical checks done "in house."
  • Receiving checks locally is smart; it's confusing if your company has multiple physical mailing addresses and people will confuse the addresses anyway.
  • Easiest way to do expense reports is to have them submit via Google Spreadsheets (or similar tool) so that you can control the formatting and everyone can access them without retyping.
  • It's common to use Quickbooks multi-user and allow VPN or on-site access. We did this at Smart Bear and it worked well enough.
  • In general it's nicer to have the bookkeeper on-site rather than remote because they can easily ask questions, there's no technical problems with networks or logins, etc.. But there are quality remote services so it's not a deal-breaker.

Extra tip: When the bookeeper knows for sure what category to put things in, great, but we had problems where they would put stuff into the wrong category as a guess. Create a cateogry called "unknown" or something and let them stash things in there. You can go through that periodically (monthly?) and fix. Some things will be too trivial or one-off to bother training or fixing, but if there are patterns you can take the time to explain.

answered Dec 11 '09 at 07:09
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Jason
16,241 points
  • Do you still do the QuickBooks multiuser and VPN access? How well does this work? – Jrg 5 years ago
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As I know books2taxes.com management is based in US, but all work is done in India. Not sure if this is very good option.
Seems better to hire local bookkeeper (if necessary you can meet and discuss problems).
Suppose that books2taxes.com may be useful to do one time job....

answered Sep 11 '12 at 20:00
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Andris
11 points

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10Sheet is an interesting new service that supports bank account integration and receipt photo uploads, which is pretty close to the scanning feature the OP asked about. I believe financial reports are part of the package as well. They have a free trial, fyi. The subscription seems significantly less expensive than hiring a bookkeeper, though I would only try it out at first to make sure it does the job.

answered Oct 17 '12 at 09:08
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Henry The Hengineer
4,316 points

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