How to Find the Best Online Bookkeeping Services for Small Businesses: 17 Things to Know
Why should you look into online bookkeeping services for small businesses if you’re a digital nomad, self-employed freelancer, or writer or other creative individual?
Are you a digital nomad whose professional obligations and wanderlust span the globe? A writer in search of their next big adventure? A small business owner with too much on your plate?
Then chances are, bookkeeping isn’t at the top of your to-do list. Who has time for all that paperwork when there are art projects or websites to build or clients to call?
But hold up one second: ignoring your finances can cause more headaches than it solves.
Bookkeeping might not be very glamorous, but here’s the low-down on what it is and why it still matters to the modern creative professional.
What is bookkeeping?
Accounting and bookkeeping is the process that businesses use to keep track of their incoming and outgoing transactions, their assets, revenue, liabilities, expenses, and equity, their taxes and more.
It can be a lot to keep track of.
Growing businesses that want to get ahead will benefit from a bookkeeping solution such as outsourced bookkeeping, online accounting and financial services, or a basic bookkeeping software such as QuickBooks (which often offers other add-on services as well), or other bookkeeping and accounting advisory services such as a dedicated bookkeeping team, or other virtual accounting service suited to your type of business.
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What does a Bookkeeping Service do?
If you are a small business owner, a self-employed freelancer, a digital nomad, a writer, or anyone else, you know that bookkeeping can be a real pain. Keeping track of all of your expenses, income, and invoices can be time-consuming and confusing.
A bookkeeper is the person who will keep track of every cent that comes in and goes out, so you have an accurate idea of exactly what you’re earning and what you’re spending, where you’re spending it, and how you can leverage your money, and a bookkeeper will help you understand how you can optimize your cash flow so that you have more money to invest in your travels, your writing, or your business.
Sound like a lot? It can be. Fortunately, there are plenty of bookkeeping services out there that can take care of all of your bookkeeping needs.
What kinds of online bookkeeping services are there?
Bookkeeping services come in all shapes and sizes. Some offer a full suite of bookkeeping services, while others specialize in specific areas like taxes or payroll.
Here are 7 different kinds of bookkeeping service options:
1. Full-Service Bookkeeping
This is the first of the bookkeeping services on our list because full-service bookkeeping firms offer a wide range of services, from data entry, financial reporting, and invoicing, to financial statement preparation, payroll and tax filing services. This type of firm is ideal for businesses that do not have the time or resources to handle their own bookkeeping, such as small and medium-sized businesses.
The best of these offers accounting and bookkeeping services alike so that, even if you’re behind on your bookkeeping, a part-time bookkeeper will be able to help you with your catch-up bookkeeping and keep your finances in order going forward.
2. Online Bookkeeping
Online bookkeeping services typically provide their services via the internet, which can be a convenient option for digital nomads, international freelancers, or businesses that are located in remote areas or that have limited office space.
The best online bookkeeping services for small businesses typically offer a wide range of services, including data entry, bookkeeping and tax preparation, invoicing, and financial statement preparation. Professional bookkeeping services often work with businesses that use QuickBooks.
3. Part-Time Bookkeeping
Part-time bookkeeping firms typically only offer a few services, such as data entry or invoicing. This type of firm is ideal for small businesses that only need occasional assistance with their bookkeeping. The products and services they offer will help with small business bookkeeping and monthly bookkeeping for individuals, as well.
4. Virtual Bookkeeping
Virtual bookkeeping firms provide their services via the internet and typically only offer a few services, such as data entry, payroll and tax services, or invoicing. The best virtual bookkeeping services offer many levels of quality and flexibility. This type of firm is a good option for businesses that are located in remote areas, or for startups and small businesses that have limited office space.
These online bookkeeping services offer flexible pricing, sometimes with additional services, and may base their rates by the hour, on a retainer, or by completed task.
5. Tax Preparation Services
Tax preparation firms offer a wide range of services, from preparing and filing tax returns to providing advice on tax planning strategies. This type of firm is ideal for businesses that need assistance with their taxes but do not have the time or resources to handle them on their own.
These types of services are available to anyone who needs small business bookkeeping services to keep their taxes in order so they can maximize their deductions and minimize headaches.
6. Payroll Services
Payroll firms offer a wide range of services, from preparing and issuing paychecks to calculating and paying payroll taxes. This type of firm is ideal for businesses that do not have the time or resources to handle their own tax and payroll services, and is good for small businesses that use contractors, seasonal hires, and part-time workers to fill their staff, because those types of employees have different payroll needs.
7. Financial Planning Services
Financial planning firms offer a wide range of services, from creating budget and investment plans to providing advice on retirement planning strategies. This type of firm is ideal for businesses that need assistance with their finances but do not have the time or resources to handle them on their own. This is good for small businesses that need to plot out their business’s roadmap to financial stability and success.
“But wait!” you protest. “I’m not a business, and I don’t have a whole bunch of employees to keep track of. Why do you think I would need a bookkeeper?”
Keep reading to find out!
Who can benefit from virtual bookkeeping services?
Even if you aren’t a big business- even if you’re an individual- it’s important to know where your money is going and how it’s working for you.
Here are 3 examples of people who might want to outsource their bookkeeping:
1. Digital Nomads
If you’re a digital nomad, you know that bookkeeping can be a bit more complicated. Since you are constantly on the move, it can be difficult to keep track of your finances, not to mention international tax filing and all that that entails. However, there are plenty of bookkeeping services out there that can help you stay on top of your finances and make sure that your books are in order.
The cost of bookkeeping services can sometimes seem prohibitive, but there are free online bookkeeping services you can take advantage of. No matter how much you decide to spend, you’ll want to find an online bookkeeping and accounting service that can handle your bookkeeping tasks with a mind to your specific international needs.
2. Small Businesses and Self-Employed Freelancers
If you own a small business, are self-employed, or do freelance work, you know that bookkeeping is essential. Keeping track of your finances can help you make sure that your business is running smoothly and that you are making a profit. There are plenty of bookkeeping services out there that can help you keep track of your finances and make sure that you aren’t missing anything important.
The team that is best for your business will be the one that offers a wide range of bookkeeping, tax and payroll, and accounting services for small businesses in particular. Online bookkeeping services offer many different options to suit your business needs.
3. Writers and Other Creatives
If you are a writer, artist, or in another creative profession, you know that tracking your income and expenses can be difficult. Fortunately, there are bookkeeping services out there that can help you keep track of your finances so that you can focus on the writing.
You’re looking for bookkeeping agencies that offer services online for businesses on a budget, because they often will offer bookkeeping support at a lower cost. This would be best for you if you’re just starting out or don’t have a huge bookkeeping budget.
No matter what kind of business or profession you are in, bookkeeping is an essential part of running a successful operation.
The Benefits of Hiring a Professional Bookkeeping Firm
If you’re a small business owner, you know that bookkeeping is an essential part of running your business. But what you may not realize is that hiring a bookkeeping service can actually save you time and money.
Here are 7 benefits of outsourcing your bookkeeping:
1. Keep track of your finances
One of the most important things you can do for your small business is to keep track of your finances. A bookkeeping service can help you stay organized and on top of your financial situation. This will allow you to make informed decisions about where to allocate your resources and how to grow your business.
2. Reduce your tax burden
Another benefit of using a bookkeeping service is that it can help you reduce your tax burden. A good bookkeeper will be able to identify deductions and credits that you may be eligible for, which can save you a significant amount of money come tax time.
3. Make informed decisions
As a small business owner, it’s important to have accurate financial information in order to make informed decisions about your business. A bookkeeping service can provide you with the data you need to make sound decisions about pricing, marketing, and other aspects of running your business.
4. You’ll Save Time…
Time is the one thing you can never get back, and they say that time is money. One of the most obvious benefits of hiring a bookkeeping service is that it will save you time. Keeping track of your finances can be a full-time job, and if you’re trying to do it yourself, it’s likely that other aspects of your business are suffering.
By hiring a bookkeeping service, you can free up your time to focus on other important tasks.
5. …And You’ll Save Money
Another benefit of hiring a bookkeeping service is that it can actually save you money. While you may think that you’re saving money by doing your own bookkeeping, the truth is that mistakes can be costly. If you make a mistake in your bookkeeping, it could end up costing you money in the long run. However, when you hire a bookkeeping service, you can rest assured knowing that your finances are in good hands.
6. Get Professional Advice
When you hire a bookkeeping service, you’ll also have access to professional advice. If you have questions about your finances or need help making decisions about your business, a bookkeeper can offer invaluable guidance. Additionally, if you ever find yourself in financial trouble, a bookkeeper can help you get back on track.
7. Peace of Mind
Perhaps one of the most important benefits of hiring a bookkeeping service is that it will give you peace of mind. When you outsource your bookkeeping, you won’t have to worry about keeping track of your finances yourself. Instead, you can focus on running your business and leave the financial worries to someone else!
So, have I convinced you, yet? 😉
If you’re convinced that hiring a bookkeeper would be a good move on your part, then how do you know you’re hiring the right person or agency? The best way to ensure you’re getting the right bookkeeping service is to do your research and find a company that has experience in working with small businesses. Ask for references, look at their portfolio and make sure you get a good vibe from them before making your decision.
How to Find a Good Online Accounting and Bookkeeping Service for Small Businesses:
Now that you’re convinced…
Here are 5 things you should do before you hire your bookkeeper:
1. Make sure they’re certified.
When you’re looking for a bookkeeping service, the first thing you should do is make sure they’re certified. This will ensure that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to accurately keep your books. You can check to see if a bookkeeping service is certified by contacting their local Better Business Bureau or by searching online for customer reviews.
2. Get a free consultation.
Another way to vet a bookkeeping service is to get a free consultation.
If a bookkeeper is just starting out, they may not have been able to earn the necessary experience to become a Certified Bookkeeper (CB) or Certified Public Bookkeeper (CPB), but this does not mean they don’t know what they’re doing.
If you get a free consultation, this will allow you to get an idea of their rates, services, and policies. It’s also a good opportunity to ask any questions you may have about their business. Be sure to take advantage of any free consultations that are on offer!
3. Check their references.
When you’re vetting a bookkeeping service, be sure to check their references. This will give you an idea of their level of experience and customer satisfaction. You can ask the bookkeeping service for references from past clients or search online for customer reviews.
4. Check out their website
Another good way to get a feel for a bookkeeping service is to check out their website. A professional, well-run bookkeeping service will have a polished website that is easy to navigate and provides clear information about their services. If a bookkeeping service’s website is poorly designed or hard to navigate, that could be an indication that they’re not very professional.
5. Compare costs
Finally, you’ll want to compare the costs of different bookkeeping services before you make a decision. Be sure to consider both the monthly fee and the cost of any additional features or services that you may need.
And if you’re hiring a freelancer or self-employed bookkeeper, don’t be surprised if you find out that they charge upwards of $60 per hour! Approximately 40% of that will go to taxes, and any bookkeeper worth their salt will also carry their own professional liability insurance.
Once you’ve found a service that fits your budget, you’ll be ready to start keeping your books in order.
So, is outsourcing your bookkeeping the best for your business and you?
As you can see, there are many reasons why you might benefit from hiring a bookkeeping service. From reducing your tax burden to making informed decisions about your finances, a bookkeeper can save you time and money.
If you’re interested in finding a good bookkeeping service, make sure they’re certified, get a free consultation, check their references, check out their website, and compare costs to make sure they’re a good fit for your business needs.
Email me for a free consultation if you’re thinking of outsourcing your bookkeeping!