Outsourced Bookkeeping: How to Find the Right Bookkeeper for Your Business

Written by Emily McIver    |    Published: April 1, 2024

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outsourced bookkeeping guide

Outsourced bookkeeping can help you save time, leverage industry-specific financial expertise, and stay focused on your business’s core activities. But if you’re new to outsourced bookkeeping services, it can be hard to know where to start.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the benefits and best practices for selecting the right outsourced bookkeeping service. Essentially, everything you need to hire the right bookkeeper for your business.

Key Takeaways

  • Outsourced bookkeeping allows businesses to save on operating costs, access specialized knowledge, and focus on core activities by delegating financial management tasks to third-party experts.

  • The costs of outsourced bookkeeping services range from $500 to $5,000 per month, which can be significantly more affordable than hiring in-house teams, especially when considering the additional costs such as benefits and overhead.

  • When selecting an outsourced bookkeeping firm, it’s important to consider industry experience, service offerings, reputation, and technology integration to ensure they align with your business’s needs and strategic goals.

What Is Outsourced Bookkeeping?

Outsourced bookkeeping is a way to take financial management tasks off your plate, leaving you with more time to focus on growing your business. Essentially, you give your books and financial documents over to a third-party bookkeeping service, accounting service, or tax professional. 

This offers business owners several benefits. For example, with an outsourced bookkeeper, you can:

  • Take the the burden of bookkeeping off your shoulders

  • Rely on year-round assistance from specialists with deep knowledge in their field

  • Get a budget-friendly solution that doesn’t compromise on quality

What Do Outsourced Bookkeeping Services Do?

Outsourced accounting firms and bookkeeping firms offer a range of services to get your business finances in good shape, including:

  • Managing general ledgers

  • Setting up chart of accounts

  • Financial reporting

  • Handling accounts payable and receivable

  • Ensuring accurate financial statements

  • Processing payroll

  • Tax services

  • Conducting audits and providing attestation services

  • Outsourced accounting services

Think of them as your off-site bookkeeping team, minus the overhead expenses and administrative burdens that come with hiring in-house employees.

These outsourced bookkeeping services act as your behind-the-scenes number crunchers—helping you cut costs, simplify paperwork, and leverage technology to streamline operations. So, while they’re balancing the books, you’re free to make informed decisions that drive your business forward.

Outsourcing bookkeeping is a smart strategy to improve your financial reporting capabilities without investing in more staff. Compare outsourced bookkeeping costs to the price of hiring, training, and maintaining an in-house accounting team and it becomes a no brainer.

The Strategic Benefits of Outsourcing Your Bookkeeping

When you hand over financial tasks to specialized service providers, you get two big perks: cost-effective expertise and a sharper focus on your main business objectives. This strategic shift can speed up business growth and allow more flexibility when the market throws curveballs.

1. More Cost Effective Than In-House Bookkeepers

One of the most compelling reasons to consider outsourced bookkeeping is its cost efficiency. For small businesses, outsourced bookkeeping services are typically more affordable than the average hourly rate of a full-time bookkeeper.

But the perks extend beyond short term cost-cutting. Outsourcing bookkeeping can pave the way for lasting savings by:

  • Eliminating full-time employee expenses like salaries and benefits

  • Cutting overhead costs by letting you pay only for the services you need

  • Providing better scalability and flexibility for your business

With outsourced bookkeepers, you’re having your cake and eating it too—you reap the benefits of professional, dependable bookkeeping services without the hefty price tag.

2. Gives You Access to Financial Expertise

Another plus of outsourcing your bookkeeping? Provided you hire the right outsourced bookkeeping services firm the job, you get to tap into a team of skilled professionals with specialized bookkeeping and accounting expertise. Look for professionals or teams with financial qualifications (e.g. an associate or bachelor’s degree in accounting or a related field certifications like QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor).

But it’s not just about the certifications. Professional bookkeepers bring real value to the table in financial management. They’re essential for:

  • Keeping accurate financial records

  • Organizing finances and transactions

  • Reconciling bank and credit card statements

  • Managing accounts payable

  • Overseeing spend management

  • Setting up accounting software and chart of accounts

  • Creating achievable financial goals

  • Providing reliable support for informed financial decisions

  • Ensuring compliance with financial regulations through meticulous transaction recording and verification processes

  • Assisting with timely tax payments and filings

  • Preparing financial statements and other necessary documentation for tax filing

Basically, you’re not just outsourcing tasks—you’re accessing a wealth of knowledge and experience.

3. Lets You Focus On Core Business Growth

Outsourcing your bookkeeping is more than a time-saver, it’s a game-changer. When experienced bookkeepers handle your financial tasks, they give you back valuable hours in your day to focus on core growth areas of your business. With bookkeeping taken care of, you can dedicate more time and energy to strategic business functions like sales, marketing, and product development—tasks that drive your business forward.

As you expand, outsourced bookkeeping grows right alongside you, providing the resources you need to scale up your business smoothly.

Which businesses should outsource their bookkeeping?

Like any strategic decision, it’s worth considering if outsourcing bookkeeping aligns with your business’s needs. So which types of businesses gain the most from outsourcing their bookkeeping? 

While all businesses can reap the rewards of outsourced bookkeeping services, it’s particularly suited to:

  • SaaS companies looking to streamline their financial operations and focus on innovation.

  • Nonprofits that need budget-conscious solutions to make a community impact.

  • Agencies seeking to optimize their financial processes and enhance client service.

  • Small businesses working to grow while efficiently managing their finances.

  • Startups aiming for rapid growth and trying to allocate resources wisely.

For startups in particular, outsourced bookkeeping offers a lifeline. 

It allows them to optimize their time and resources, concentrate on essential business functions, and tap into the expertise of seasoned bookkeepers.

The result? Accurate financial reporting, cost efficiencies compared to hiring in-house staff, and smoother financial workflows.

Is Outsourced Bookkeeping Right for Your Business?

Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, delving into the advantages of outsourced bookkeeping is a savvy investment in your business’s success.

If you’re a business owner who struggles to keep your books updated, grapples with financial data, or regularly misses key tax deadlines, outsourcing can be a wise move. Even if you do know your way around a chart of accounts, bookkeeping and accounting are ongoing and often tedious back office tasks that take you away from activities that help your business grow.

Which Bookkeeping Tasks and Functions Should You Outsource?

While the general benefits of outsourcing bookkeeping are clear, deciding which specific tasks to outsource is the key to unlocking maximum efficiency.

Details will vary based on your business and your internal capacity. Picking areas that are either repetitive and time consuming, or challenging and complicated will help you get the most value.

Commonly outsourced tasks include:

  • Recording daily financial transactions

  • Completing the posting process

  • Updating general ledgers

  • Preparing trial balances

  • Spend Management (monitoring company spending, processing expense reimbursements, etc.

  • Accounts Payable (sending/paying invoices, managing bills, etc.)

  • Payroll Management

These bookkeeping tasks are great targets for outsourcing because they require close attention to detail and can be time consuming.

Outsourcing these specific bookkeeping tasks improves business efficiency, streamlines operations, and frees your team up to grow your business.

How to Choose the Right Outsourced Bookkeeping Service for Your Business

Before working with an outsourced bookkeeping service, take some time to check that the company—and the services it provides—fully aligns with your business’s needs.

When making the decision, consider factors like:

  • Industry experience: If the outsourced team is working with other businesses in your niche, they’ll know exactly what businesses like yours need from the start.

  • Service offerings: Do your research. Can the provider deliver on all of the bookkeeping services you require?

  • Requirements specific to your industry: Can the outsourced bookkeeping service handle all of the bookkeeping needs related to your industry? Certain industries, such as retail, manufacturing, and hospitality, may benefit from outsourcing by enhancing cost control, inventory tracking, and forecasting.

  • Reputation: Do your peers (and even competitors) have good things to say about this company? Are the online reviews positive, or are customers sharing complaints that could be red flags for your business?

  • Technology integrations: Do they use accounting software, apps, and cloud-based services that your business needs?

  • Scalability: Does the outsourced bookkeeping service have the capacity to scale if your business’s bookkeeping needs grow in the future?

  • Add-on services: can the bookkeeping service take care of other back-office tasks for your business? For instance, payroll or spend management. There’s advantages to having all of these services taken care of by the same team.

  • Delivery deadlines: make sure the outsourced bookkeeping service can deliver your financial statements on time each month.

  • Response times: How will they communicate with you? Are they available on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? Every provider will have a different way of going about this—just make sure the company you work with communicates in a timely manner that works well for your needs.

Remember, the decision to outsource your bookkeeping should be strategic and align with your business goals.

The Cost Structure of Outsourced Bookkeeping Services

For small businesses, outsourced bookkeeping services typically charge between $500 to $5,000 per month. Compare that to the average hourly rate and annual salary of a full-time bookkeeper, and it becomes clear that outsourcing can reduce your costs.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the pricing of outsourced bookkeeping services is rarely fixed. The price that you’ll be quoted by an outsourced bookkeeping service will be determined by the specifics of your business, including your:

  • Volume or number of financial transactions

  • Revenue

  • Headcount

  • Industry

  • Staffing method

  • Team makeup

  • The overall scope of services required

By taking these factors into account, you can make sure you’re getting the best value for your investment.

Common Misconceptions About Outsourced Bookkeeping

Two of the most common misconceptions about outsourcing their bookkeeping are:

  • Security concerns: Many businesses worry that outsourcing bookkeeping might compromise their security. The misconception here is the belief that storing financial data on external servers is less secure than keeping it in house. In reality, services that specialize in outsourced bookkeeping often have more robust security than traditional, on-premises bookkeeping systems.

  • Loss of control: Some business owners fear that relying on an external service provider will limit their ability to access or control their financial information in real-time. Good bookkeeping services offer business owners continuous access to their financial data through a user-friendly platform. These services enable real-time reporting and analytics, giving businesses more, not less, control into their financial health than traditional bookkeeping.

Your Outsourced Bookkeeping Checklist

So you’ve decided to outsource your bookkeeping. What’s next? Follow this checklist to ensure you’re setting your business up for a smooth transition:

  1. Conduct thorough research into providers.

  2. Select the right service provider for your business needs. 

  3. Gather necessary information about your business: bank and loan statements, sales and payroll tax documents, income tax returns, financial records.

  4. Establish communication channels and discuss expectations.

  5. Make the switch!

Finding, hiring, and onboarding your company to an outsourced bookkeeping service can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months.

Having all your documents in order will ensure a smooth transition and effective management of your outsourced bookkeeping services.

How Hiline’s Bookkeeping Experts Can Help

If your company needs better bookkeeping and accounting support, consider Hiline. With Hiline, you get a dedicated bookkeeping team that understands your business—helping you save time, stay compliant, and maintain accurate financials as your business scales.

Talk to us today and see how Hiline can maintain your books, give you a stress-free tax season, and deliver the strategic financial guidance you need to make your business grow.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does an outsourced bookkeeper do?

An outsourced bookkeeper manages day-to-day bookkeeping tasks, provides routine financial reports, and tracks business operations to compile essential financial statements and reports.

How much does it cost to outsource a bookkeeper?

Outsourcing a bookkeeper can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per month, depending on the size and complexity of your business’s needs. It can be more economical than hiring an in-house bookkeeper. A fractional or outsourced bookkeeper typically charges $50-$70 per hour, making it a cost-effective option for small businesses.

Should you outsource your bookkeeping?

Outsourcing your bookkeeping can help lower overhead costs by replacing a full-time staff position with a retainer or monthly fee. This can bring financial benefits without sacrificing the role entirely.

Is it cheaper to outsource accounting?

Yes, outsourcing accounting can offer substantial cost savings compared to in-house solutions, even when evaluating similarly skilled providers. This is especially true for US-based companies looking to outsource, whether at home or overseas.

What tasks do outsourced bookkeeping services typically cover?

Outsourced bookkeeping services typically cover general ledger management, financial reports, accounts payable and receivable, payroll processing, audit & attestation services, tax services, and outsourced accounting services, providing comprehensive support for businesses.

author avatar
Emily McIver

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