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How Much Does a Bookkeeper Cost for a Small Business?

October 30th, 2023 | 7 min. read

By Bryan Cremeen

When you own a small business, you typically start off either handling your own bookkeeping or assigning some bookkeeping tasks to an administrative employee. However, as you grow, you may want to consider having someone else solely handle your bookkeeping. 

With you focusing on running and growing your business and your administrative employee focusing on administrative tasks, this means you might either hire an in-house bookkeeper or outsource a bookkeeping service.

At CSI Accounting & Payroll, we’ve worked with small businesses for over 50 years. We know that finding the right solution for your business is critical, and if you get it wrong, you’ll be back on the market for a new solution soon enough! 

Small business owners who want to start working with a professional bookkeeper often want to know:

  • How much does hiring an in-house bookkeeper cost?
  • How much does a bookkeeping service cost?
  • How much does a monthly accounting service cost, and what is the difference?

Bookkeeping Cost for Small Business Thumbnail - Copy-min

Hiring an In-House, Full-Time Bookkeeper

When you hire a bookkeeper who works exclusively for your small business, you get a dedicated employee who knows your business inside and out. 

That’s pretty appealing to business owners, but is it a reasonably affordable solution for your business? Consider the following cost factors of hiring and retaining a bookkeeper as your employee:

  • Salary or hourly pay
  • Benefits
  • Taxes
  • Recruitment and onboarding costs
  • Training costs
  • Their portion of office space, equipment, and utilities
  • Legal and miscellaneous costs

Taking all of these direct and indirect factors into consideration, the total cost for employing a full-time bookkeeper is approximately $50,000-$70,000 per year as of 2023. This is highly dependent on experience and how much work they do for your business, as well.

Translating that to a monthly cost, the range is approximately $4,166.67-$5,833.33 each month to employ a full-time bookkeeper in your business.

If this solution isn’t a reasonable cost to your business, have you considered other solutions? Outsourcing is a great way to save money.

Outsourcing With a Bookkeeping Service

When you work with a bookkeeping service, you’re not held to the same cost factors as when you hire a bookkeeper. 

A majority of bookkeeping services now either use hourly pricing or have a set monthly investment. However, services that set a monthly fee often include their hourly rate in the equation.

You will typically either work with a service in the United States or a service overseas, and these have different price points. 

Overseas bookkeeping services are often priced very cheap (often $12-25 per hour) but have issues such as:

  • Inconvenient availability due to time zone differences
  • Miscommunication due to language barriers
  • Errors due to unfamiliarity with U.S. accounting laws
  • Limited services, often not even producing financial statements 

If the service is located in the United States, a good rule of thumb is that if they physically work at your business, they’re probably hourly - and if they’re remote, they probably have a fixed fee structure. 

Hourly rates for U.S. companies can range from $25-$100, with 3-15 hours per month of coding for a small business. A typical fixed pricing range for U.S. companies is $300-$1,200 for basic bookkeeping services per month. 

This is more affordable for small businesses than the $4,166.67-$5,833.33 that it would cost to employ a full-time, in-house bookkeeper each month (as discussed in the section above).

Both of these prices will increase if other services are added on, such as:

  • Tax preparation
  • Payroll processing and add-on features
  • Business consulting
  • HR services and employee benefits

Outsourcing With a Monthly Accounting Service

How do you know if monthly accounting is the right option for you? Let’s go over what monthly accounting includes beyond just bookkeeping: business operations and financial advice, plus tax preparation. These critical services are included in the fixed monthly investment. 

Essentially, a monthly accounting service offers a dedicated bookkeeper and tax accountant who work together for you under one roof. Bookkeepers look at transactional data, but accountants look at the big picture. The two different roles watch for different things; a bookkeeper is like a controller, and an accountant is like a CFO.

Monthly accounting provides you with opportunities to reduce tax liability to the minimum amount - an annual accountant can’t offer a complete tax strategy like this because they don’t work with you year-round!

On the advising side, your accountant uses your financial statements to help you maximize your earnings throughout the year. Are expenses inflated? Is revenue reducing? How do we pivot quickly if we see red flags? They can even advise on exit strategies and growth opportunities for your business.

With all of these extra services and benefits beyond a typical bookkeeping service, how does the investment compare? If you find bookkeeping, advising, and tax services valuable, monthly accounting is a way to combine them for what is essentially a bundled discount.

Click the image below to learn more about the factors that go into determining your set monthly investment with a monthly accounting service like CSI Accounting & Payroll:

cost monthly accounting fee

Upgrade Your Bookkeeping Investment to Monthly Accounting

Don’t continue handling your own bookkeeping or pawning it off on your administrative worker as you grow! Instead, consider hiring an in-house bookkeeper, outsourcing a bookkeeping service, or even upgrading to a monthly accounting service.

While many small businesses can’t afford a full-time, in-house bookkeeper, they can afford a bookkeeping service. However, you still need to do your taxes, and a professional can help minimize them as much as possible. If you’re going to pay for both services anyway, you might as well bundle to save money and receive expert advice year-round with monthly accounting.

If you’re considering monthly accounting, why not consider CSI Accounting & Payroll? For a free consultation to see if we can be a good fit for your business, click the button below:


Not ready to talk? That’s okay! First, learn more about what it’s like to be a client at CSI by clicking the image below:

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Bryan Cremeen

Bryan joined CSI Accounting in 2019. He joined the team after CSI purchased his accounting firm, AccountSource LLC, which he had owned since 2005. He graduated from St. Cloud State in 2001 with a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and has been an Enrolled Agent since 2010. Before owning his own accounting practice, Bryan had worked at the State of MN handling financial reporting and had been in private industry as a Controller. His primary responsibilities include overseeing the accounting department and making sure clients are receiving quality service. Fun Fact: Bryan has played soccer since the age of 4. He still plays soccer year round through various adult leagues and is an avid supporter of the Minnesota United MLS soccer team. COYL!!! (Come on, you Loons!!!)