Bookkeeping is an essential part of running a business. Without records and data, it’s hard to understand how your business is doing financially.
Bookkeeping is very diverse, and professional bookkeepers maintain the financial records of businesses and companies using advanced accounting and financial software. This includes handling payroll, preparing bank deposits, verifying receipts, preparing invoices, and more.
The nature of the job enables qualified individuals to work from home or part of an in-house time. This guide will help you understand which option is right for your business and how much it will cost you.
What It Costs to Hire an In-House Bookkeeper
To hire a full-time in-house bookkeeper at the national average hourly rate would cost approximately $45,560 per year in salary plus benefits, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). If you typically pay overtime and your bookkeeper works more than 40 hours per week, the actual cost of hiring her can be substantially higher. However, the average Bookkeeper salary range in the United States, typically falls between $39,887 and $50,984, according to salary.com.
When you’re looking for a bookkeeping service, you’ll find that pricing can vary wildly. The cost of hiring an in-house bookkeeper depends on how much work you want them to be doing and what kind of services they’ll be providing. Some bookkeepers will charge by the hour, but it’s more common to see some sort of retainer or a flat fee.
For example, a small business can pay a monthly fee to have their books kept up to date, or they can pay an annual fee for a comprehensive set of services. A large business may have its own in-house accounting team and may also choose to use one or more outside bookkeepers at different points throughout the year to help keep things organized and running smoothly.
There are also many different kinds of bookkeepers out there who each offer their own specific services. For example, a controller is more senior than an entry-level bookkeeper and will spend more time reviewing financial reports and doing analyses. An accounting manager will usually be able to work directly with clients without having to consult with the company’s higher-ups for approval on certain things.
Hiring an in-house bookkeeper is a big decision, and it’s definitely not the right fit for every business. It can be helpful to start by weighing the pros and cons of hiring a dedicated bookkeeper.
Pros of Hiring a Full-Time In-House Bookkeeper
- Your bookkeeping will be done by someone who is 100% devoted to your business.
- You have access to a bookkeeper whenever you need one.
- Your bookkeeper is constantly working on your books, resulting in more accuracy and up-to-date information than you could likely get if you tried to do it yourself.
Cons of Hiring a Full-Time In-House Bookkeeper
- You have to pay your bookkeeper even if they don’t have enough work to do all day.
- You must provide benefits for your bookkeeper, which can be costly depending on what you offer.
State by State Breakdown
In addition to work experience and level of education, education level, and location plays a key factor in bookkeeper salaries, and this varies from state to state.
The table below breaks down how much it costs to hire an in-house bookkeeper across the country. The figures below are based on average hourly rates reported by ZipRecruiter.
Keep in mind that these are averages and your specific situation may vary. For example, an experienced professional with a high level of expertise may command a higher salary than someone with less experience or a more specialized skill set.
|State||Annual Salary||Hourly Wage|
According to ZipRecruiter, Washington is the state with the highest average bookkeeper salary in the United States. Bookkeepers in Washington earn an average annual salary of $53,008 or an hourly rate of $25,48.
New York has the second-highest average bookkeeper salary in the United States, with an average annual salary of $50,288 or an hourly rate of $24.15. New Hampshire comes in third, with an average annual salary of $48,607 or an hourly rate of $23.37.
Here is a quick breakdown of the top ten states in terms of average annual bookkeeper salaries in the United States:
- Washington – $53,008
- New York – $50,288
- New Hampshire – $48,607
- California – $47,380
- Massachusetts – $46,260
- Vermont – $45,854
- Wyoming – $44,922
- Hawaii – $44,818
- Idaho – $44,554
- Maine – $43,921
The bottom ten states are in terms of average annual salary for bookkeepers:
- New Mexico – $39,179
- Oklahoma – $38,946
- Florida – $38,321
- Kentucky – $38,087
- Arkansas – $37,409
- Michigan – $37,388
- Mississippi – $37,369
- Illinois – $37,206
- Missouri – $36,603
- North Carolina – $34,076
Is Hiring an In-House Bookkeeper Right for You?
You need to know a few things before you hire an in-house bookkeeper.
First, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of hiring a full-time employee. Hiring an in-house bookkeeper includes having someone available regularly, the added security of knowing your books are being handled by someone reliable, and the ease of working with one person instead of multiple people at an agency or accounting firm.
The downside is that hiring a full-time employee can be expensive if you aren’t fully utilizing their time and skills. You’ll also have to manage them and find ways to keep them motivated and productive.
It’s also important to consider your company’s stage and what it might need from its financial services provider. A small business may not have enough work to justify hiring an in-house bookkeeper. In contrast, a larger business might not want the additional overhead of having an extra employee on its payroll.
You should also consider whether or not you have enough money to hire someone full-time and whether or not you have enough work for them to do.
What It Costs to Contract With a Traditional Bookkeeping Firm
When you hire an in-house bookkeeper, your expenses will be limited to the salary of that one person. A full-time bookkeeper will cost between $39,887 and $50,984 a year. You’ll need to factor in additional expenses such as worker’s compensation insurance and benefits, which can add up to 20% to 30% of total salary costs.
Another option for small businesses is outsourcing your bookkeeping to a traditional bookkeeping firm. The benefit of this approach is that you get access to a wide range of bookkeepers and accountants who have different areas of expertise and can help with bookkeeping, from basic data entry to more advanced financial reporting.
Finding a traditional bookkeeping firm won’t be an issue, as they are located all over the US. They are often a small group of specialists that serve local geography.
If you decide to contract out your bookkeeping services instead, the annual costs can vary significantly depending on the scope of the work and the amount of time required to complete the job. Some firms charge a flat monthly rate for their services; others may bill by the hour or based on the number of transactions processed.
A traditional bookkeeping firm may also require a set-up fee, especially if you’re transferring from an in-house system, and may charge a monthly maintenance fee.
When you hire a traditional bookkeeping firm, the normal process is that they’ll offer you a quote upfront, giving you an estimate of how long it will take them to do your books. If your bookkeeping requirements are much more complex than initially estimated, they may also charge extra fees, and your costs might sike considerably.
Is a Traditional Accounting Firm Right for You?
If you’re a small business owner, you’ve no doubt noticed how easy it is for your accounting to get out of hand. You may be wondering whether it makes sense to hire an in-house bookkeeper or contract with an external bookkeeping firm. In our experience, we’ve found that the latter is by far the better option.
If you want your bookkeeping needs to be taken care of without any hands-on management, then outsourcing is the way to go. In the case that you have simple books with few transactions that don’t require any specialized expertise, it may be most cost-effective to contract with a traditional bookkeeping firm that can give you a few hours each month at an affordable price.
Even if you do have specialized needs, the right outsourcing firm has access to individuals with your industry expertise.
Contracting with the leading remote accounting firm also saves you money. You typically save about 40 percent of their payroll costs by hiring an in-house bookkeeper or accountant. You don’t pay for benefits, vacation time, or sick days.
On the surface, contracting with a new-age accounting firm has many advantages. You can hire an expert in the field, and you can work together to decide on a flat fee that will cover all your needs.
What It Costs to Work With an Online Bookkeeping Service Provider
Hiring an in-house bookkeeper seems like the most cost-effective way to keep track of your finances. But there are several hidden costs that you may not have considered that make an online bookkeeping service a much more attractive alternative.
Online bookkeeping services are a great way to save money on your business’s bookkeeping and accounting needs. When you work with an online bookkeeper, you keep your costs down because there’s no need to pay benefits or payroll taxes, and they’re able to handle your books remotely, so there’s no overhead associated with their office space.
Online bookkeepers can handle everything from general bookkeeping to tax preparation and everything in between.
The best online bookkeepers, like Finance Hire also offer a free initial consultation where they’ll talk through your needs as a business and help you decide which service is perfect for you. That’s something that traditional in-house hiring processes just can’t do.
Is an Online Bookkeeping Service Right for You?
If you’re considering hiring a bookkeeper, you might be wondering if an outsourced accounting firm is right for your business. An online accounting service can help your business in many ways. It means you won’t have to pay a salary and benefits to an in-house accountant. Instead, you’ll be spending a get the benefits of a full-time bookkeeper at a fraction of the cost.
This means that when times are good, and you don’t need as much attention from them, you don’t have to worry about paying for their downtime. It also means that when times are busy, and you need more help, they are ready to keep up with your company’s growth, without the need of hiring more and more bookkeepers.
In addition to saving money on payroll, an online bookkeeping service will save you time. You won’t have to train anyone or answer questions—you just hand over your paperwork, and they take care of everything else. You can focus on what matters: running your company.