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How to Structure Bookkeeping Pricing to Fit Your Business Needs


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bookkeeping 101 for agency owners

Bookkeeping pricing varies because this job needs to stay flexible. It’s not always about getting those receipts recorded daily. Sometimes, a business will have a bunch of transactions to check on because they don’t match. 

In this post, we’ll go over the different pricing structures for bookkeeping and how to choose the right one. Your business may need different approaches at different stages, and we’ll give you tips on navigating this.

Understanding Bookkeeping Pricing Models

A. Hourly Rates

You might need a bookkeeper’s help, say, to double check what your accounting software recorded. This probably only takes a couple of hours a week. You might also want them to add in a few invoices that didn’t go through the automated process. You can tack on another half an hour for that. 

Paying hourly rates for this kind of help is much healthier for your business. You can hire a bookkeeper online for freelance gigs like this.

Hourly rates are straightforward for both you and the bookkeeper. You pay only for the time spent on your books. Be aware, however, that the costs can be unpredictable if you don’t know how many hours your bookkeeping tasks will take. 

B. Flat Fees

You might find yourself in a sticky situation because you have not worked regularly on your books. You can do hourly pricing for catch up bookkeeping, but that can be unpredictable, too. 

Many agencies and even independent contractors have flat rates for one-off services like catch-up. They will normally assess your needs, then quote a flat fee to get everything sorted out.

Flat rates are also great for regular bookkeeping tasks, like weekly transaction recording and monthly reconciling. As long as you don’t have a backlog, flat rates work nicely. 

Note that basic bookkeeping will still cost less than more complex services like payroll and financial reporting. More experienced bookkeepers will also usually charge higher rates because they’ll be more experienced and efficient.

C. Value-Based Pricing

Some businesses deal with more varied transactions and more complex accounting needs. These higher-level cases can benefit from value-based pricing. Instead of focusing on the time a bookkeeper will spend, you pay for the value that their services bring to your business. 

Value-based pricing can be a great option because you pay for outcomes. This motivates the more highly skilled bookkeepers out there because they have higher goals than balancing numbers. They look forward to improving your cash flow, giving better financial insights, and saving you time.

This way, you know upfront exactly what you’re paying, and what you’re getting. Just make sure you know what problems you want solved and goals reached to reduce surprises and build trust. 

Factors Influencing Bookkeeping Pricing

A red wallet next to dollar bills and coins on a marble countertop.

A. Complexity of Bookkeeping Tasks

The complexity of bookkeeping tasks can vary greatly. Bookkeeping pricing also varies as a result. You will find yourself paying either higher rates or paying for more hours to get the job done.

  1. Number of Transactions – A business with a high volume of sales, expenses, and other financial activities will have more complex bookkeeping.
  2. Business Structure – a sole proprietorship will generally have simpler bookkeeping than a corporation or partnership, which will have more complex ownership structures and regulations.
  3. Inventory Management – Physical products and inventory tracking adds another layer of complexity to bookkeeping.
  4. Payroll Processing – A business with employees will need to manage payroll taxes and deductions. This can be even more complex if they live in different locations.
  5. Industry-Specific Regulations – Certain industries like finance or healthcare have specific regulations that bookkeepers need to follow.
  6. Advanced Accounting Software Features – Even though bookkeeping software can streamline tasks, complex functions require advanced features that take more effort to learn and use.

As a business grows or its financial activities become more complex, its bookkeeping needs will also become more complex. An experienced bookkeeper can handle complex tasks efficiently, while a beginner might struggle. Either way, you will pay more based on either experience level or hours spent working through the tasks.

B. Frequency of Services

The frequency of bookkeeping services directly impacts pricing. Generally, the more frequently you need help, the more you will pay for bookkeeping services because it will take longer. 

Even if you aren’t paying hourly, most tiered packages are based on service hours. More work, therefore, still translates to a higher cost for you. 

The Flip Side

Still, consider the fact that staying up-to-date can actually reduce costs. 

With regular maintenance, a bookkeeper can stay on top of transactions, which reduces the time they need to spend. For example, reconciling and correcting errors in recent transactions is easier than digging for old records. 

With longer gaps between bookkeeping sessions, you contend with a higher chance of errors or missed transactions accumulating. Unraveling these issues later can be time-consuming for the bookkeeper, potentially leading to additional charges.

C. Experience and Expertise of the Bookkeeper

Similar to frequency, experience and expertise significantly impact pricing. More experience means higher rates. However, this doesn’t always mean that you pay more. 

Experienced bookkeepers work a lot faster and make fewer errors that they need to correct later. Their efficiency and accuracy save you money.

If you need help from someone with specialized knowledge in specific industries, you’ll likely pay higher rates. However, their ability to give you strategic insights will help your business make and save more money.

Common Pricing Strategies in the Bookkeeping Industry

US hundred dollar bills.

A. Tiered Pricing Packages

Tiered pricing is a strategy for bookkeeping services that caters to businesses with varying needs and budgets. Below are a few common tiered pricing packages.

Basic Package

  • For businesses with minimal transactions.
  • Includes core services like bank reconciliation, categorization, and basic report creation.
  • May have limitations on the allowed number of transactions processed per month.

Pro Package

  • For growing businesses with more complex transactions.
  • Core service plus accounts payable and receivable management, payroll processing, tax preparation assistance, etc.
  • A higher transaction limit or additional features like cloud-based access.

Premium Package

  • For established businesses with significant financial 
  • Includes everything above, plus advanced services like financial analysis, budgeting forecasting, and bookkeeping software setup and support.
  • May offer a dedicated bookkeeper and/or premium support.

Specific inclusions will vary depending on the bookkeeping firm. These are just some common factors that differentiate tiers.

B. Customized Pricing Plans

Many bookkeeping firms allow customization to fit specific needs. Below are some ways that customization works.

Service Needs

Firms can offer customizations based on specific service needs. Each service usually has a separate price, allowing you to build a package that fits your exact requirements.

Some bookkeepers will offer additional services at hourly rates. This can be beneficial when dealing with tasks that are unpredictable in scope.

A popular customization is combining elements from different tiered packages. 

Business Factors

Independent bookkeepers and firms often offer specialized packages catering to specific industries. For example, services for ecommerce or healthcare businesses have unique bookkeeping needs.

Companies with a high volume of inventory or complex payroll structures, for example, also require more advanced bookkeeping services.

If you use specific accounting software, some customizations take this into account. 

C. Add-On Services and Fees

Bookkeeping firms often offer a core set of services, but allow for additional tasks you might need. These fall under add-on services. Below is a breakdown of the common ones and their associated fees.

  1. Catch-Up Bookkeeping – If your books are significantly behind or messy, sorting them out is necessary. Fees for this can be hourly or based on the complexity of the situation.
  2. Payroll Processing – This service typically comes at a flat monthly rate, depending on the number of employees. Some bookkeepers also offer per-check fees.
  3. Tax Preparation Assistance – Some bookkeeping packages offer basic tax prep, but complex tax situations may require additional help.
  4. Financial Reporting and Analysis – In-depth financial reports or custom analysis can be an add-on service offered by experts.
  5. Software Setup and Support – If you don’t use a bookkeeper’s or firm’s preferred software, they may charge a separate setup and support fee.
  6. Bank Feed Clean-up – Manually reconciling transactions that don’t automatically match can be added on at hourly rates.
  7. Year-End Close Assistance – These procedures to prepare for tax filing are usually a separate service with a flat fee or hourly rate.

Factors Affecting Fees

We can’t name fees for packages, customizations, or add-on services because they all depend on so many factors. Different firms and individuals charge differently based on experience, expertise, location, your business needs, etc. Below are the main factors to consider.

  1. Complexity, such as tax prep or detailed financial analysis, calls for higher fees.
  2. The time involved in a task plus how unpredictable in scope they are usually means you’re stuck with hourly pricing.
  3. One-time services like year-end close may have a flat fee, while ongoing services like payroll processing might have a recurring monthly charge.

What Is AccountsBalance?


AccountsBalance is a monthly bookkeeping service specialized for agencies & SAAS companies.

We take monthly bookkeeping off your plate and deliver you your financial statements by the 15th or 20th of each month.

You’ll have your Profit and Loss Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statement ready for analysis each month so you and your business partners can make better business decisions.

Interested in learning more? Schedule a call with our CEO, Nathan Hirsch.

And here’s some free resources:


In Summary

Communicate openly with any bookkeeper or agency you want to work with. Explain about your business’s activity level and complexity to the best of your ability. This will help them recommend the optimal frequency and experience you need for your bookkeeping needs while keeping costs reasonable.

Weigh the different pricing models against your needs as well to find the right combination for your needs. Note that pricing can also change over time, so make room for that. You can often to fit your budget, but don’t sacrifice quality in the process.

Want help with your bookkeeping? We make it easy. Get startedSpeak w/ a Founder, or Schedule a Callback

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Julia Valdez

Julia Valdez

Julia is a career freelancer and agency owner turned coach for those seeking abundance and victorious living. A professional teacher and decades-long lover of the art of words on paper and the stage, she loves sharing actionable advice on life-changing topics. When she’s not helping freelancers and other small business owners grow, you can find her sharing lots of laughs over little crazy things.

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