If you are a small business owner, the most sensible choice for you may be to hire an outside bookkeeper to handle your books and accounting, as opposed to doing them yourself or having a full time bookkeeper as an employee. Hiring outside contract professionals can often be a worrisome task. Unless you can find a candidate through a personal referral, you will never really know what you’re about to get. Moreover, there’s a wide variety of bookkeeping and accounting skill sets, education, certification, and professional backgrounds that will greatly influence the standard hourly rate of a contract bookkeeper. If you don’t know much about bookkeeping and accounting yourself, it might be hard to determine how experienced your hired bookkeeper really needs to be. This article will give you a general range of typical bookkeeping rates, as well as help you get an idea of what kind of candidate you should realistically aim to hire, based on the circumstances of your business.
To give you a very basic idea, a standard contract bookkeeper will typically cost $20-50 dollars an hour. If your books are already set up and running, and you simply require a bookkeeper to book recurring transactions, you can realistically hire a solid candidate in the lower part of this range. If you are starting bookkeeping from scratch, chances are you will need someone with more comprehensive experience who knows how to set up books for your business. This person will need to have solid knowledge in both bookkeeping software, as well as bookkeeping and accounting principles, in order to create a system to optimally track your business’s finances. Chances are this kind of candidate will cost $40/hr or more.
If you need help with higher level accounting issues, such as interpreting and handling taxes which apply to your business, you will need to hire a certified accountant, who will realistically cost $100/hr or more. Don’t worry, though, it’s absolutely possible to hire an entry level bookkeeper for less to handle the more rudimentary bookkeeping work your business will require, while only hiring the more advanced accountant for higher level tasks when it is necessary.
Keep this in mind: A great bookkeeper is worth his or her weight in gold. experienced bookkeepers will make sure your businesses finances are tracked comprehensively and accurately, while also providing valuable financial advice based on the monetary trends he or she sees as the books grow over time. A bookkeeper can offer suggestions to improve your bottom line that will end up paying for their services, and maybe then some. Don’t be cheap with an unqualified bookkeeper – the last thing you want is for your books to be sloppy and inaccurate. That can be very costly as the future unfolds.
Most small businesses starting out will only require a few hours of bookkeeping a week. So don’t worry about a good but more expensive bookkeeper totally breaking your bank. In fact, a great bookkeeper can help your bottom line thrive. Stay tuned for a follow up post on how to hire a great bookkeeper.