Outsourced Bookkeeping for Small Businesses

A client of mine needed a recommendation for a bookkeeper.  I didn’t have one.  So, I became obsessed with talking to bookkeepers for about 1.5 weeks so that I could provide him with a decent referral.  This is part of the result of that research – just the outsourced resources.

Outsourced bookkeeping means that you, the business owner, are not doing the books in house.  You don’t have someone coming into your office to do them for you and you are not doing them yourself.  This has advantages and disadvantages.  It is less expensive. If you don’t have a lot of reconciliations or transactions, then you probably can’t find someone to work for the small amount of time that you need.  You are opening up your accounts to some faceless, unknown entity, but the risk doesn’t necessarily lessen with a known face.

The lesson isn’t to “trust no one.”  But to be smart about your business and have some accountability and oversight over the essential functions.

Something I discovered: Local, personal bookkeepers appear to be an elusive species like the snow leopard.

Well, most companies don’t advertise themselves as bookkeepers and the individuals who do the work are often booked to capacity easily.  Particularly if they’re good at what they do.

Such is the case with my friends over at Mezzanine.  They’re clearly pretty baller (anyone with so little on their website is, right?).  And they’re booked up.  No, this isn’t a BS scarcity thing.

As a part of the WeWork Community, though, I was recommended a number of outsourced bookkeeping services. Here are the services that I’ve vetted (I didn’t include the names of the ones that I didn’t like or the people who stood me up for our appointments.  I think that’s fair.):

  1. In-Dinero

    Based in SF, they provide outsourced bookkeeping services, taxes, accounting services generally, all the way up to a more CFO-type role.  They do NOT do payroll but they DO integrate with TriNet or other payroll/HR services. Partnered with WeWork but that doesn’t give them a plus or a minus in my book…just convenient for those that work at WeWork.

    They use their own, in-house software but can download from quickbooks or be uploaded back into quickbooks. They have no dedicated person in Seattle.  Closest person is in Portland, but they travel to Seattle.

    By “outsourced,” I mean that you, the business owner, are outsourcing your bookkeeping to them.  They have their own staff that handles your accounts for you.

  2. Early Growth Financial Services

    Based in SF, they are also an outsourced bookkeeping service (in that you, the business owner, are outsourcing your bookkeeping to them). They have bookkeepers, accountants, do your taxes, help with funding, and offer services all the way up to your CFO level.  I’m getting confirmation about their payroll but I don’t think they do payroll.  

    They have people in Seattle or come to Seattle regularly. 

  3. Botkeeper

    This company is based on the East Coast (Boston, I believe).  Their service sits on top of your existing software to automate some of the things that a bookkeeper would do, such as reconciliations and data entry.  The bookkeeping is mostly done by “bot.”  So, not exactly outsourced but not human either.  They have CPA’s for the functions that can’t be automated with their bot and for answering questions.  Human CPA + Bot = Cyborg?


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