Keeping up with your accounting is one of the most important things you can do for your business, but how much does that upkeep cost? This week, we’re breaking down how much you can expect to pay to keep your books in good shape, with or without an outsourced accounting firm like Seller Accountant.
Why invest in accounting help?
It seems like these days, every small business owner is expected to wear every hat: CEO, salesperson, inventory manager, hiring manger, marketing expert, etc. But we know better than anyone that not everyone is cut out to be their own accountant – and that’s okay!
You’ve heard the phrase “spend money to make money,” and nowhere is that more true than with business accounting. Up-to-date investor-grade accounting is so important to the financial health of your business – and so easy to do incorrectly – that getting help from accounting professionals is worth the investment, especially as your business becomes more complex.
If you’re someone who runs your business as a hobby or a low-stakes side hustle, paying for outsourced accounting may not be the right move, but if you plan to scale up in the future, it’s always worth it to make sure you’re doing things correctly from the very beginning.
The first expense you’ll most likely run into is software. Of course you’ll need an accounting software, and for that, we recommend Quickbooks Online, but some sellers prefer Xero. Larger sellers might also use an enterprise system like NetSuite.
Aside from accounting software, there are a slew of programs you’ll need to run your business day-to-day. Programs like Seller Labs or Helium10 import data from Amazon and allow you to make better decisions for your business, while inventory management software helps track your products and gets shipping running smoothly. In addition to these, you’ll more than likely also need a sales tax software like TaxJar to keep you accountable come tax season.
total = $500/month
Most accounting firms, Seller Accountant included, expect to start your business’s accounting with a cleanup project. Generally this involves getting previous bookkeeping up to industry standard before working on ongoing accounting, and we charge it as a one-time upfront expense.
The cost of backdated accounting cleanup usually depends on volume and complexity: how many months there are to clean up and what kind of shape the books are in from the start.
total = $2000+ one time payment
Ongoing accounting is our bread and butter at Seller Accountant, and it’s also the service we provide for our largest number of clients .
While you could take care of your accounting needs in any number of ways, whether it’s hiring an employee, a contractor, an assistant, or a firm, having your accounting taken care of is crucial to your business’s success and your own sanity.
Your ongoing monthly accounting is priced based on a number of factors, but most accounting professionals will bill either per hour or via a monthly fixed rate. While hourly pricing might save you money if your business is very small and uncomplicated, Seller Accountant follows the fixed rate model – there’s no incentive to be less efficient when profit isn’t tied to hours worked.
total = ~$1200/month
In addition to your ongoing accounting, you may also want to pay for an advisory service, or as we call it at Seller Accountant, a “fractional CFO“. Most small businesses don’t have the capital on hand to hire a full-time CFO with the knowledge and expertise to improve their business, so many advisors, like our CFO team, offer their services on a part time basis.
Your fractional CFO acts as a financial coach for your business, assisting with cash flow management, scaling your business, understanding Return on Working Capital, and providing counsel about how to turn your raw accounting data into profitable business decisions.
total = $1000-$3000/month
Finally, unless you’re very, very confident, you’ll want to pay someone to file your taxes.
Seller Accountant’s focus on e-commerce means we don’t do any tax prep or filing, but a licensed CPA firm is the perfect place to take care of that side of your business. Much like your overall accounting, it’s worth it to spend more to get more in this area; make a connection with a CPA early (well before April), and know that what you get is what you pay for when it comes to expertise and efficiency.
Work With Us
Overall, our advice is this: spend money to do your accounting right, or expect to pay for it later. When you’re faced with an audit, money lost due to muddy accounting, or a less-than-stellar sale down the line, you’ll be wishing you had invested up front.
If you’re ready to make the best of your bookkeeping, book a free 15-minute discovery call today. We look forward to working with you!