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Take the bite out of number-crunching
by outsourcing accounting, bookkeeping

Number crunchers do financial workIf you've been thinking of outsourcing your company's basic financial tasks, you're not alone. Increasingly, small businesses are turning to accounting and bookkeeping firms to take care of their day-to-day financial matters.

Bookkeepers and accountants can act as a company's financial compass. They compile and analyze a company's financial reports, map a company's progress and help a business chart the best course to the future.

What's more, they make tax time a lot easier.

Tracking the money
Bookkeepers record a company's daily financial transactions and produce monthly financial statements; accountants prepare financial statements and help with tax planning and preparation. Accountants also will help prepare investor, loan or financing packages.

We found prices for data entry beginning at $25 an hour, bookkeepers charging around $35 an hour and accountant fees ranging from $45 to $190 an hour.

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Accounting and only accounting
You can save on accounting fees by asking your accountant to do the accounting and nothing more. You don't want to pay accounting fees for a bookkeeping task.

A client's bill increases proportionately with the hours needed to accomplish the task. The bearer of organized records will pay less than the guy who shows up with a shoebox full of check stubs and receipts.

Barbara Freid, a Los Angeles-based bookkeeper who caters to fledgling and small businesses, says "hand-holding" is one of her specialties.

"I tell them to make a file called 'Barbara' for check stubs, receipts, deposit receipts and anything they have a question about," Freid explains. In addition to providing data entry and producing monthly financial statements for her clients, Freid meets with them each month to review the information and answer any questions they may have.

Though each company is different, Freid says a small company with fewer than two employees could expect to pay around $150 a month for such a service.

Bookkeepers produce information accountants need to do their jobs. Sometimes accounting firms will also provide bookkeeping services. If you hire an independent bookkeeper, you will want your bookkeeper to touch base with your accountant.


-- Posted: Dec. 13, 1999

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See Also
PLUS: Finding the right number-cruncher
AND: Terms you need to know
Table: What accountants, bookkeepers charge
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