As more and more businesses turn to the cloud for everything from document sharing and file storage to database management and project administration, it should come as no surprise that online accounting and bookkeeping sites are replacing native software applications like QuickBooks.  After all, most are user-friendly, convenient and affordable. While the decision to outsource bookkeeping–rather than employ a part-time or full-time house bookkeeper–presents an additional expense, the benefits typically outweigh the negatives.

Online bookkeepers help firms take care of many of their business needs, from preparing balance sheets and monthly financial statements, to handling a company’s chart of accounts. In addition, many virtual bookkeeping services offer extras like tax preparation and payroll processing, if you are willing to pay for them.

At the end of the day, however, not all online bookkeeping platforms are created equal, which is why we have compiled this list of our top 5 favorite virtual bookkeepers.

How we evaluated each platform 

Our research involved a detailed analysis of a number of online bookkeeping service providers. Each one was evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Who It’s Best For
  • Ease of Use and Versatility
  • Services Offered
  • Affordability
  • Customer Service
  • Value for the Money

Our goal was to be fair and objective, while also recognizing that:

  • Different types of businesses have different types of needs
  • Larger businesses have more advanced bookkeeping tasks than mom-and-pop shops and businesses that are just starting out
  • Difficult to navigate user interfaces present considerable challenges for people who aren’t tech-savvy
  • Having access to customer service plays a key role in operational efficiency
  • Price often plays a considerable role in the decision-making process

QuickBooks Live

QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping is a QuickBooks Online service that connects businesses with certified bookkeepers in real-time. The professionals proceed to offer well-personalized bookkeeping services such as transaction categorization, account reconciliation, bills management, plus income and expense tracking. 

In the meantime, QuickBooks users additionally manage to collaborate with their bookkeepers through webchats, screen sharing, video conferencing, as well as document sharing. 

Value For Money

  • Ease of Use: 4.5/5. 
  • Services Offered: 4.5/5.
  • Pricing: 3.5/5
  • Overall: 4.2/5

Who It’s Best For

  • Small business owners and entrepreneurs who specifically need personalized bookkeeping services. QuickBooks Live connects them one-on-one with human bookkeepers via virtual collaboration tools like video and phone chat. 
  • Small businesses that have already subscribed to QuickBooks Online. QuickBooks Live is more of a supplementary service that comes embedded within the QuickBooks Online accounting platform. 
  • Small businesses in need of bookkeeping support alone. QuickBooks Live is as simple as they come- it only deals with bookkeeping- not complementary accounting solutions like tax filing and payroll management. 

Ease of Use and Versatility

  • QuickBooks Live is an add-on service attached to the much larger QuickBooks Online platform. 
  • A QuickBooks Live subscription automatically provides access to the accompanying QuickBooks Online accounting tools and solutions.
  • Users can easily get in touch with QuickBooks certified bookkeepers for personalized real-time assistance. 
  • QuickBooks Live and QuickBooks Online interfaces are intuitive and can be accessed remotely through the web. 

Services Offered

  • As part of the onboarding process, QuickBook Live bookkeepers begin by walking users through the process of setting up their chart of accounts, connecting apps, plus linking bank accounts. 
  • When the system is up and running, certified bookkeepers proceed to streamline and manage books by reconciling accounts, categorizing transactions, and keeping everything up-to-date. 
  • At the end of each month, bookkeeping teams review all the financials before closing the books. Each user then receives a detailed month-end report, complete with an accompanying business balance sheet and income statement. 

Affordability

Users can only purchase QuickBooks Live after subscribing to one of the base packages offered by QuickBooks Online. But, unlike QBO, QuickBooks Live prices its plans based on the volume of monthly expenses. 

  • QuickBooks Live users with monthly expenses of up to $25,000 pay $200 a month. 
  • QuickBooks Live users with monthly expenses between $25,001 and $150,000 pay $400 a month.  
  • Then businesses that happen to stretch their monthly expenses beyond $150,000 are charged $600 per month. 

Customer Service

Since QuickBooks Live bookkeeping is all about personalized real-time services, its customer experience is bound to be exemplary. And the best thing is, QuickBooks Live provides uninterrupted access to certified bookkeepers- through its virtual collaboration tools. 

Small businesses are free to collaborate via video conferencing, live chat, and email messages. And in case of any technical issues, QuickBooks’ customer support team can be reached on its official phone number and email.

See the full QuickBooks Live review here.


 

QuickBooks Online

quickbooks-online-logo

QuickBooks Online is easily the most recognized online accounting and bookkeeping solution. In fact, it caters to 5.6 million customers across the world. It’s known for its reliability, coupled with features and user-friendly interface.

Value for money

  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Services Offered: 5/5
  • Pricing: 4/5
  • Overall: 4.3/5

Who it’s best for

  • The company is known for developing solutions for small to medium-sized businesses.
  • It provides automatic sales receipts and split transactions that every small business requires. It also provides instant access, cloud backup, and easy sharing of data that makes it an effective tool for freelancers as well.

Ease of use and versatility

  • One of the most distinguishing factors of QuickBooks Online is its clear, colorful, and highly interactive user-interface
  • Its easy-to-use web interface makes it easy to process accounting information from anywhere in the world.

Quickbooks Online

Services offered

  • Complete invoice customization – QuickBooks Online provides some of the best invoice templates and customization options
  • State-of-the-art contact management – QuickBooks Online provides a well-developed contact management system that provides important information related to both vendors and customers
  • Efficient tracking of your monthly expenses comes standard with the platform
  • Create the three most important financial statements for a company–cash flow statements, balance sheets, and income statements–with ease using the software

Affordability

QuickBooks Online offers three pricing plans, all of which are designed to serve businesses of different sizes

  • Simple Start: $10/month and limited to one user
  • Essentials: $17/month, with access up to 3 users and additional features
  • Plus: $30/month, which includes all of the benefits of the essential plan for up to 5 users and some additional extra features

Customer service

QuickBooks Online provides helpful and user-friendly support to its customers. Customer care representatives can be reached by either phone or email, and general response times are under 48 hours.

See the full QuickBooks Online review here.


 

Wave

Wave is a free cloud-based accounting software that allows you to conveniently create impressive invoices, receipts, and estimates. The company was established in 2009 in Toronto and serves over 2.5 million clients worldwide.

Value for money

  • Ease of Use: 4.5/5
  • Services Offered: 4/5
  • Pricing: 4.5/5
  • Overall: 4.3/5

Who it’s best for

  • Wave works best for small businesses and freelancers who need simplified accounting tools to create invoices, track expenses, and process online payments
  • It also serves sole-traders who require automating billing and invoicing to simplify their business finances

Ease of use and versatility

  • The user-interface is subtle and allows you a great level of interactivity
  • Most users feel the Wave platform is flexible and user-friendly

Services offered

  • Automatic invoicing and monitoring – users can craft eloquent invoices, and other accounting documents using the platform
  • Wave also lets you monitor your invoices and payment status, whenever required
  • Easy income and expense tracking is standard
  • An interactive receipt scanning tool allows you to scan any manual receipts with a click-of-a-button
  • A handy payment system means you can pay your team from anywhere in the world
  • Has an add-on tax service in 14 states that can help you file your federal and state tax returns

Affordability

Wave is free, which means it’s affordable for any business. The range of features offered puts it miles ahead of the competition. It’s important to note, however, that there are some extra features available in select countries that are chargeable.

Customer service

Customer service is the only place where Wave lags behind other service providers. The only way to communicate about an issue is through email, and it may take weeks before you receive a response. Live chat and phone call options are only available for premium users.

See the full Wave review here.


 

Kashoo

Kashoo is a simplified accounting solution for freelancers and small business owners. The company is based in Toronto and provides service to clients in 180 different countries. It is run by a small bookkeeping team of 20 employees who are constantly engaged in developing better financial tools for customers.

Value for money

  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Services Offered: 4/5
  • Pricing: 4/5
  • Overall: 4.15/5

Who it’s best for

  • The company provides distinctive accounting services to small business owners and freelancers
  • Their philosophy is to simplify accounting functions for small businesses and budding entrepreneurs

Ease of use and versatility

  • Kashoo is known for its simple and minimal design
  • Comprehensive accounting solutions are offered through an interactive and effortless user-interface
  • The easy-to-use accounting system lets you share your accounting information with anyone across the world

Services offered

  • Time-saving tools – Kashoo provides a number of important accounting tools that save time and resources, including:
    • Easy invoicing
    • Seamless tracking of accounts payable and accounts receivable
    • Mobile app for iOS devices
    • Easy third-party integration
    • Picture sharing on-the-go
  • Interactive tools – Kashoo also provides a list of interactive and resourceful tools to customize, and enhance your business productivity, which includes:
    • Seven different templates, with logo and footer customization to create impressive invoices
    • Ability to run different types of reports
    • No number of users limit per account

Affordability

Kashoo offers two pricing plans to its customers. It offers comprehensive accounting solutions in the first plan and additional bookkeeping and tax services in the second:

  • The software-only plan is $16.65/month
  • Software plus bookkeeping and tax services are $199/month

Kashoo allows you to try before you by, offering a free 14-day trial to potential customers, no credit card required.

Customer service

Kashoo offers amazing customer support to clients. What’s more, it’s free and allows you to interact through chat, email, and phone. Customer representatives are extremely knowledgeable about the platform.

See the full Kashoo review here.


 

Merritt Bookkeeping

merrittbookkeeping-logo

Merritt Bookkeeping is one of the most recognized online bookkeeping and accounting services. While the company doesn’t offer extras like payroll services and tax filing as many competitors do, Merritt is excellent for bookkeeping. The company is based in San Diego, California, and serves businesses across the United States.

Value for money

  • Overall: 4.2/5
  • Ease of Use: 5/5
  • Services Offered: 4/5
  • Pricing: 5/5

Who it’s best for

  • Merritt Bookkeeping specializes in providing tailor-made accounting and booking solutions to small companies located across the US
  • It is ideal for self-employed individuals since budget-friendly pricing is available

Ease of use and versatility

  • Merritt Bookkeeping is recognized for its professionally designed interface and customization options
  • There are direct, to-the-point function that allows you to save both time and resources
  • The signup process is quick and easy

Services offered

  • Automatic bank statement collection – Merritt Bookkeeping uses an automated bank statement retrieval software tool to access your statements from all your company bank accounts, which saves you the hassle of sending them manually
  • Accurate year-end financial report generation is well-organized and easy to understand Comprehensive QuickBooks integration ensures seamless data import/export
  • There’s a 90-day full money-back guarantee if you’re not impressed with their services

Affordability

Merritt Bookkeeping offers affordable bookkeeping plans to its clients. Depending on your QuickBooks file, the company charges:

  • $140/month if you don’t have a QuickBooks file or it is less than 50% complete.
  • $95/ month if your QuickBooks file is more than 50% complete

Customer service

The company offers outstanding customer service which is direct, thorough, and interactive. All the customer service representatives are fluent in English and provide comprehensive troubleshooting solutions. You can connect with customer service via email or telephone. Most importantly, your email is responded to within 48 hours.

See the full Merritt Bookkeeping review here.


 

Invoicera

Invoicera claims to be the world’s most powerful invoicing and billing software. It was established in 2006 and headquartered in New Delhi, India. The company provides a number of distinctive features to automate business processes.

Value for money

  • Overall: 4.5/5
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Services Offered: 5/5
  • Pricing: 4.5/5

Who it’s best for

  • It’s best for small businesses, and freelancers to troubleshoot various invoicing issues
  • It also serves to improve the communication between suppliers and vendors

Ease of use and versatility

  • Invoicera specializes in invoicing and provides one of the best user-interfaces for invoice creation
  • If offers smooth navigation and organization, but can be a bit buggy at times
  • Though the software lacks a bit in responsiveness, the overall user experience is highly positive

Services offered

  • All-in-one-platform – Invoicera provides a comprehensive invoicing solution that incorporates efficient management, tracking, cash flow statements, payment processing, and report generation in a single platform
  • It provides a wide range of language support so that it can be used in countries where English is not the primary language
  • There’s mobile app integration so you can manage your account from the palm of your hand

Affordability

Invoicera offers three distinctive plans, all of which are affordable for small business owners.

  • Starter Plan: free, but limited to 3 active clients
  • Pro Plan: $15/month, with up to 100 active clients plus additional features
  • Infinite Plan: $149/ month, which includes everything from the Pro Plan plus additional features

Customer service 

Invoicera has faced criticism for its poor customer support. CSR’s are friendly and cordial but can take anywhere from hours to weeks to respond to a single query. Customer support can be reached by call or email, but since there is no US-based phone number, it’s oftentimes difficult for US-based customers to reach out.

See the full Invoicera review here.