If you’re curious to know more about Botkeeper and whether it might be a good option for your accounting firm, I had a chance to interview their CEO, Enrico Palmerino, to learn more.

Below you’ll find my review of what Botkeeper is and how it works.

Check it out.

Note: This article contains affiliate links.

What is Botkeeper?

botkeeper ceo enrico palmerino

In this article, I’ll be taking the angle of what Botkeeper means for accounting firms rather than small businesses, even though, at its core, “Botkeeper is an outsourced bookkeeping solution for accounting firms and small to mid-sized companies”, according to Enrico.

Through a combination of humans and technology, Botkeeper will take bookkeeping off of your firm’s plate.

This can help serve two purposes:

  1. It can help augment your current staff by taking them away from lower-level tasks, such as reconciliations and transaction processing, to instead focusing on more value-added stuff.
  2. It can help add capacity to your firm’s team.

Finding a good bookkeeper is something that many firms complain about, so Botkeeper is attempting to solve the problem of being able to get bookkeeping help on-demand. So instead of hiring a bookkeeper on your team, you can simply outsource things over to them.

Who’s Using Botkeeper?

During the interview, I identified two kinds of firms that may be suitable for Botkeeper:

  1. Ones that already have a bookkeeping service offering in place
  2. Those who don’t have one in place but are looking to add one

I asked Enrico which firms this is better suited for. His answer was that the former is likely the better option as those will see a greater ROI. This is due to the time and cost savings that these firms would see amongst their current staff.

In terms of firm size sweet spot, he says that you should have at least 1-2 people on your team doing bookkeeping in order to see an ROI and that they are servicing firms all the way up to the top 100 in the US. They are not looking to work with top 50 firms at the moment. By the same token, sole proprietors are likely not a good fit for them either.

Also, while not discussed in the interview, I’m aware of firms not only in the US using Botkeeper, but also in Canada (though there may be some limitations with the latter).

What Can Botkeeper Do?

Here are some of the things that the platform can handle:

  • Cash or accrual bookkeeping (bank & credit card reconciliations + transaction reconciliations)
  • Paying bills
  • Production of financial statements
  • Invoicing
  • Managing payroll through one of their partners (ex: Gusto, ADP, etc.) and booking the entries
  • Certain adjusting journal entries
  • Catchup bookkeeping work

On the last point, Enrico says that this item is more human-assisted than the other services, but also says that their technology does a good job at identifying anomalies and variances in a set of messy books in order to help point the human in the right direction when it comes to fixing them.

In terms of things that Botkeeper can’t do:

  • Taxes
  • Reviewed or audited financial statements

Enrico was also clear to say that Botkeeper is not a replacement for an accountant. It will not handle year-end work, it will not create supporting schedules to the books (ex: depreciation, deferred revenues, etc) and things of that nature.

He believes that their platform is a good complement to an accountant.

How Does it Work?

As mentioned above, Botkeeper is partially comprised of bookkeepers paired with a technology platform that uses machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to help automate parts of the bookkeeping process.

Their team is split between the Philippines and the US. Most of the lower-level work is shipped overseas, but from what I know, they have members of their team in the US overseeing some of the bookkeeping as well.

What Botkeeper is providing you with is the service delivery along with the corresponding technology stack required to deliver the work.

Firms that sign up with them will get access to a while-labeled platform that allows them to see and track the work being done and to communicate with their clients on bookkeeping related tasks.

Botkeeper is a layer that will sit on top of QuickBooks Online and Xero, so it will not replace those apps. But it will replace other tools that your firm may use to handle your clients’ books, such as Hubdoc or Receipt Bank.

Their app is aggregating data into Botkeeper in a number of ways:

  • It connects to QBO/Xero to pull in the relevant transaction data
  • Your clients will also be able to forward in their expenses to Botkeeper via email or through their smartphone app
  • They are able to pull bank statements into the app

Once the data is aggregated, the system will apply the proper accounting treatments (ie. transaction coding) using ML/AI in what Enrico describes as something more accurate than a human. The humans/bookkeepers on their team will then verify the accuracy of the system’s treatment and handle any corrections and deal with exceptions identified.

From there, the system will push this data back over to QBO/Xero where the reconciliations will occur. My understanding is that the reconciliations are done by a human.

While the Botkeeper team is using the platform to get the work done, their app is also used for:

  • Communicating with your clients on bookkeeping matters
  • Tracking tasks & deadlines associated with the tasks outsourced to Botkeeper
  • Communicating with the Botkeeper team for bookkeeping related matters (ex: sometimes they’ll have questions about the books and vice versa)
  • File sharing

For collaborations with your clients and the Botkeeper team, you would do it in the app here:

Here’s what your Botkeeper home page will look like:

botkeeper app

And here’s a view of the dashboards tab:

To be clear, your firm is the one that manages client relations. Botkeeper is generally not involved here.

Their platform also connects to around 75 other apps (Bill.com, Gusto, Stripe, etc.) at the time of writing depending on what workflows they’ll look to automate. With so many cloud accounting apps available (I list 147 of the best ones here), this is great to see.

Getting Started with Botkeeper

Firms are looking at a 20-day time-to-value when onboarding to the platform according to Enrico. This means that by day 20 your firm will start to see work coming off of your team’s plate.

In order to get there, Botkeeper will analyze your client portfolio and group them into buckets according to 3 levels: industries, size & scope (ie. type of work required).

Based on the groupings, they’ll onboard thing one bucket at a time.

During the onboarding process, they’ll understand the clients and the corresponding nuances of each client. Following that, they’ll create a playbook for each client for how they’ll need to be handled.

Before getting started, Enrico also recommends that you:

  • Ensure that the clients you want to transfer over to them are already on QBO/Xero
  • Have someone in the firm that can oversee and manage the Botkeeper deployment and that can dedicate the time to do so

What Does it Cost?

Accounting firms can ignore the pricing advertised on the website as this is retail direct-to-consumer pricing. Firms will be provided with wholesale pricing.

Pricing will differ depending on the level of service required.

To get an idea of the different levels of service (ignore the price shown), here’s an example of the tiers they have available presently:

botkeeper price

During the sales process, Botkeeper will take a look at you and your clients’ needs in order to prepare a fixed-price quote.

Is Botkeeper Right For You?

With good bookkeepers becoming more and more difficult to find these days, I believe that Botkeeper provides a viable option to those look to outsource bookkeeping assistance. As with everything, it helps to compare to a few other options and choose the one you feel more comfortable with.

Listen to the Full Interview & Subscribe to the Podcast: