If you’re a CPA firm looking to outsource your bookkeeping, you’ll want to check out this post on the 7 different options for outsourced bookkeeping for CPAs.

In this article, I’ll run through some of the more modern options that might make the most sense for your firm at the moment.

Check it out:

Outsourced Bookkeeping for CPAs Terminology

Before continuing, there are 3 terms that I want to briefly define which will have an impact on the option you select.

Each has their own pros & cons.

Offshoring:

Here you are moving business processes to another country, typically one with a lower labor cost structure. What makes offshoring unique is that you essentially maintain full control over how the process is handled. When you offshore, you are hiring someone else in another country and they become your “employee” through the help of a third-party.

Instead of hiring a bookkeeper in Canada or the US, you might instead offshore the complete role and hire someone in the Philippines.

Outsourcing:

This is when you engage the services of a third-party organization to manage a process for you. You put your trust in this organization to manage the process in the way that they see fit with the work being completed by who they see fit. Outsourcing doesn’t necessarily need to take place in another country.

Here, bookkeeping functions are transferred to an organization and they divvy up the work the way they want to internally.

Onshoring:

Similar to offshoring, though the role remains in the country you reside in.

Options for Outsourced Bookkeeping for CPAs

TOA Global

toa global outsourced bookkeeping for cpas

TOA Global is one of the leaders in the accounting “outsourcing” (in quotes, because technically they offshore) world and they are quite popular with a lot of virtual firms. In fact, you often see them at conferences like Xerocon and QuickBooks Connect.

As their website states, they have almost 1,600 people on their team, deal with over 500 firms, and have 9 different offices.

The work is performed in the Philippines, but they also have offices in the US and just recently in Canada.

When you offshore, you get to pick who you want from the available pool of talent and you can then train them on your specific processes.

What I like is that they are up to speed a lot of the modern accounting software options out there, so if you’re a cloud accounting firm, this might be a good option.

Also, they can handle more than just outsourced bookkeeping for CPAs. They can also handle other aspects of the accounting cycle if you need. Just keep in mind that you might need to train them on some of your tax laws depending on where you’re located.

As you are hiring someone offshore, you’ll certainly pay less than what you would onshore, though TOA Global is also not the cheapest option out of the ones on this list.

Botkeeper

Botkeeper is a newer upstart based in the US and is part of the new accounting tech startups that I’ve often written about.

Their bookkeeping team is located in the Philippines though I’d say the model more resembles outsourcing rather than offshoring.

Botkeeper handles the books on Xero or QuickBooks Online.

What’s interesting about Botkeeper is that they don’t just provide your CPA firm with outsourced bookkeeping assistance, but an entire software platform (pictured below) to go along with it. The platform has features that allow you and your firm to automate the bookkeeping process, to track the work and to collaborate with the Botkeeper team.

botkeeper outsourced bookkeeping for cpas

The other interesting thing is that you don’t have to worry about Botkeeper starting to offer other services down the road, thereby encroaching in the work that your firm does. They are firmly centered around helping you get rid of the bookkeeping work that you don’t want to do.

They’re mainly focused in the US, though they do support some Canadian firms as well.

I had the chance to interview Botkeeeper’s CEO and I wrote up a pretty extensive article on how their service works.

Bench

Bench is another accounting tech startup. Based in Canada but exclusively servicing small businesses and firms in the US.

One of the big differences between Bench and some of the others is that they use their proprietary bookkeeping software to handle the books. So if you’re looking for outsourced bookkeeping to be handled on Xero or QBO, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

You’ll notice on their website that they have an accountants partnership program, which to me, tends to feel like it’s geared towards smaller tax shops:

bench outsourced bookkeeping for cpas

The copy in the image above tends to confirm this. And based on what I know about Bench (mostly cash-basis accounting, focusing on smaller businesses and some pretty basic reporting), I would wager that’s the case.

That being said, their pricing is favorable and could be a worthy look.

Their partnership model takes 2 approaches:

  1. A referral arrangement where they can work directly with your clients
  2. A white-label solution where they can work on the back-end and you can handle the client relationship

Paro

paro

Paro is a bit different than the other options listed here.

They’re an online network of accountants, bookkeepers & tax experts that your firm can plug into to source talent on-demand.

Everyone is based in the US, so it’s certainly more in line with onshoring.

And while they can help with long term staffing needs for your firm, they also have a large focus on helping you with your interim needs if you’re in a jam.

Like Uber, they act a bit like a match-making service where they help you fill a talent gap on-demand using their available pool of talent.

After a brief consultation call, Paro will match-make your needs to an expert on their platform.

Following that, you’ll get a price and a scope of work for the help you’re looking for.

Upwork

Approach with caution.

While you can get some really cheap outsourced bookkeeping for CPAs with Upwork, I’ve never seen anything good come out of it. In fact, I’ve seen many disasters!

Upwork is a platform to find and hire freelancers, including bookkeepers.

I’m not saying there are no good bookkeeping freelancers on the platform. But you generally get what you pay for.

QuickBooks Live

quickbooks live

Here’s an interesting option for firms that might be heavy in the QuickBooks ecosystem.

QuickBooks Live is a pretty new experiment by Intuit which I covered in my wrap-up of the last QuickBooks Connect conference.

It’s slightly controversial as the software provider is now getting into the services game as well. But at the same time, it also gives another option for outsourced bookkeeping for CPAs.

To be clear, QB Live is targeting small businesses, not firms.

From a consumer standpoint, it works just like Uber. You connect to their platform, answer a few questions and they connect you with a live bookkeeper to help out with the bookkeeping.

Nothing is advertised online about how they can help firms, though, when I attended QuickBooks Connect, the session on QB Live said they were getting requests from firms who wanted to outsource their bookkeeping, so it might be an option to speak with them about it.

D&V Philippines

d&v philippines

While there are a ton of outsourcing options out there (and I certainly am leaving quite a few out!), I wanted to briefly mention D&V Philippines. They’re an outsourcing operation based out of the Philippines that has been in the cloud accounting space for many years.

In addition to bookkeeping, they can help you with some of your other accounting needs as well.

And while I won’t comment on pricing here, they are quite competitive.

When it comes to outsourced bookkeeping for CPAs, you might want to add them to the evaluation.

The Best Outsourced Bookkeeping for CPAs Option

The answer will come down to you, which will depend on:

  • Price
  • Whether you want onshore, offshore or outsourcing
  • Which vendor you connect best with and trust most (obviously)

Hopefully, the above provides your firm with some insight into some of the more modern options available when it comes to offloading the bookkeeping in your firm.

Good luck!


Ryan Lazanis

I’m Ryan Lazanis. I’m a CPA by trade but definitely don’t consider myself a normal accountant. I identify more with being an entrepreneur and I love disruptive technologies and business models. My aim is to help modernize the old, traditional accounting profession by giving firms the tools they need to modernize. Each week I send off a curated newsletter recapping the top 5 things on the internet affecting your modern firm. Click here to subscribe to my Future Firm Top 5 Weekly newsletter today!