Buyer Beware: If an Accounting Service Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is

Perhaps you have seen the ads on Facebook or other social media sites offering bookkeeping for $150 a month. You think, “Yeah, I would love to have my books done if that’s all it will cost me!”

However, as always, when looking for an accounting service, you have to read the small print. What seems like a good deal may not meet your needs or your expectations.

Most of these type of sites provide little more than data entry. Notice the statement in the fine print, “We’ll give you tax-ready statements that you can give to your CPA to prepare your taxes.” This tells you that you are not getting everything you need. You will still need to hire a CPA.

Proprietary Accounting Software

The software these types of companies use is usually proprietary accounting software. This means it was developed exclusively for the company offering the service and it won’t integrate with the software you are currently using. They will only be able to send you reports and statements with the figures. If you want to make adjustments and changes to the data, you will have to reenter the data into your own accounting program.

If you want to sign up for one of these bookkeeping services, be aware that you will still need a CPA and/or a tax preparer to help you navigate through the rocky, shark-infested waters of business finance. You can pay someone a monthly fee to provide a small part of what you need or you can pay a little more to get everything all in one place.

You Need More than Data Entry

If you are operating a business, you need more than data entry. You need someone who will reconcile your bank statements, manage your cash flow, and advise you on the tax code. No one is going to depreciate your assets at a base price level. A true financial management service may cost a little more but they will provide a lot more.

Before you hire a bookkeeper, you should have a clear answer to the question, “What type of financial services do I need? How can I manage my finances to reach the next level of growth in my business?”

Once these questions are answered to your satisfaction, seek out a service that can provide what you need. Find someone who will not only enter the figures into a spreadsheet, but will do the financial analysis and provide the information you need to make wise business decisions. You want more than just a sheet of numbers, but someone that will explain what the math means.

 Questions to Ask a Financial Services Provider

Here are some of the questions you should ask a financial services provider:

  • Can I access my data 24/7 or do I only get the reports you send me?
  • Is there any kind of financial coaching where I can call and ask questions about taxes, payroll, or planning for future expansions?
  • Do your bookkeepers understand my business? Will they be able to warn me if I make a financial move that adversely affects my business?

What are the additional fees I will have pay any services that aren’t covered in the basic monthly service subscription?

What you probably want is someone who will be a true advisor and partner for your finances. You may need to find a service provider who will function as a “virtual CFO” for your company.

Remember, you get what you pay for!

The Bottom Line

When it comes to financial services, trying to find the cheapest option may ultimately cost you more than you can afford.

Your Turn

Have you ever been disappointed by something that sounded too good to be true? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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