Are you at the point in your consulting or design business that your bookkeeping is taking up waaaaay too much time? Yep, I’ve been there, done that! A few years ago, when we’d grown SM+Co to an actual team, it became clear that we needed to find partners to help us out a bit. Notice I say “partners.”
I use that verbiage intentionally because many consultants and designers become enamored with the idea of outsourcing to cheap offshore folks they find on Upwork and similar sites and this is both morally problematic and generally ends in tears from a business perspective. Unfortunately, if you don’t take the time to form a quality working relationship with a professional service provider, you’re probably going to end up frustrated and disappointed.
One of the first things that I saw as an obvious place to take some stuff off our plates was bookkeeping. It’s tedious, boring and, honestly, stressful. We looked at a lot of options, and while I love shopping locally, I had a hard time finding any bookkeepers who were very online and tech-savvy, which is crucial, since we’re a 100% remote studio. So I looked at several online options. I quickly ruled out all the QuickBooks things because I hate QuickBooks (sorry not sorry) and finally found Bench.
Bench gives you a dedicated team who do your small business bookkeeping for you, an intuitive app to track your financials, and financial reports that make tax season easy.
Each month, your bookkeeper automatically import transactions from your bank and merchant processors. Then, your dedicated team of bookkeepers categorizes them for you. Plus, they create monthly financial statements for your business—so you can track where your money is going, and plan for growth.
The Bench app is intuitive—no tutorials necessary. Visual reporting lets you understand your finances at a glance, and you can message your bookkeeping team any time. Come year-end, a complete set of financial statements makes filing taxes easy. You’ll also get Pulse, a dashboard that monitors each transaction, account, and trend in real-time.
I happily used Bench for quite some time (I actually left their service last year because our business simplified, but if we went back to more custom work, I’d sign up again in a heartbeat) and the thing I loved was that my bookkeeper was great at explaining things to me, answering my questions and adjusting things when they weren’t quite right. (Online businesses have a lot of oddball stuff they deal with, so that’s to be expected—is that stock photo cost of service or marketing? Well, it depends. This is something your bookkeeper can help you figure out.)
Bottom line: Bench could end up saving you plenty of money and time. But, if you’re not sure, they offer a free trial. A team of Bench bookkeepers will complete one month of bookkeeping for you, so you can see what the experience is like, and decide whether Bench is a good choice for your business.