GAAP accounting standards may seem intimidating, but they're an important step in helping startups lay a solid financial foundation. Why GAAP for startups? Learn more here.
August 28, 2020
The price you pay to outsource your bookkeeping can end up being an expensive surprise each month—but it doesn’t have to be. To ensure you get the level of service you need and the value you were expecting, consider how different solutions calculate their bookkeeping prices, and what the fee includes before you sign up.
As you’re evaluating bookkeeping service packages, we’d like to show you what makes Zeni’s price packages different from other bookkeeping solutions. We are not a traditional finance firm, and our service plans aren’t traditional either. Zeni is a full-service finance automation platform that offers bookkeeping and accounting services for startups and small businesses. In addition to accurate, fast, daily bookkeeping to GAAP standards, you get a dedicated finance concierge and access to a real-time finance dashboard displaying your financial data in intuitive, easy-to-understand reports. Keep reading to learn more about Zeni’s pricing structure and the value we deliver—and how it stacks up to traditional bookkeeping price packages and services.
Each bookkeeping solution includes a slightly different range of services, but any bookkeeping expert you work with should maintain accurate, up to date records of all your company’s financial activities using accounting software, including daily transactions, income, and expenses. A bookkeeper may also take care of day-to-day financial functions like accounts payable and receivable, handle the reconciliation of your payroll and bank accounts, and produce monthly financial statements.
Traditionally, bookkeeping services pricing is based on a predetermined hourly rate. The total amount you end up paying each month is calculated from the number of hours the bookkeeper spends managing your finances.
The time your bookkeeping takes (and therefore the amount it costs) depends on the number of financial transactions you have and the complexity of the work. If there are lots of transactions for the bookkeeper to record, it will likely take many billable hours to make sure everything is properly categorized, reconciled, and entered into your accounting software. Likewise, the more complex your finances are, the longer your bookkeeping will take. There are a range of factors that impact the complexity of your finances, including how you receive your revenue (for example, whether it’s through automated recurring charges or manual invoicing) and the number of bank accounts and credit card accounts you use; in fact, some bookkeeping services charge you an extra fee for each additional bank or credit card account they have to manage.
Most bookkeeping services give you a ballpark estimate of your monthly cost based on a scope of work, but it’s only that—an estimate. Since you won’t know in advance how many hours of bookkeeping service will be needed to manage your finances, it’s hard to predict exactly what your monthly bill will be with this kind of price package.
Instead of a fluctuating monthly bill based on hourly rates, with Zeni you pay a fixed fee for your monthly bookkeeping package, no matter how complex your finances are, the volume of transactions you have or how many bank or credit card accounts you use. Zeni supports unlimited transactions from unlimited accounts for a flat monthly fee. The price you pay is based on how much you spend to run your business each month, so whether you’re a small startup spending $20,000 per month, or you’re a growth stage startup spending an excess of $1 million each month, we’ll calculate a flat fee that is proportionate to your monthly business expenses.
Having a set price makes it easier to budget for your bookkeeping costs; with the Zeni pricing structure you’ll always know your monthly fee in advance, even as your business grows and your operating costs change. You can choose a monthly, quarterly, or annual subscription, whichever suits your business best.
We charge a set monthly subscription fee rather than billing on an hourly basis because, unlike other finance and accounting firms, we don’t spend time doing repetitive tasks manually. Instead, we use artificial intelligence and machine learning to help automate bookkeeping processes. This means we can complete your bookkeeping tasks up to ten times faster than firms that handle everything manually. And although our processes are powered by AI, you’ll still get the benefits of human expertise; our team of finance experts bring 100+ years of experience to Zeni and oversee everything from data entry, to monthly reporting, to bill pay and invoicing, and more. Working with Zeni gives you 24/7 access to our team of experienced bookkeepers, accountants, tax advisors, CFOs, and financial planning and analysis experts.
We offer three price plans to choose from depending on the level of service required to fit your business’ needs: Bookkeeping, Full Service, or CFO. For each of these plans, the price you pay will be calculated based on your monthly business expenses.
|Bookkeeping Plan||Full Service Plan||CFO Plan|
|Pricing||Plans start at $199 per month||Plans start at $349 per month||Plans start at $749 per month|
|Real-time AI insights||✅||✅||✅|
|Monthly financial reports, GAAP (P&L, Balance Sheet & Cash Flow Statement)||✅||✅||✅|
|Receipt collection and management||✅||✅||✅|
|Payroll and balance sheet reconciliation||✅||✅||✅|
|Connections to banks and credit cards||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Chart of accounts||Custom||Custom||Custom|
|Managed bill pay for vendors||❌||✅||✅|
|Managed invoicing for customers||❌||✅||✅|
|Managed employee reimbursements||❌||✅||✅|
|Complex subsidiary structure||❌||✅||✅|
|Forecasting and projections||❌||❌||✅|
|Budgeting (planned vs. actuals)||❌||❌||✅|
|Board meeting attendance||❌||❌||✅|
|Investor deck review and feedback||❌||❌||✅|
|Additional Services (for additional fees)|
|Tax preparation (annual federal, local & state tax returns)||Flat rate starting at $2000/year||Flat rate starting at $2000/year||Flat rate starting at $2000/year|
|R&D Tax Credit||2.5% of your total qualifying R&D expenses||2.5% of your total qualifying R&D expenses||2.5% of your total qualifying R&D expenses|
|*All Zeni plans include advanced bookkeeping services. Some finance firms don’t include a customized chart of accounts or departments and classes in all their plans. However, we’ve seen firsthand that if you don’t have a finance professional handling these functions from the beginning, this can impact your business financial reporting and tax credits/write-offs down at year end. We believe that it’s important for every startup to have these elements of their bookkeeping and accounting systems set up properly from day one, so comprehensive bookkeeping is the basis of what we do.|
Around 70% of the startup founders and business owners we work with previously used a traditional finance firm to handle their bookkeeping and accounting. Many of these startups find that their monthly bill with Zeni is only 30-50% of what they were paying for bookkeeping billed by the hour. But the main reasons our customers switch to Zeni are the additional value our service provides, and the benefits afforded by our finance automation platform.
With some basic bookkeeping solutions, you may find that you still have to supplement their services with a lot of founder oversight or in-house admin support. That’s not the case with Zeni. Zeni helps you unlock the value of your team by taking all the finance tasks off their plate. We handle time-consuming functions like invoicing, bill payment, and receipt management, freeing up your team members to focus on key projects instead of bookkeeping paperwork.
Customers find our service 10x faster and more convenient than other outsourced bookkeeping options thanks to our AI-powered process and self-service finance dashboard. The Zeni dashboard gives you 24/7 access to real-time data, including vital metrics like your startup’s net burn, cash on hand, operating expenses, and cash zero date. Not only do you get a granular view of where your money is going, but you can get key insights within seconds.
For example, a common query for many startups is why their expenses increased in a particular month. With most bookkeeping services, you would need to specifically request this information, wait for someone on the team to respond, and then pay for the time they spent answering your query. With Zeni, you can go directly to your dashboard and immediately access the AI-powered insights you need, at no extra charge.
Does one of Zeni’s service plans sound like the right fit for your startup? If so, reach out to our team. We’d love to discuss our services in more detail and provide a quote for your business.