Comparing Startup Bookkeeping Services

Mandi Rogers
5 min read
Comparing Startup Bookkeeping Services

As a startup founder, you have a lot on your plate, from developing your product to building your team. One important thing that often gets forgotten is your finances. Keeping track of your finances is crucial to your success but can be challenging to do on your own. That’s where startup bookkeeping services come into play. 

Startup bookkeeping services take care of all the financial tracking and reporting so you can focus on other things. When it’s time to move on from doing your own bookkeeping, there are internal bookkeepers, traditional accounting firms, or outsourcing to technology-based services like Zeni. 

So, which one is best? This article will cover the pros and cons of all three options.

The Importance Of Bookkeeping 

For any business, large or small, bookkeeping is essential for measuring financial performance and informing strategic decision-making. This is especially true for startups with limited resources who understand the importance of carefully tracking their progress.

Bookkeeping entails tracking, recording, and organizing all financial records for the company. Bookkeepers are responsible for various tasks, including recording transactions, preparing financial statements, managing accounts payable vs receivable, and tax preparation. In many cases, they advise businesses on financial matters and help them make sound financial decisions.

Bookkeeping Services For Startups

For startups, the bookkeeping game is slightly different, especially in terms of paying for services. Budgets for startups aren’t typically flush with extra cash to hire internally for additional departments, like finance.

Many startups turn to bookkeeping software like Quickbooks* as a money-saving alternative, but there are limitations. As a company grows, bookkeeping needs often surpass what software can offer. When you reach that point in your business, numerous outsourced and in-house startup bookkeeping services exist. In this blog, we’ll be focusing on the following:

  1. In-house bookkeeping
  2. Traditional finance firms
  3. Alternative outsourced bookkeeping services

Each accounting service offers business owners insight into their finances with accurate record keeping for a price. Below, we’ll comb through the details of all three options so you can make an educated decision for your growing business.

In-house Bookkeeping

Plenty of founders opt to do their own bookkeeping in addition to all their other duties until their company hits a certain point of growth. At that point, founders must look at their budget and choose between in-house or outsourced bookkeeping services. 

In-house means your company hires an employee or team to perform day-to-day bookkeeping and accounting responsibilities. While in-house is the most conventional, this method has pros and cons.


  • Context — Will have first-hand insight into every aspect of your business
  • Adaptability — Grows with the needs of your business 


  • Inconsistency — Multiple tools and people working the same numbers
  • Error-Prone — Manual entry and human reliant
  • Chaotic Work Flow — High number of pass-throughs for Excel sheets and essential documents
  • Slow Return — Monthly books typically take 60 days or more to close, leaving you flying blind on major business decisions
  • Outdated Mindsets — Some experienced bookkeepers push back against learning new tools
  • Harder To Manage Solo — Company growth leads to larger amounts of transactions needing attention and accurate recording


  • The cost of an internal financial team starts at $500,000 per year 
  • Traditional finance teams might include an accountant, controller, AP and AR specialists, team lead, tax CPA, tax preparer, payroll manager, team lead CFO, and FP&A manager 

Traditional Finance Firm

Instead of hiring internally, businesses can opt to outsource their bookkeeping needs. 

A traditional finance firm is one kind of outsourced bookkeeping option that you might choose. These financial institutions provide business bookkeeping and accounting services through a staff of CPAs and bookkeepers who support businesses on a contractual basis. Some firms also offer advisory services, such as financial planning, consulting, and tax services. Finance firms provide a wider variety of services but often have a higher price tag.


  • Flexibility — A la carte options are often available
  • Scalable — Can grow depending on business needs
  • Varied Expertise — Access to a team of professionals with different backgrounds and experiences
  • Networking — Connections to VC networks and events if you’re working with a firm catering to startups


  • Removed — Not directly involved with the day-to-day of your business
  • Slow — Managing other clients can result in meeting rescheduling or delays on your books
  • Manual — Working by hand or even with software to input data can lead to human errors and fractured workflow
  • Compliance — Sometimes, there is an extra charge for GAAP compliance

Price: Average range of $325 - $2,500 per month

Alternative Outsourced Bookkeeping Services

In addition to using a traditional finance firm, there are several other ways to outsource your bookkeeping. 

One of those ways is by bringing on a technology-based outsourced company. These companies provide more advanced bookkeeping methods using state-of-the-art technology, software and AI techniques to eliminate problems associated with remote outsourcing. Software automates time-consuming bookkeeping responsibilities, and as the client, you’ll have access to your company’s information at your fingertips.

Freelance bookkeepers are another option, but you can incur the same issues with an in-house bookkeeper. Anyone you hire may be stuck on traditional methods requiring time-consuming tasks. A freelance bookkeeper may also be working with multiple companies at a time, slowing down communication when you need answers to time-sensitive business questions.

What Zeni Offers

As a founder, you constantly have to focus on multiple areas of the business. Bookkeeping and accounting shouldn’t have to be one of them.

At Zeni, we combine the most advanced bookkeeping technology as an outsourced service for startup founders looking to lift the weight of company bookkeeping off their shoulders. We provide bookkeeping services with add-ons, including tax preparation and all-inclusive CFO services for startups.

At Zeni, we offer: 

  • AI-Powered — AI and machine learning combined with a 24/7 human touch automate the work and provide real-time visibility into company finances 
  • Real-Time Financial Insights — We close your books daily vs. monthly so you have more real-time insights.
  • Comprehensive Access to your financial information and functions at any time from anywhere via the Zeni Dashboard.
  • Open, Quick Communication Always-on, direct contact to your Zeni finance team.
  • Startup and SaaS Focus — Hands-on experience with startup budgets and needs beyond bookkeeping, including tax services, pitch deck preparation, and board meeting preparation. 
  • Audit Ready GAAP compliant accrual accounting, AP/AR and controller services included in our standard plan
  • More Integrations Seamless integration with popular accounting software like Quickbooks* and most banks
  • Startup-friendly Baseline Packages — Pricing based on your company’s total expenses

Real-time financial reporting is a huge benefit when startups go a mile a minute. Learn more about our outsourced bookkeeping services and what we can do for you.

*Quickbooks is a partner of Zeni.

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