Bench.co is a subscription bookkeeping service that allows you to work with your own personal bookkeeper for one flat rate per month. They also provide tax filing services for an additional fee.
I switched over my bookkeeping to Bench in 2016 and haven't looked back. It's been trustworthy and has saved me a lot of time and money. Highly recommended.
I've always been better at making money than saving it. A huge part of saving money for business owners is ensuring that you're paying your taxes correctly. Failing to do this can lead to massive fines or unexpected bills from the IRS long after you spent the money that was supposed to be used on taxes. To avoid this, you need quality bookkeeping. I've found that with Bench.co, and I want to share with you why I recommend them in this quick Bench.co review.
My Painful Audit(s)
I'm no stranger to costly audits. Before I found Bench.co, I had been audited multiple times and each one was more painful than the last. A few thousand dollars here and $35,000 there...I can tell you from experience, there are few things as upsetting in business as this. If you've ever received an audit from the IRS, you know that it feels like a literal punch in the gut. The only feeling I can really compare it to would be playing high school football and being blindsided by a D1 commit. It takes the wind out of you (literally).
I finally I was done with this feeling, and I needed a better organization plan for my books. So, I turned to Bench.
How Bench Works
Bench provides you with a personal bookkeeper who manages every aspect of your bookkeeping.
They get the transactions from integrations you set up with your payment processors.
- Bank accounts
Your bookkeeper then organizes each transaction appropriately. If they have questions, they message you and provide you with an easy way to acknowledge any unknown transactions.
At the end of the year, you'll be provided with a year-end financial statement. You can hand this off to your CPA if you don't want Bench to file your taxes for you (which costs extra).
A Look Inside Bench
The Bench.co interface is very nice. It's easy to navigate and stores a lot of insightful data.
The main areas are...
- Reports (Income statement, balance sheet, Pulse report)
- Messages (communicating with your bookkeeper)
- Accounts (add or remove financial accounts)
Here's a peak inside of my account from 2016 (click on the image to expand on desktop to really see things).
It's easy to view monthly or yearly financial reports with a couple of clicks.
You can also easily upload documents as needed (tax returns, cash purchase receipts etc).
Communicating with your bookkeeper is also extremely simple thanks to their message portal inside the dashboard.
If your bookkeeper sees a charge that they don't recognize, you're provided with a simple widget to make notes about what the purchase was.
This has actually saved me a lot of money in the past due to charges that weren't approved.
Bench 5 Years Later
I haven't been audited since I transitioned to Bench and hired a real CPA to file my taxes.
For me, they've been fantastic, but I also don't recommend them to everybody. Here are the pros and cons of Bench.co and my thoughts on who should and shouldn't hire them.
Pros and Cons
Bench Bookkeeping FAQ
For bookkeeping, Bench costs between $249 and $399 (if paid annually). If you require specialized bookkeeping, it costs an additional $100/month. If you need historical bookkeeping, that price varies but starts at $299/month.
If you want Bench to also file your taxes, that costs extra and the price varies depending on many factors. It's convenient, but you can easily have a CPA file your taxes based off the Bench.co year end reports.
No, Bench uses their own proprietary bookkeeping platform.
You can track the payments for payroll and contract work but can't schedule payments, file quarterly and end of year forms or pay payroll tax.
You receive bookkeeping starting the day you join. Bench.co doesn't go backwards with your books unless you pay extra, so it's ideal to start using Bench at the start of your tax year.
Yes! Although it costs extra, Bench can go back in time and track previous months or even years of income and expenses for you. This is most useful if you're joining Bench late in the fiscal year and want to get everything documented for tax time.
Bench.co has been great for me, and it will be for many of you, too. If you're unhappy with your current bookkeeping solutions, I highly recommend giving them a test drive. Click here to start a free trial and see for yourself. You'll receive 30% off for your first 30 days.