Keep in mind that billing rates and fees will vary depending on numerous factors, including education, certifications, experience and more. These survey results are merely a straw poll of accounting professionals intended to provide some insight into industry rates.
Designation of Survey Respondents
As we start looking at the results of the survey, it is helpful to keep in mind the respondents who completed the survey. As you can see in Figure 1 below, 59% identified themselves as a bookkeeper and 37% an accountant.
As you can see in Figure 2, the survey results show that hourly billing remains the most frequently used billing method. However fixed fees and value pricing seem to be increasing as billing methods for accounting professionals. Changes in technology allow us to improve our efficiency and productivity and the hourly billing model is no longer recommended and should be replaced with other billing methods.
Hourly Billing Rates
In Figures 3-5, you see the ranges of hourly billing rates for accounting/bookkeeping, payroll and QuickBooks® troubleshooting/consulting. In future blog posts, we’ll dive deeper into the results surrounding billing rates including by geographic area.
Fixed Rates – Fictional Client Scenarios
Based on feedback from previous surveys, we changed the question for fixed fees. This year, to provide better results and comparability, three fictional client scenarios were used with the results provided below.
Piano Service Business
A piano service business provides piano tuning, moving and lessons operating as a sole proprietor. There is no inventory or job costing, and the company operates on a cash basis. The client enters invoices to customers and payments received or sales receipts. There is one checking account with about 250 transactions per month. The company uses a debit card or make online payments for most purchases. As the accountant, you are responsible for ensuring the transactions are entered and reconciling the bank account. Financial statements are not necessary for any third parties, and the business keeps business and personal activity separate.
Bicycle Retail Store
A local bicycle retail store sells bikes and accessories, and provides repair services. The store uses QuickBooks, along with a basic cash drawer; the store is entering daily sales receipts in QuickBooks. They deposit the cash and checks received to the bank account daily, and post credit card payments received from customers (entered on the daily sales receipt) into Undeposited funds.
You, as the accountant, enters the deposits to match the actual bank deposits less fees. You will enter bills and manage accounts payable printing checks (bill payments) for the client to review and sign. There are about 50 bills per month ,with about half of them for the purchase of inventory (but normally only about 3-5 lines per bill with inventory). You also reconcile the bank account monthly (do not consider payroll — average fees for payroll are in another question). Financial statements are not needed for third parties and the statements do not accrue expenses monthly. The business is an LLC taxed as a sole proprietor, and they keep business and personal separate.
What would your fee be for payroll services: processing paychecks, tax deposits, filings and annual W-2s, and other related items? For hourly employees, the time is entered by the workers or the client (i.e. you don’t have to enter timesheets).
Keep in mind these are just some of the initial survey results. Share your thoughts and comments below, and watch for future blog posts with more details and a deeper dive into average billing rates, billing practices and more.