Average Hourly Rate Bookkeeping Services: What to Expect

Average Hourly Rate Bookkeeping Services: What to Expect

Sebastien Prost, CPA

Determining the average hourly rate for bookkeeping services can help small businesses manage their finances more effectively. Bookkeepers typically charge between $30 and $110 per hour, depending on their expertise and location. This range can fluctuate based on various factors such as the complexity of tasks and the specific needs of the business.

For more specialized accounting services, Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) may charge between $150 and $450 per hour. This higher rate reflects the additional qualifications and expertise that CPAs bring to the table. Small business owners must weigh these costs when deciding on the right level of bookkeeping services for their needs.

Regional differences can also impact hourly rates. For instance, hiring an in-house bookkeeper in Vancouver might cost on average $25-30 per hour, while other regions may have different rates. Knowing these benchmarks can help businesses plan their bookkeeping budgets more accurately.

Key Takeaways

  • Bookkeepers charge $20 – $110 per hour.
  • CPAs charge $150 – $450 per hour.
  • Rates vary by region and task complexity.

Overview of Bookkeeping Services

Bookkeeping services involve recording and managing a business’s financial transactions. These services are essential for maintaining accurate financial records.

Common Tasks:

  • Recording daily transactions
  • Managing accounts payable and receivable
  • Preparing financial statements
  • Reconciling bank statements

Bookkeepers may use software like QuickBooks or Xero for these tasks. These tools help automate processes and ensure accuracy.

Types of Bookkeeping Services:

  1. Part-time Bookkeepers: Employed hourly, often between $20-$50 per hour. Ideal for small businesses with fewer transactions.
  2. Full-time Bookkeepers: Salary-based, typically $45,000+ annually. Suitable for large businesses needing constant support.
  3. External Bookkeeping Firms: Offer bundled services for a monthly fee. Costs range from $250 to $1,000+ depending on the service level.

Benefits of Different Models

Hourly Rate:

  • Flexibility: Pay only for the hours worked.
  • Detailed Tracking: Easier to see what’s being worked on.

Fixed Rate:

  • Simplicity: Predictable monthly costs.
  • Bundling: Often includes additional services.

Choosing the Right Service:
Depends on business size, complexity, and budget. Small businesses might benefit from part-time or hourly services, while larger businesses often need full-time support or an external firm for comprehensive management. Using software alongside these services can streamline bookkeeping processes efficiently.

Determining Factors for Average Hourly Rates

Experience Level: Bookkeepers with more experience typically charge higher rates. A beginner might charge $20 per hour while a seasoned bookkeeper in a big city could ask for $100+ per hour.

Location: Geographic location greatly impacts rates. Urban areas usually have higher costs compared to rural ones.

Certification: Credentials like Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) or specialized bookkeeping certifications can drive rates up. CPAs can charge between $200-$250 per hour, significantly higher than regular bookkeepers.

Services Offered: The complexity and range of services affect rates. Basic data entry might be on the lower end, whereas financial analysis or advising can command higher fees.

Industry: Bookkeepers working in specialized industries like finance or tech might charge more due to the niche knowledge required. They bring specific expertise that general bookkeepers might lack.

Demand and Supply: In areas with a high demand for bookkeeping services but limited supply, bookkeepers can charge more. Conversely, in areas with more competition, rates might be lower.

Company Size: Larger companies with more complex financial needs might need more hours of bookkeeping, allowing for volume-based discounts while still maintaining a high hourly rate.

Keeping these factors in mind helps understand why hourly rates for bookkeepers can vary widely from $20 to $100+ per hour.

Benchmark Hourly Rates for Bookkeeping Services

Bookkeeping services vary in hourly rates based on many factors.

In Canada, for instance, the average hourly rate for a bookkeeper stands at C$21.70. Some bookkeepers may charge as low as C$17.71 or as high as C$41.21 per hour.

Full Charge Bookkeepers often handle more complex tasks. Their rates are generally higher, averaging around C$26.27 per hour. Their rates can range from C$19 to C$36 per hour.

External Bookkeeping Services can cost anywhere from C$20 to C$50 an hour. These services are typically offered by firms that handle multiple clients simultaneously.

The cost for self-employed, part-time bookkeepers also falls within this range. However, hiring in-house bookkeepers for full-time positions can be significantly more expensive. Some businesses might pay up to $4,000 a month for these positions, plus additional overhead costs.

When considering bookkeeping services, it’s crucial to analyze these rates and match the budget accordingly. Employing a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for accounting tasks further increases costs, with rates between $150 and $450 per hour. This distinction is key as the complexity and time required for tasks can vary greatly.

Hourly Rate Range
C$17.71 – C$41.21
Full Charge Bookkeeper
C$19 – C$36
External Bookkeeping Service
C$20 – C$100+


Businesses should carefully consider these benchmarks before deciding on the type of bookkeeping service that best meets their needs.

Regional Variations in Bookkeeping Fees

Bookkeeping fees can vary widely depending on the region. This is due to differences in the cost of living, demand for services, and local business environments.

In urban areas, such as Toronto or Vancouver, bookkeepers often charge higher rates. This is because living and operating costs are higher.

For instance, an average rate in these cities may range between $40 to $60 per hour.

In contrast, rural areas might see lower fees. Here, bookkeepers could charge around $20 to $35 per hour. The lower overhead costs in these areas can contribute to these reduced rates.

In Canada:

  • Vancouver: Full-time bookkeeper’s average salary is approximately $47,000 annually.
  • Toronto: Rates can be slightly higher due to the city’s economic landscape.

Factors influencing these variations include the cost of living, competition among bookkeepers, and the local demand for bookkeeping services. By understanding these regional differences, businesses can better budget for their bookkeeping needs.

Bookkeeping Service Models and Pricing Structures

Bookkeeping services can be priced using various models. The three most common methods are hourly rate pricing, fixed-rate pricing, and value-based pricing.

Hourly Rate Pricing
Hourly rate pricing is straightforward. Bookkeepers charge an hourly fee for their services. This method is transparent and ensures clients pay only for the time spent on their work. According to recent data, the average hourly rate for a bookkeeper is around $21.

Fixed-Rate Pricing
Fixed-rate pricing involves setting a predetermined fee for specific services. This model benefits clients by providing predictable costs and helps bookkeepers by ensuring steady income. Fixed rates can be based on tasks such as monthly bookkeeping, tax preparation, or payroll services.

Value-Based Pricing
In value-based pricing, fees are determined based on the perceived value of the service to the client. This approach can lead to higher earnings for bookkeepers if they can demonstrate significant value. It requires an understanding of the client’s business and how the bookkeeping service adds value.

Table: Comparison of Pricing Models

Pricing Model
Hourly Rate
Charge by the hour
Transparent, easy to track
Set fee for specific services
Predictable costs, steady income
Fee based on perceived value
Potential for higher earnings, client-focused


Choosing the right pricing model depends on the bookkeeper’s business, the type of clients, and the services offered. Each model has its own benefits and can be tailored to meet specific needs.

Cost Considerations for Small Businesses

When considering the cost of bookkeeping for a small business, several factors come into play.

Types of Bookkeeping Services

Small businesses can choose from in-house, part-time, or external bookkeeping services:

  • In-house bookkeepers are full-time employees who manage books daily.
  • Part-time bookkeepers work fewer hours and can be more affordable for smaller firms.
  • External services or freelancers offer flexibility and specialized expertise.

Pricing Models

Bookkeeping services typically have different pricing models:

  • Hourly Rate: This is straightforward. The bookkeeper charges per hour.
  • Fixed Rate: A set fee for specific tasks or packages.

Consider the ongoing nature of your bookkeeping needs when selecting a pricing model.

Typical Costs

Here are some rough estimates:

  • In-house: $40,000 – $60,000 annually.
  • Part-time or Freelance: $20 – $50 per hour depending on expertise.
  • External Services: Often more variable, with some charging on a per-report basis.

Additional Factors

Other factors influence the cost:

  • Business size and complexity: More transactions and more complexity generally mean higher costs.
  • Frequency of Service: Regular maintenance vs. occasional help can affect pricing.

Budgeting Tips

To manage costs effectively:

  • Determine the level of service you need.
  • Get quotes from multiple service providers.
  • Consider the long-term benefits of accurate bookkeeping.

These considerations will help small businesses manage their bookkeeping expenses efficiently.

Technology and Software Costs in Bookkeeping

Technology in bookkeeping plays a big role in pricing services. Many bookkeepers now use software like QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks.

These tools can automate many tasks, making the work faster and more accurate.

However, these programs come with costs.

Software Subscription Fees

Most bookkeeping software requires a monthly or annual subscription. The costs can vary:

  • QuickBooks Online: $25 to $150 per month
  • Xero: $20 to $75 per month
  • FreshBooks: $15 to $50 per month

These fees depend on the features and the number of users.

Impact on Hourly Rates

As software automates tasks, bookkeepers may spend less time on each client. This can affect how they set their hourly rates. Some bookkeepers might lower their rates due to increased efficiency.

Training and Updates

Bookkeepers need to stay current with software updates and new features. This might involve extra costs for training and certification.

Cost vs. Benefit

While the initial cost of software can be high, the benefits often outweigh these expenses.

  • Time Savings: Faster task completion
  • Accuracy: Reduced errors
  • Client Satisfaction: Better service quality

Bookkeepers must carefully consider these costs when setting their prices. The right software can improve their services and justify higher rates.

How Expertise Influences Bookkeeping Rates

The expertise of a bookkeeper plays a significant role in determining their hourly rate. More experienced bookkeepers tend to charge higher rates due to their advanced skills and knowledge.

Hourly Rate Ranges Based on Experience:

  • Entry-Level Bookkeepers: Typically charge between $20-$25 per hour.
  • Mid-Level Bookkeepers: Usually charge between $30-$50 per hour.
  • Senior Bookkeepers: Often charge $60 per hour or more.

Experienced bookkeepers handle more complex financial tasks. They can manage extensive records and provide detailed financial analysis. This capability justifies their higher rates.

In contrast, bookkeepers with less experience may handle basic tasks like data entry and simple reconciliations. Their rates reflect the simpler nature of their work.

Specialized Services:

Bookkeeping services involving specialized tasks can command higher rates. These services include:

Each specialized service often requires specific knowledge or certifications. Bookkeepers offering these services usually have additional training and expertise.

Business owners should consider the level of expertise needed for their particular financial tasks. Investing in a more experienced bookkeeper can provide better financial insights and accuracy.

To summarize, expertise in bookkeeping not only enhances the quality of work but also impacts the rates charged. Businesses must weigh the benefits of higher expertise against the associated costs.

Planning Your Bookkeeping Budget

When planning a bookkeeping budget, it is essential to know the cost range for these services.

Hourly rates for bookkeepers typically range from $30 to $110. The price depends on the skill level and location of the bookkeeper. For more complex accounting tasks, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) might charge between $150 and $450 per hour.

There are different ways to structure payment. Hourly billing is the most common. The total fee depends on how many hours the bookkeeper spends on your work. Another option is a monthly service fee. This can provide a more predictable expense. Online bookkeeping services often offer this kind of pricing.

Service Type
Cost Range
$20/hr – $110/hr
$150/hr – $450/hr
In-house Bookkeeper (Annual)
$34,000 – $77,000


Hiring an in-house bookkeeper includes additional costs. These may include benefits, IT equipment, and payroll taxes. For example, the average annual salary for a full-time bookkeeper in Vancouver is $47,000.

Considering the business’s specific needs is key. Smaller businesses might require fewer hours of bookkeeping each month. In contrast, larger businesses might need a full-time bookkeeper or accounting team.

Allocate funds for these services based on the data provided. Consider the level of expertise required, the volume of transactions, and whether the services need to be available on-site or can be managed remotely.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section answers common questions about the average hourly rates for bookkeeping services in Canada. It covers rates for different levels of expertise and specific regions, helping you understand what to expect when hiring bookkeepers.

What is the typical hourly rate for a freelance bookkeeper in Canada?

Freelance bookkeepers in Canada generally charge between $30 and $60 per hour, depending on their experience and the complexity of the work. More experienced bookkeepers with specialized skills may charge higher rates.

How much should I expect to pay per hour for professional bookkeeping services in Toronto?

In Toronto, professional bookkeeping services usually cost between $45 and $80 per hour. This can vary based on the bookkeeper’s qualifications, the scope of services, and the company’s specific needs.

What hourly charges are associated with Quickbooks-certified bookkeepers?

QuickBooks-certified bookkeepers often charge higher rates due to their specialization. Typical rates range from $50 to $85 per hour. Certification indicates that they have passed specific exams and have knowledge of QuickBooks software, which can add value to their services.

What do entry-level bookkeepers earn on an hourly basis in Canada?

Entry-level bookkeepers in Canada typically earn between $18 and $25 per hour. This rate can vary depending on the region and the specific duties required by the employer.

Sebastien Prost, CPA

Written by Sebastien Prost, CPA

Seb Prost, a CPA with over 10 years of experience in taxation and accounting, offers a unique blend of insights from his time at the CRA and his experience in public practice. Originally from QC and now based in Nelson, BC, he specializes in guiding Canadian businesses for all of their accounting and taxation needs.

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