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I'm deciding on an accountant/bookkeeping provider, and don't know what 'going' rates are. I'd appreciate if any of you can share what you pay - while also commenting on where your accountant's practice is? (I know that these things vary by region and will try to take things into consideration.) I'm especially interested in whether you pay a flat rate per month, or by the hour.

Thank you,

Womanontheverge
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I'm starting a small business, and I pay my accountant a flat fee of $50/month. This gives me unlimited consultations and help with my taxes.

PrrpleGrrl
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I have a small business with annual revenues of around $2m. We pay our accountant $5,200 per year which includes unlimited consultation, corporate taxes and personal taxes for the two company owners.

Hope this helps!
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I keep my own records and have just employed an accountant to do my taxes. I give all the information, in nice, neat columns on an excel spreadsheet to my accountant. I pay < $500 for my taxes to be completed.

L
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Thanks RHuntMes, L, and PrrplGrl,

I guess what I should have asked is whether you think $25/hour is a fair price for bookkeeping, including setting up the books and preparing the schedule C, and potentially quarterly sales tax returns. This work would be supervised by a CPA, who's time is included at the same rate. I don't anticipate a large volume of entries - perhaps an hour or so per month.

Womanontheverge
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$25 an hour is cheap, at least around here.

I don't pay quarterly. My dh has a "regular" job and we have adjusted his withholding so that it equals the amount that we paid last year. You avoid penalties if you pay in over the year the same amount that you owed last year. If your income increases, or deductions decrease, you will likely have to pay additionally in April. We plan for that, and I avoid paying someone to do my quarterly returns.

I am inclined to do my own paperwork (tracking my expenses and miles) and see my favorite accountant annually. I pay more an hour...o' boy, do I!

L
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$25 per hour seems eminently reasonable!
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$25 per hour seems eminently reasonable!
.
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You get what you pay for. I pay my part time CPAs 30-35 per hour and that doesn't just include "charge time' (billable, but continuing education (sign up fees are about 1100 per individual plus time and at least 40 hrs per year to keep CPA license active), holiday (apx 4 hrs per holiday), rent , tax research service (about 8000 per year), tax and accounting programs (we aren't talking turbo tax) about 13000 per year. Then there is telephone, fax, utilities, computers (major upgrade at least once per year), etc.
A rule of thumb that has stood the test of time is you should bill out at least 3 times the hourly cost of an employee.
Just a thought.
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<$25 per hour seems eminently reasonable!>

Huh! Accountants in the US seem much much cheaper than they are in the UK!

Lynn
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The head CPA at my firm charges $175 an hour, with underlings going for anywhere from $50-$150 per hour, so if the person is any good, you're getting a deal.

--Newsman
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I guess what I should have asked is whether you think $25/hour is a fair price for bookkeeping, including setting up the books and preparing the schedule C, and potentially quarterly sales tax returns.


Seems very low to me. I wouldn't want a $25/hr accountant handling my business matters.

At the rule-of-thumb for determining fees that has been discussed on this board previously, $25/hr equates to $25,000/year. That's low for professional services - for that matter, it's low for many low-skill services.

ShelbyBoy
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At the rule-of-thumb for determining fees that has been discussed on this board previously, $25/hr equates to $25,000/year. That's low for professional services - for that matter, it's low for many low-skill services.

Hi, I just want to make sure that I'm clear on your statement. I know that the self-employed have to bill out at a higher rate than I might expect because of the number of unbillable hours and whatnot. But, from what you say, $2/hr. billable equates to less than $1/hr. fulltime ordinary. Is it really that bad?

¤ Daniel the Suddenly Hoping Not To Contract ¤
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Hi, I just want to make sure that I'm clear on your statement. I know that the self-employed have to bill out at a higher rate than I might expect because of the number of unbillable hours and whatnot. But, from what you say, $2/hr. billable equates to less than $1/hr. fulltime ordinary. Is it really that bad?


Take a look at this post I wrote on the Webmaster's Board. If you have further questions, come on back and we'll discuss it -
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=19154431


ShelbyBoy
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Take a look at this post I wrote on the Webmaster's Board.

In other words, yes, a contractor or self-employed person should expect about an hour of unbillable non-freetime per hour of billable worktime and charge accordingly. Thanks! :)

¤ Daniel ¤
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ShelbyBoy -

I noticed one item you left off of your non-billable list: "Time spent posting on the Fool" :) Or have you found a way to count that as billable time?

I will agree with your statement, though, that when you work for yourself, you should expect to work less than 40 billable hours a week. Lately, I've been blessed with a lot of work, so my percentages have been better, but there was a time when I would be happy to get 50% billable time.

Bob
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