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2011 - 2013 Recommendations


Bookkeeper for non-profit

March 2013

Our small non-profit preschool is looking for an efficient, flexible and experienced bookkeeper that could work 5 hours a week to balance our books and invoice clients. Any recommendation? Seeking Bookkeeper


Hi, I know someone who could certainly help you out. She is a former employee of mine who is working independently now doing bookkeeping and accounting. I think she could be a good match for you. Her name is Lina Wiese, 510.418.4241 Happy Boss

Bookkeeper for a Small Food Business

Feb 2013

Hi BPN Community, I am posting in the the hopes of finding a good recommendation for a Bookkeeper to start working on our 2013 taxes. This is for a small food business in Berkeley. We are looking for someone familiar with an LLC, who can come to our shop during the work week to enter data, who is familiar with Quickbooks, and who is flexible, trustworthy, thorough and precise. We have been in operation for a little more than 4 years, and our Quickbooks system is all set up. anonymous


I highly recommend Judith Schwartz of Bottom Line Bookkeeping. She's east bay local despite (415 area code) and fanatical about the client experience. Call her at 415.260.6245. She also has a website www.bottomlineoakland.com. kmj
I work with Judith Schwartz of Bottom Line Bookkeeping, and love her! She LOVES what she does, comes to your house or office, is very straightforward and tells it like it is (which, for me, is exactly what I want in a bookkeeper). She has a free one hour initial visit too! http://www.bottomlineoakland.com/ JudithRSchwartz@yahoo.com 415-260-6254 Ellen S.

Finances for new business - getting on the books?

Oct 2012

My freelancing business has started picking up this year (good news!) but it's grown at a pace that I can't keep up with and I need help figuring out how to do my taxes. I had 2 clients last year and reporting was very easy but now I have over 20, an employee and I'm confused about how to go from here. Technically I haven't done anything ''off the books'' yet for 2012 but I'm not sure I have all the permits/licenses I need. I'd like a recommendation for a bookkeeper. accountant or financial advisor who can help me transition from a cash to a legal business, particularly someone who is sensitive to the awkward in-between stage that I'm in right now. Slow on Quickbooks


Congrats on your business! Managing your own business can be quite hard at times. For bookkeeping services I use YH Bookkeeping at (510) 620-0644; The Bookkeeper Yoav is a natural pro. For business taxes and such I use Bruce Friedman at bruce@webtaxcpa.com; If Bruce can't help you out, I'm sure he can recommend someone who can. He's super helpful when it comes to tax planning and such! Anon

Bookkeeper competant with Macs & Quicken

July 2012

I am looking for a bookkeeper who is VERY competent with both Macs and Quicken. I am looking for someone who will come to my house to get my books caught up for the year. After that, if enough of the accounts work by download, and you are familiar with my accounts, it is feasible that you could work from your home, but it is not guaranteed. The hours are very flexible. I am looking for someone who is friendly, efficient and discrete. I am not interested in bookkeeping companies. I look forward to meeting you. Anonymous


Judith Schwartz is the bookkeeper you need. She is smart and affordable! She will deal professionally and efficiently with all of your back-log of receipts and unreconciled statements - chaos does not faze her! Her number is 415-260-6254. http://www.bottomlineoakland.com/ Camille
Give Sandra Montgomery a call at 510-325-5060. She has been the bookkeeper for my small home based business for 10 years and for my small partnership business for several years before that. She is honest and reliable and knows her stuff. She is very adept at Quickbooks/Quicken and uses either a Mac or a PC (for me she works on a Mac.) Getting you set up and then maintaining it is right up her alley. Happy client

Looking for a bookkeeper for personal finances

April 2012

I am looking for an experienced bookkeeper who could come into my home, for a few hours once a month, to enter my checks and VISA expenditures and reconcile my accounts. All of my accounts are set-up for on-line downloads. Initially, more time would be required to help import my 2011 data into Quicken from iBank, and enter January-March 2012 data, but then it would be monthly maintenance. After the first few appointments, s/he would be free to set their own hours. S/he would be working with Quicken on a Macintosh, so fluency with Quicken and Macs is essential! Thanks very much. I look forward to speaking with you.


I love my bookkeeper, who does both my personal and business accounts on a monthly basis- she's the best and most efficient bookkeeper I've ever had. Don't be put off by her hourly rate, which is higher than some- she works fast and doesn't make mistakes, which saves on time, money, and stress. She is Erin Harper, bookkeepererin@yahoo.com, 510-517-9773 Cecelia

Personal, business bookkeeping for small biz fam?

July 2011

Hi, we are looking for a very reputable, trustworthy accountant/financial planner to teach my husband and I how to keep books and manage money sustainably for my husband's business, as well as how to accomplish personal savings goals. Maybe some one who is great at working w/ contractors?

My husb. is a self-employed landscape contractor and his income fluctuates wildly per month. We need to learn how to deal with this on a business level to get his work load more consistent. We also need to learn how to deal with it on a personal level so we aren't freaking out every time he can't find new work and the money starts to run low. We need a great way to reliably set aside the right amount per-check for quarterly taxes, etc.

We don't want some one who works on commission or peddles products or weird investments. We hope for some one who comes highly recommended, and who will teach us how to do all this rather than some one we just pay and hand all the data over to each month. I am also very leery about sharing peronal financial data w/ a stranger, so if you have any insight about that I would appreciate it too, so I know what to expect. If you have any personal experience pls share. Thanks a mil. Workin' guy's wife


I keep my own books and have found the advice and support of B & T Bookkeeping http://www.btbookkeeping.com/index.html in El Cerrito absolutely invaluable. Brody and Tracy (B &T) are great teachers. They helped me set up my Quickbooks accounts so I could keep my business and personal financial life up to date and easy to understand (I track the whole shebang with Quickbooks). We were able to do this in a couple of hours. They charged an hourly rate. Having a clean set of books brings me so much peace of mind. I know what I can afford. I know where I should spend my advertising dollars. I know which ideas are panning out and which ones I need to let go. I know how much I can put into a retirement account!

B & T works with many small business owners in Berkeley and El Cerrito - I'm sure they have other clients with business like yours. I know they can help you get a clean set of books (and keep it), and then you can be in the driver's seat when you sit down with someone to talk about investing in something new. Please don't take my word for it, call them and ask for other references. Wishing you all the best, M., musician and music teacher


I use Michael Marx for bookkeeping. He set me up with quickbooks online, and he does my books from where ever, so I never need to give him my workstation. He kept me organized, so that I was able to file my taxes early this year. His email is: eastbaybookkeeper@gmail.com . sp
I recommend Jill Hershman (jill@lmi.net).

She has been a bookkeeper for my small business for I think about a year now and she's fantastic. She charges a reasonable hourly rate and she does what needs to be done. She is expert with Quickbooks and handles the payroll tax reporting and other tasks that I need. She's absolutely reliable and fun to work with.

I can't vouch for her as a financial planner because I have not required that. Francis


Bookkeeper to help small biz. get organized

May 2011

I am looking for a good Berkeley (or nearby) hands-on bookkeeper. This is for a friend who needs someone to help him get organized and manage his accounting to the tune of around 10 hours a month. Tasks are pretty straight-forward and would include collecting and organizing expense-related receipts, sorting, submitting and tracking them (i.e. making sure they get paid and tracked for tax purposes). The ideal person would come to his house in the Berkeley hills once or twice a month, be proactive about checking-in regularly to make sure nothing slips between the cracks (business mileage, meals and misc.), make sure invoices and expenses are submitted and paid, and organize annual expense reports for tax purposes. It is important to find someone reliable, efficient and proactive who will create simple systems to stay on top of the job. Thanks in advance. kate


For bookkeeping we love Dana Arkinzadeh. You can email her at: info@dmaorganizing.com Or check out her website at http://dmaorganizing.com/. She is also a professional organizer--we've hired her for that, too, and she's great. email me if you ned more info from me about her. I give her a glowing recommendation! marie
I've worked with Carol Cohn of the Balancing Act. She provides financial organizational support. I found her to be easy to work with, flexible, skillful, afordable and she has a great sense of humor. She was just as willing to set up a simple system for me or take on some of the work herself. Her number is 925 381 3556. I think she's in Orinda. Sydney
I highly recommend Jill Herschman (jill@lmi.net). I have a small business and have been working with her for over a year now and she just handles everything. She totally knows what she's doing, is an expert in Quickbooks, remembers my business procedures and just makes sure everything is done quickly and accurately. She comes to our office once a month and it takes only an hour or two. She has also cleaned up previous messes to bring everything current. Finally, she goes the extra mile and takes care of things like communicating with the State for EDD issues and whatever is required. And she is a pleasure to work with. Francis
I have an amazing bookkeeper. Her name is Shannon Kotter. She is organized, smart, professional and dependable. She is also a pleasure to have around the office. She works 8-10 hours a month for me on a contract basis. I have worked with several bookkeepers. Shannon is clearly the best.

When Shannon started, she was willing to work with the systems and policies I had in place; later when the opportunity came up to make improvements she presented various options so that I could decide. She is a great communicator. She lets me know exactly what is going on without overloading me with emails or phone calls. Her attention to detail is amazing - she never makes mistakes. She is professional and friendly when communicating with clients and is able to understand the personal dynamics involved.

Shannon has a complete understanding of general accounting practices; she has the ability to problem solve and communicate, and she has strong organizational skills. She does A/R, A/P, journal entries, general ledger, bank reconciliations, and payroll. She uses Quickbooks, Excel and Word. Shannon Kotter can be reached through email: Smkbookkeeping@gmail.com Holly


2009 - 2010 Recommendations


Bookkeeper who uses Quickbooks or Quicken

Nov 2010

Can anyone recommend a bookkeeper who uses Quickbooks or Quicken for the Macintosh and PC? We're looking for someone who can come into our home and catch us up on our bookkeeping, and maybe come in on a regular (or irregular) basis to enter expenses and income when we get behind again. We're not sure which of our computers we'll use or which software. Can anyone recommend someone trustworthy? I know good bookkeepers can cost up to $75/hr., but we're hoping to pay somewhat less than that. Jeffry


Susan Shub is a certified Quick Books trainer who will come to your home or office. She helped me get my small business accounting system set up on QB in just a few hours. She also provides bookkeeping services out of her office on Grand Ave. by Lake Merritt. She is pleasant and easy to work with. Her number is 834-2180. - S. Robbins
A few months ago I needed help with Quick Books and found Babs. babs@senteredspirit.com. She lives in Santa Cruz but travels. She came to my house in Berkeley several times for an hour or two and helped me get straightend out and organized. The price was very resonable and it worked out great. david
I use Maggie Carraciolo with Basic Bookkeeping. My joke is that she is so good that if she leaves I am retiring. I have a clinical skin care center in Alameda with over 600 products as well as a variety of services. I have been in business for 13 plus years and have had several bookkeepers during that time. My business has never run so smoothly and my bookkeeping experience been so pleasant since Maggie joined me. I highly recommend Maggie to anyone who asks. I probably shouldn't because I don't want her to get too busy. She is delightful. Good luck. Debbie
I can recommend my bookkeeper who has worked for me both in a larger but still small business and currently in my very small business. She is well-versed in Quicken/Quickbooks on both PC and Mac. Her contact info is Sandra Montgomery, sandramontgomery@gmail.com. Good luck
I whole-heartedly recommend my bookkeeper Alan Gaber of +Bookkeeping. He is familiar with QUicken and QUickbooks. He is very diligent, friendly, patient, organized and fun to work with. He helped me get my finances totally organized. You can reach him at 510-414-9935. Anushka

Personal instructor for Quickbooks

July 2010

Can anyone recommend a Quickbooks personal instructor who can come to my office in Berkeley and train me in Quickbooks? (Recs. in the archive are a bit old.) Pluses are specific experience with high-tech small business, payroll, and government grant administration / bookkeeping. Thanks! anon Lee Sheaffer (www.BizVision.us) was referred to me by my accountant and was I relieved. She is amazing. Has being doing this for years and knows all the tips/tricks. She doesn't do the bookkeeping part of the work any more. Now she focuses her skills on helping people make the most out of QB and is definitely an expert. anon


I would highly recommend Kathy Holtzapple of Holtzapple and Associates. She is a bookkeeper and is great with Quickbooks. I know that she is building her business and I think that she would be a good fit to come out and train you on Quickbooks. I can't recommend her highly enough. Holtzapple & Associates (925) 275-8003 3130 Crow Canyon Rd San Ramon, CA 94583 Stefanie
Maggie Caracciolo, Basic Bookkeeping, is very knowledgeable about Quickbooks. In addition to her services as a bookkeeper, Maggie trains people in the use of Quickbooks. Give her a call at 510-414-3723. Ronna

Hourly rate for bookkeeper?

March 2010

I was just wondering what the going rate for a bookkeeper (independent contractor) is these days. The work would be for a small business that would only entail AP, AR, credit card and bank Reconciliations, and reporting for the Accountant. I was quoted a price of $50/hour and was wondering if this is a legitimate price to pay for a bookkeeper? Thanks!


I have a small home-based business and have had a good number of bookkeepers over the years. I've paid as little as $25./hr for people just starting out to as much as $60./hr for my present bookkeeper who's very efficient and experienced. Even though my books are not complex, I've found that people without sufficient accounting background can make mistakes, some of which are small and immediately obvious, some of which are major and don't show up for awhile. Consequently I've decided that I'd rather pay more per hour for someone experienced, and the fact is that my present bookkeeper is so efficient and capable that her total bill is consistently less than some $25./hr people I've used! And I have peace of mind that all is in order. I can't recommend my bookkeeper highly enough. She's Erin Harper, 510-517-9773 or bookkeepererin@yahoo.com Cecelia
I have a small professional business and pay my bookkeeper $60. She does in 2 hours what would take me days to get around to and it is worth it. anon
Feb 2010

I'm seeking a reliable bookkeeper familiar with Quicken on a Macintosh to upgrade to the latest version and all that it entails. Anyone know somebody?


Lee Sheaffer (510) 295-4399 she helped me setup and run quickbooks on my macbook. she is extremely knowledgeable, generous with her time and skills. geraldine
Jan 2010

I am looking for a bookkeeper to come to my house once or twice a week to do bookkeeping for my small home-based property management business. I live in the El Cerrito Hills. Bookkeeper should be familiar with Quicken and excel. I am open to switching to Quickbooks if my reports can be generated easily, so I would want them to learn what I do before switching. My current bookkeeper just quit to take on a full time job, so I am looking for someone ASAP! Thank you! Arminda


Diana, I use a wonderful tax preparer SOS Business Services http://www.sosbusinessservices.com/ ; i bet RJ can help you!! Tell her Ingrid sent you. Oh, she's in SO CAL but we've had no difficulty working long distance, as she does with most clients.
I have a small home-based business and love my bookkeeper, Erin Harper. She's experienced, knowledgeable, efficient, and very easy to work with. Her rates are a little higher than some bookkeepers I've used, but because she's so efficient I end up paying less in the end. I really can't recommend her highly enough! Her contact info is 510-517-9773 or bookkeepererin@yahoo.com Cece
I have a great bookkeeper. Her name is Nancy Rogers.Her number is 925-283-5738. Debbie
Jan 2010

I am looking for an experienced (at least 5 years experience) bookkeeper for my
small, home office.  I am a consultant for a foundation and am looking for
someone to:
- Come in to the office (N. Berkeley) once a month for about 3 hours
- Be proficient on a Mac with Quickbooks
- Pay Bills
- Reconcile business and personal credit card statements and accounts
- Prepare Profit & Loss Statements, etc., as needed
R

Ann Valliant and her son, Loren, are expert bookkeepers and QuickBook consultants. Loren specifically helped me get set up for my LLC. He came to my office and walked me through. I can highly recommend them. ann@annvalliant.com or (510) 848-1516 Rosie
Nov 2009

My husband and I run a non-profit project that requires detailed quarterly reporting to our funders. We are looking for a trustworthy, skilled, detail-oriented bookkeeper to work with us twice a month or so to track our expenses and help prepare our financial reports. Must have experience using Quickbooks for non-profits. Also, what is standard pay for this type of work? Any recommendations welcome. Thank you. sophie


I strongly recommend Jill Herschman for your bookkeeping needs.

Jill has worked as a bookkeeper for a number of small local non-profit and public-interest organizations over the years. She also has done an incredible job serving as treasurer for our Berkeley public school PTA for the last 2 1/2 years, handling everything from setting up accounts and record-keeping systems (that had been sorely lacking) to taxes, audits, budgets and education of parents, teachers and staff about how these things work. Also important: Jill is responsive, very tech-savvy, a great communicator, gets along well with everyone and has a great sense of humor. She's also the mom of two young boys.

I understand that $40 per hour is a standard rate for this type of work.

You can reach Jill Herschman at jill@lmi.net or 549-0953. Robin


I am a sole practitioner architect and I recommend the woman who has been my bookkeeper for nearly a dozen years, Sandra Montgomery. She is very honest, dependable, detail-oriented and knows Quicken and Quickbooks well. She is best reached via e-mail - sandranmontgomery@gmail.com. Her cell phone is 510-325- 5060. Lisa
March 2009

I am looking for a bookkeeper for my small, home office. I am a 
consultant for a foundation and is looking for someone to:
- Come in to the office once a month for about 3 hours
- Be proficient on a Mac, with Quicken and Quickbooks
- Pay Bills
- Reconcile business and personal accounts
- Prepare P & L's, as necessary
- Be reliable!
Please pass along your suggestions. Thank you!
I am delighted to recommend Shannon Kotter for bookkeeping services. She is a former staff member of mine and the quality of her work is excellent. My entire team was disappointed when she chose to leave full-time employment for a more flexible part-time schedule. But our loss could be your gain. Her contact information is ''shannonkotter@gmail.com''. Anna
I recommend Shannon Kotter. I worked with her for years. She's very professional and organized. On top of that, she's lovely to work with. A real gem! You can reach her at shannonkotter@gmail.com. Cheryl
I also have a small business and my bookkeeper is truly the best- extremely competent and efficient, personable, easy to have around, and totally reliable. I've had other bookkeepers, some of whom were cheaper, but Erin has never made a mistake (the others all did) and she has saved me money in the long run because she's so quick and accurate at her work. I can't recommend her highly enough. She's Erin Harper, 510-517-9773 bookkeepererin@yahoo.com Cecelia
I can't recommend Shannon Kotter highly enough. I worked with Shannon for almost 7 years. She is professional, completely reliable, exceptionally detail oriented, and a pleasure to work with. I would be happy to provide a reference for her if you would like to further discuss her work. Her email address is shannonkotter@gmail.com. if you wish to contact her. Best Wishes, Catherine
Jan 2009

I've been calling all the names of bookkeepers from the archives and have found that many of them have moved away or aren't in business anymore. I am needing a bookkeeper for my small business who is patient (I am not very good at these matters and really need help), warm, and friendly as well as experienced, accurate, and trustworthy. I would like to develop a great long-term relationship with a bookkeeper and would very much appreciate some new recommendations. looking forward to your referrals


My wife and I have been friends with Lindy Sinclair for nearly 20 years, and her bookkeeping client as well, when we had such needs. She is talented, smart (Mensa member), and above all, friendly and compassionate. We're the sort of people who used to open a new checking account when we'd made such a mess of the old one. In her therapeutic mode, she helps clients, when needed, work through situations that may have led to accounting problems or financial problems. She lives and works in El Sobrante, and is young enough to begin a long-term relationship, and old enough to bring a mature approach to her work. lindy@lindysinclair.com, and a small but informative website at http://www.lindysinclair.com/ John
For a thoughtful, patient, exacting and friendly bookkeeper, tax consultant and tax preparer, please contact Lynne Clenfield 1735 9th St, Berkeley, CA 94710-1836 Contact Phone: (510) 526-0970 I've been a happy client of Lynne's, and she's helped me keep my marketing communications business in order for over 15 years!! posted by: Merry
i have used the services of Nancy Grays and have recommended her to many small business owners. she is amazing and best of all, she works fast and meticulously. she even tries to make accounting easy enough for you to do it yourselves, if you would like. her contact info is: Nancy Grays 510-316-4722 n_grays@hotmail.com
Hi - I saw your post on a bookkeeper and have been very pleased working with Kate Voyageur. She's actually an MBA doing this now as her business and is really good at helping sort through the details and helpful with bigger business questions too. Her email is katevoyageur@gmail.com
I recommend Jill Herschman, jill@lmi.net or 510.549.0953, as a bookkeeper. She is responsible, dedicated, knowledgeable and creative as well as fun and pleasant to work with. She works well teaching those who don't have prior experience as well as with those who are peers with similar experience. Jill prefers working for people with children and has experience working for individuals, small and large businesses and non-profit organizations. Give Jill a call. You'll be happy that you did.
I have enjoyed working with Beth Zeitman in Berkeley; she's great!!! You can reach her at 517-5469 (cell). I'm finally in control of Quickbooks and have a sense of what's what. sign me, Relieved to have found her

2007 - 2008 Recommendations

Nov 2008

Hi. My small retail shop needs a Bookkeeper. I would love some recommendations. We are located in N. Berkeley. Thanks! Keri


Lynne Clenfield has been the esteemed and thoughtful bookkeeper for my small (very small) business for more than 20 years. She pays attention to the details, completes the necessary sales tax reports, lets me know what records to keep, and turns that shoebox of receipts into a clear profit and loss statement. Lynne Clenfield, Bookkeeping Ph: 510-526-0970 Fax: 510-526-0762 Email: lclenfield@pacbell.net
Merry
I would recommend Swirl Solutions located in Richmond. Their number is (510)236-9300 anon
Marlene Mason. She services small businesses (construction, retail, inventories and union also) and individuals in the area. Give her the receipts or figures and get out of the way. Fast and orginized. Her number is 415-898-0507 kirk
Feb 2008

Does anyone have a super bookkeeper? I have an existing small business and am looking for a bookkeeper who will come to my office 1-2x per month and finesse my quickbooks. I need a professional to improve our existing systems, but I don't want someone who wants to ONLY work in their own office. Amerin


I highly recommend my part-time bookkeeper, Jill Herschman. While she is fantastic with Quickbooks and Quickbooks Online, her great strengths are in getting the bookkeeping done in record time, with no errors (we have reconciled to 0.00 for over a year), and she still manages to take care of countless other office and financial-related efforts that make running a business much easier for me. I am a retailer on Fourth Street in Berkeley and she has been coming to the store for about a year now. I can't recommend Jill highly enough. You can reach her at jill@lmi.net and I am happy to provide a more detailed recommendation as needed. Cheers, Shobhan
Oct 2007

I have a small architecture business and I am looking for a bookkeeper and some one that can maybe do a little light office management. The job would include invoicing, knowledge of sales tax and payroll, preparing information for year end taxes, entering expenses and tracking money in Quick Books and some light filing (just our financial stuff). Someone with architecture or construction bookkeeping experience is a plus. Would need about 1-3 days a month. Does anyone have any good recommendations?


I would suggest a company called RYAN Business Solutions. The contact person is Pat Ryan and he ran a consulting engineering office for 20 years. He has started his own company which specializes in the areas you requested. His contact is 925-786-1749 or ryanph@comcast.net I am using his business services for the San Ramon Valley High School ski swap, which is a major fundraiser for our school. Sandy
My fantastic bookkeeper, Erin Harper, has time to take on some new accounts, and I really can't recommend her highly enough. She's helped me on and off in my small business for the last ten years, and is the best bookkeeper I've ever worked with. She smart, efficient, takes initiative, and is an easy person to have around. Because she's so fast and efficient, my sessions with her often come out to cost less than when I've used people who charged less per hour. Erin's a gem, and she deserves clients who appreciate her and treat her well! 517-9773, bookkeepererin@yahoo.com. Cece

2005 - 2006 Recommendations

Jan 2006

I'm seeking a reliable bookkeeper who will come to my home in N. Berkeley on a monthly basis to reconcile accounts and pay bills. This usually takes 2-3 hours. I use Quicken on a Macintosh. Anyone had experience or know of such a professional? spark2


I would like to recommend my bookkeeper, Anna Bennett for your home business. She has been my bookkeeper for my architectural business almost 4 years and I don't know what I would do without her. She comes in usually just once a month at the end of the month to input all my receipts, etc. into Quickbooks and then helps me generate the monthly invoices for my clients. Anna is intelligent, efficient, knows Quickbooks and all the required tax info and saves me a great deal of headache. Feel free to contact me if you need more info, or you can contact Anna directly at: (510)237-9771 or via email: ABenn91269[at]aol.com. Best of luck!
Rebecca
Dec 2005

I am looking for a bookkeeper for my small business. I've checked the archives and there are only a few listings from several years ago, so current recommendations would be a great help. We use Quickbooks on a cash basis, have two employees, do our own payroll and do not have inventory. I do the basic entry of checks and deposits and need help with payroll, monthly and quarterly tax payments, reconciliation etc, and tax planning if possible. The books are kept in Montclair, but working over the Internet is certainly a possibility. Thanks much!!! - bookkeeper-less in Oakland


I would recommend Diane Tyler of D.L. Tyler and Associates. Her office is at 440 Grand, Suite 202 in Oakland. Phone - 444-1355, email - diane[at]dltylerandassociates.com. Check out her website: www.dltylerandassociates.com Melanie

Bookkeeper charging too much?

Feb 2007

I have a situation with my bookkeeper. My accountant has commented that she can't understand why it is taking so long to get my books prepared for tax time (two consecutive years we have had to apply for two extensions with a third expected this year). I engaged her about 6 months after starting my business, so she has been playing catch up, but we are still not up to date, two years later. She charges me $70 and hour for data entry into Quickbooks and $90 and hour for 'consulting', which seems to constitue any conversation I have with her involving her answering a question about my books. And she charges for her travel time to my house/office. She comes around 2 times a month. (She does not seem to have time to come more often than that)

Anyway, I am trying to decide if I am being overcharged and whether she is taking too long. She is very thorough, but I am not sure if she is efficient. She loves to stop and chat with me - so i often make sure I am not home when she comes to work in my office.

We have two checking accounts (with about a half page of transactions each) which she is tracking and also between 3 to 4 credit cards. She enters the transactions manually into the program rather than importing them.

As a sole proprieter of a small business I don't have time to do what she does, even if I did know how to, nor do I know what's a realistic amount of time to do this many accounts. Each credit card statment probably has an entire page of transactions on it. However I am spending around $6000 a year having her come to do them. How can i figure this out? Is it worth me showing another bookeeper my books to see if they agree with my accountant. or Should I just stop complaining. I would love to hear from anyone who has a great bookkeeper for a home-based small business. thanks in advance. feeling overcharged and clueless


It certainly sounds like you are being charged WAY too much by your bookkeeper. I also run a sole proprieter business, and my bookkeeper comes and does my books monthly on Quickbooks (it doesn't sounds like I need as much data entered as you do). She also prepares all my quarterly taxes (sales tax, employment taxes) and deos my payroll, as well as preps for my accountant annually -- which is done very easily. She charges $35/hour and usually works about 4-6 hours/month. She takes phone calls from myself and my assistant without charging, and is extremely honest and thorough. I wouldn't even imagine that she would ask to charge for travel time. So the short answer is yes, I think you should be looking for another bookkeeper! Tara
As the sole proprietor of a small business with about 10 years of bookkeeping help (before that I did it all myself on paper), I don't think that you are being overcharged regarding the hourly rate. A good bookkeeper has to understand principles of accounting, not just be able to read and enter figures, and it takes training and experience to get those down well.

I presently pay $65. an hour, plus travel time over 1/2 hour round trip, for experienced help. If I call her on the phone with a question, I always say, ''Don't forget to put this time on my next bill''.

I've had cheaper bookkeepers, and twice have later paid substantially more than $70. an hour for my business consultant to come in and sort and straighten out the mess left behind (which wasn't obvious at the time it was happening).

As a small business owner, you know that your time is your money, and it's the same for a bookkeeper. Running around from one small job to another eats up a lot of time and gas.

Whether or not she's taking ''too long'' isn't something anyone can accurately evaluate just from hearing your list of tasks. If I had your same concerns, I'd hire (i.e. pay for the consulting time!) another similarly qualified bookkeeper to assess the situation.

If you haven't already told her of your time concerns, do so now. If you haven't already told her that work chatting doesn't do it for you, that you can't chat and focus at the same time, just say it.

But there's a couple of things I'm wondering if are in the background of your post: 1) maybe you just don't particularly like this woman's style, and it's not a good personality match 2) having a business, especially a new business, is financially stressful, and you may be letting those concerns cause you to resent paying professional rates to a fellow professional for professional work. Anon


hello: i am a california CPA and charge about the same amount for the services you described. if you are paying about $600 per year, thats approx. 6 hours per month. based on the amount of transactions you have described, that seems very reasonable. i also enter most of my transactions manually...many times this method is more efficient, depending on the nature of the tranactions and the accuracy of the download.

the one thing i would be concerned with is that you are still behind...financial data is most useful when it is timely and if you are consisently lagging behind, you are not getting the full benefit of professional accounting services. maureen


I'm a Bookkeeper and I would say that $70/hour is pretty expensive, unless she's providing services outside what you would get from a full charge bookkeeper. Does she do your taxes? Budgeting? etc. Everybody works at their own pace, of course, and it's good if she's slow because she's thorough. Asking for reimbursement for travel expenses is reasonable, but she definitely shouldn't be charging you for time spent chatting!! It's up to you to decide if you think you're being ripped off, but I always say to go with your gut! Jill
I do bookkeeping for small non-profits (and undercharge...got to work on that...), but for $70 an hour you should VERY reasonably expect your books to be up to date and ready for your accountant. It sounds as if two days a month should be PLENTY to maintain the books of a small office if you are paying the bills/invoices and other day to day processes etc. If she has been with you for two years there should be little need for ''consultation'' other than the occasional questions ''what was this expense for? Do you have back-up for this'' etc. etc. Charging more for consultation of this sort is a RIP OFF!

HOWEVER! If your bank statements, credit card statements, check ledger, back-up invoices and receipts are not available to her when she arrives, you can expect delays in the processing of information. (I have this issue with a few clients who send information to my home office and OFTEN forget to send complete information for months at a time....grrrr.)

Have someone else look at your books. You will not be sorry. Nancy


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