This article is part of a larger series on Accounting Software.
Pricing starts at $599 per month for businesses with less than $30,000 in monthly expenses.
What We Recommend Pilot Bookkeeping For
Pilot Bookkeeping is our choice for the best online bookkeeping service for startup companies because of its understanding of and experience with niche businesses like ecommerce companies and tech startups. It uses the accrual-basis accounting method only—this records income and expenses when the money is earned or owed vs cash received or spent. Because of this, businesses using cash-basis accounting will need to make a change in accounting methods.
Specifically, Pilot Bookkeeping is best for:
- Rapidly growing businesses like high-growth technology startups: As your business grows and potentially takes on funding, it can take advantage of the accrual-basis and advanced bookkeeping features that Pilot offers.
- Businesses looking for CFO and/or tax services: With Pilot CFO and Pilot Tax, you can access its CFO consulting services and file business corporate taxes as well as 1099-MISC forms.
- Businesses that need catch-up and/or clean-up bookkeeping: If you’ve fallen behind in your bookkeeping or need to ensure that your books are accurate, Pilot can help for an additional fee.
- Multiple entities: Pilot offers support for multiple entities with its Plus plan, which has custom pricing.
Who Pilot Bookkeeping Is Not a Good Fit For
- Businesses that use Xero accounting software: Pilot requires you to use QuickBooks Online, so if you’re using another bookkeeping solution, you’ll need to convert your information to QuickBooks. Bookkeeper360 offers assisted bookkeeping using Xero accounting software.
- Businesses that want basic bookkeeping services for a fixed low price: Pilot Bookkeeping computes your monthly average expenses based on what you spend each month, including payroll and cost of goods sold. As your business grows, the bookkeeping fee increases proportionally as you incur more expenses. If you’re looking for bookkeeping at a fixed price, we recommend Merritt Bookkeeping, which offers a fixed fee without monthly average expense thresholds.
- Businesses that are using cash-basis accounting: Pilot only offers accrual-basis accounting. For a full-service bookkeeping firm that offers both cash-basis and accrual-basis accounting, we recommend Bookkeeper.com.
- Businesses that need payroll services: Although Pilot offers both CFO and tax services, payroll isn’t an option. QuickBooks Live uses QuickBooks Online accounting software and offers add-on packages, including payroll.
If you’re not sure assisted bookkeeping is right for you, read our guide to the best small business accounting software for great do-it-yourself (DIY) accounting software options.
Pilot Bookkeeping Pros & Cons
|Dedicated bookkeeper||No cash-basis accounting available|
|Unlimited connected bank and credit card accounts||Fees are on the higher end of the price spectrum|
|Catch-up and clean-up bookkeeping available||Payroll services aren’t available|
|Advanced services offered, such as tax filing and CFO consulting||Businesses must use QuickBooks Online|
Pilot Bookkeeping vs Competitors
Starts at $599 per month
Starts at $200 per month
Starts at $299 per month
Maximum Monthly Expenses for Lowest Price Plan
Starts at $1,050 per month for 3 hours
Cash or Accrual
Starts at $1,950 per year
Separate plan via Intuit TurboTax
Included in Premium Plan only
Pilot Bookkeeping Pricing
Pilot’s bookkeeping services are based on an annual subscription model with pricing that scales with your monthly expenses and your business needs. Pilot also charges an onboarding fee that’s equal to one month of bookkeeping. The services are billed on an annual basis.
Who It’s Best For
Growing businesses that need more support
Larger businesses or those with complex needs
Cost (Less Than $30,000 in Monthly Expenses)
$599 per month
$849 per month
Cost ($30,000 to $60,000 in Monthly Expenses)
$649 per month
$899 per month
Cost ($60,000 to $100,000 in Monthly Expenses)
$719 per month
$969 per month
Cost ($100,000 to $150,000 in Monthly Expenses)
$809 per month
$1,059 per month
Cost ($150,000 to $200,000 in Monthly Expenses)
$899 per month
$1,149 per month
Cost (More Than $200,000 in Monthly Expenses)
Only available with Plus plan
Only available with Plus plan
Accrual Basis Bookkeeping
Profit and Loss (P&L), Balance Sheet & Cash Flow Statements
Customer Support & Advice
Industry Standard Financial Ratios
Expedited Books Delivery
Monthly Phone Reviews
Support for Multiple Entities, Classes & Location
Accounts Receivable (A/R), Accounts Payable (A/P) & Inventory Tracking
Fully Customizable Chart of Accounts
Pilot offers other financial services for an additional fee. The following are the prices for each:
- Pilot CFO: Starting at $900 per month, billed annually for monthly engagement and $1,500 per year for annual budgeting and forecasting
- Pilot Tax: Starting at $1,950 per year for tax services, including federal corporate income tax and 1099-MISC filing
- A/P and A/R: Starting at $125 per hour for support with paying bills and creating and sending invoices
- Controller Services: Starting at $200 per hour for assistance with building the right finance operations
- R&D Tax Credit: Price is computed at 2% of total qualifying expenses.
Pilot Bookkeeping Features
Pilot Bookkeeping features a combination of human bookkeeping aided by bookkeeping technology.
Onboarding and Customer Context
Before the formal bookkeeping process begins, Pilot will onboard clients to introduce the bookkeeping software and show how the process works. The onboarding process will also help Pilot experts know what to expect and what needs to be done. Clients will also be introduced to their dedicated bookkeeping expert upon onboarding.
Upon onboarding, the dedicated bookkeeping expert will log important notes about the client to help Pilot fully understand the client’s business and operations. This log can be found in the Customer Context tab. These notes are regularly maintained to make it easy for anyone in Pilot to help the client in case their dedicated bookkeeper is out.
Pilot also provides a unique account checklist that helps Pilot bookkeepers stay organized when doing your bookkeeping. The items in this checklist include:
- Customer context
- Getting set up
- Reconciling bank and credit card accounts
- Categorizing transactions
- Expense reports
- Bills and invoices
- Credit card processing
- Journal entries
Customer context is performed during onboarding, but the dedicated bookkeeper will update this information so other Pilot bookkeepers can access it easily. The rest of the steps in the checklist will be routine bookkeeping procedures.
All of the processes in the checklist can be done manually. However, the Pilot bookkeeping system has a way of learning transactions so that it can fully automate the process and give back more time to the dedicated bookkeeper to attend to other transactions. In the image above, there’s a credit card purchase from Cool Gadgets. At the very top, you’ll see a “bolt” icon. This icon means that Pilot has encountered this transaction from past records and it can auto-categorize it.
Pilot has a tool called Reviewbot that will initially review transactions and check for missing or erroneously categorized transactions. Reviewbot can filter out transactions that the dedicated bookkeeper need not review manually. Instead, Reviewbot will only flag transactions that need manual adjustment or correction.
When Reviewbot flags certain transactions, it’ll alert your dedicated bookkeeper to check them. Reviewbot can only spot anomalies in the records and lets the dedicated bookkeeper resolve these issues manually. In the image below, you’ll see an example of flagged transactions spotted after the initial review.
The dedicated bookkeeper will review, analyze, and manually resolve these transactions. But to ensure that your dedicated bookkeeper made the right corrections, your books will undergo a third and final review. A peer reviewer from Pilot will take a look at the flagged transactions to ensure that all corrections are appropriate or detect if your dedicated bookkeeper missed something.
Once your dedicated bookkeeper finishes the checklist and review process, they’ll email you to tell you that the bookkeeping process has been completed. You can immediately see all the changes they made in your QuickBooks Online account.
Pilot Bookkeeping: Working With Your Bookkeeper
When you sign up for Pilot, you’ll be assigned a dedicated bookkeeping expert who’ll serve as your point of contact. They’ll walk you through how to integrate your existing processes and software with QuickBooks. If you have any questions, you can speak with your account manager through the QuickBooks portal or by email at no additional cost.
What Are the Requirements To Start With Pilot Bookkeeping?
To get started, Pilot has three requirements to deliver the most accurate books for your business:
- Electronic transaction access
- Expense reporting software
- No commingling of personal expenses
Is Support Included?
Yes, support is included with your plan. Your dedicated bookkeeper can answer any of your questions either through the QuickBooks portal or by email.
Is It Possible To Migrate My Books From Xero to QuickBooks?
Yes, Pilot can transition your books to QuickBooks Online. As part of your onboarding process, Pilot will enter summarized monthly information from Xero into QuickBooks, going back to the beginning of the year.
Pilot Bookkeeping Reporting
Each month, you’ll receive a detailed report package that contains your P&L, balance sheet, and cash flow statements for the prior month. Your monthly reports also include metrics specific to your industry. For startup businesses, Pilot will calculate your burn rate. For ecommerce stores, it’ll provide inventory updates.
In addition, Pilot’s Plus plan offers these custom schedules and reports on an as-needed basis:
- Reports by class, location, and department
- Supporting schedules like prepaid expenses, amortization, and depreciation
- Detailed A/P and A/R reporting
- Multiple currency reports
- Reports by entity
Aside from basic financial reports, Pilot will also include a Flux Insights report that will show significant changes in your accounts. Pilot will include a short commentary that will briefly explain what caused the change. This report helps keep you on top of expenses and makes you aware of when your business is incurring significant expenses.
Pilot Bookkeeping Alternatives
Pilot Bookkeeping is a financial service provider tailored to startups and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Aside from its bookkeeping solutions, it also offers advice to growing businesses from CFO consultants and tax advisors. Pilot connects your business with a dedicated account manager who’ll learn the ins and outs of your business quickly. Using a blend of custom software and expert bookkeepers, Pilot can deliver accurate bookkeeping at a price that can be customized based on the needs of your business.