How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Bookkeeper?

Small business owners and start-ups often wonder how much it costs to hire a bookkeeper. Especially at the moments when they are bogged down in paperwork, VAT or payroll.  

If your budget is tight and you may be wondering whether hiring a bookkeeper is a luxury your business can really afford.

Here’s some advice to help you make your decision:

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Bookkeeper?

Unfortunately it depends! It depends on their qualifications, experience, where they work and whether they are a freelancer.

How Much Does a Freelance Bookkeeper Cost?

You can generally hire a good freelance bookkeeper from around £15 per hour but with travel time may have a minimum time requirement if you want them to travel to your premises.  

If you are a growing business and just need some ad hoc help a virtual bookkeeper may be able to assist you on a flexible basis, without a minimum time requirement.  

But if you are a more established business or operate in a specialised industry you may be searching for a someone with specialist knowledge. That means it may cost more to hire a bookkeeper, since you are paying for an experienced individual.

How Much Does a Full-Time Bookkeeper Cost?

As you grow, you may consider hiring a full-time bookkeeper depending on the amount of financial administration.

A starting salary for a full-time bookkeeper can be £25,000 per annum. 

You may need someone who has a broad range of skills, such as payroll, VAT and reconciliations but again these skills may require you to commit to a higher salary.

How Much Does It Cost to Outsource Bookkeeping?

A final option is to use an outsource accounting or bookkeeping agency.  

Charges typically start at around £30 per hour. So a higher hourly rate than using a freelancer or recruiting full-time.

Outsourcing means you know you will be using a vetted bookkeeper who is managed by accountants.

This gives you peace of mind your finances are in capable hands and that you are receiving added value to your service.

Unless you already know a bookkeeper, an outsource option can save you time searching or paying for agency placement fees.

What are the benefits of hiring a bookkeeper?

Hiring a bookkeeper comes with a cost and adds to your monthly overhead burden. But finding the right bookkeeper will leave your finances in good shape and allow you to focus on running your business.

A bookkeeper will handle all your paperwork, set up an accounting system, raise invoices and post your transactions onto your accounting system ready for VAT and year end.  

If your business is growing it may feel like you are CEO, Founder & Bookkeeper. So hiring a bookkeeper will take away a level of financial administration. Leaving you time to focus on running your business and making sales.

Hiring a bookkeeper will bring a new level of knowledge & expertise to your business, as well as efficiency. 

An experienced bookkeeper can:

  • set up new processes,
  • chase customers for payments;
  • dealing with suppliers;
  • give you up to date business-critical information. 

Updated 11 April 2019

Anita Forrest
About Anita Forrest

Anita Forrest is a Chartered Accountant, spreadsheet geek, money nerd and creator of - the UK small business finance blog for the self-employed community. Here she shares simple, straight-forward guides to make self-employment topics like taxes, bookkeeping and banking easy to understand.