Bench vs. Quickbooks Live: Which service should you use?

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Choosing the right bookkeeping solution can be a game-changer for your business. With the right software, you can streamline processes, save time, and get crucial insights into your financial health.

In our comparison guide, looking at Bench vs. QuickBooks Live, we’ll compare the two directly to help you decide which is right for you.

$249/mo - $349/mo
Best For:
Small business owners who need professional bookkeeping support.
Best For:
Small to medium-sized businesses needing comprehensive, real-time financial management with professional assistance.
$249/mo - $349/mo
Best For:
Small business owners who need professional bookkeeping support.
Best For:
Small to medium-sized businesses needing comprehensive, real-time financial management with professional assistance.

Both have carved out their niches in the market with unique features and benefits. offers a blend of software and professional services, providing you with a personal bookkeeper.

QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping focuses on adding Live professional assistance to your existing QuickBooks account. 

However, each has its limitations. By understanding the differences between these two programs, you can make an informed decision that best suits your business needs.

Why should you care? Because the right choice could revolutionize your bookkeeping process and impact your bottom line.

Let’s dive into the details.

Bench vs. QuickBooks Live at a Glance

FeatureBenchQuickBooks LiveWinner
SMB Guide’s Rating8/109/10QuickBooks Live
General Ledger and Chart of AccountsMore complicated to understand and editEasier to see and navigateQuickBooks Live
Bank Integration and ReconciliationEasy to connect accounts and edit for bookkeeper reviewEasy to connect accounts and better quality importsQuickBooks Live
Financial ReportingBasic reporting  availableReports vary based on subscription levelBench
AP and AR ManagementAvailable for an additional fee under “Specialized Accounting”Included, depending on subscription levelQuickBooks Live
Payroll ProcessingRequires a third-party account with GustoAvailable for an additional feeQuickBooks Live
Tax ManagementTie
Customization OptionsLimited customization optionsCustomize reports, and dashboards, and add more users based on planQuickBooks Live
UX and UITie
Integration & API CapabilitiesIntegrates with Square, Stripe, and ShopifyIntegrates with over 750 appsQuickBooks Live
Supported PlatformsWeb-based, with an iOS app availableWeb-based, but has an Android and iOS app availableQuickBooks Live
Customer SupportLive chat, phone, and messaging in your accountLive chat, phone, and messaging in your accountTie
Pricing$249/mo – $349/mo$200/moBench
ScalabilityMay not be practical as your business growsSupports businesses of all sizes, with plans that grow with youQuickBooks Live

How we evaluate and test softwares

When testing softwares/apps, SMB Guide employs a dual approach based on free trial availability and demos. For platforms offering free trials, we test their functionalities, usability, navigation, and ease of use. In the case of tools lacking a free version or trial, we rely on in-depth research and user testimonials through software review platforms like G2, Capterra, TrustRadius, Software Advice, and GetApp to gauge their performance and capabilities. Learn more about our ratings criteria for bookkeeping software & services here.

Bench Accounting: Key Features, Pros, Cons, & Pricing

Bench Accounting homepage

Bench Accounting is a web-based accounting software for small businesses that helps streamline bookkeeping and tax tasks to save time and resources.

Bench isn’t just a system that syncs with your bank account to categorize your spending and generate reports.

With it, you get a dedicated bookkeeping professional to help you balance and close books every month.

Pros & Cons


Free 30-day trial

Multiple plan options

Unlimited communication with bookkeeper

Catch-up bookkeeping available


Proprietary software makes changing providers difficult

Accrual accounting method costs more


Bench offers two pricing plans: Essential or Premium. You cannot sign up for the Premium plan without committing to an annual contract.

The difference between the two is the Premium plan offers tax advice and tax filing services.

Pricing is as follows:

Bench pricing


  • $349/month when billed month-to-month
  • $299/month with an annual contract
  • $2,988/year when billed annually with contract


  • $499/month with an annual contract
  • $4,788/year when billed annually with a contract

QuickBooks Live: Key Features, Pros, Cons, & Pricing

Quickbooks Live homepage

QuickBooks Live Bookleeping is a virtual bookkeeping service offered on top of a QuickBooks Online subscription, built to support small to medium businesses.

With it, you get a dedicated, certificated bookkeeper to manage your accounts. Like Bench, QuickBooks aims to streamline your bookkeeping process.

Features include: account reconciliation, closing your books, and advanced reports (though reports vary depending on which QuickBooks Online subscription you have.)

Pros & Cons


Professional bookkeeping assistance

Real-time data access

Customizable business reports

Integrates with other apps


One-time clean-up fee

Not available for all QuickBooks products


You’ll pay for QuickBooks Live in addition to whatever your QuickBooks Online subscription fee is, and the Live fee is based on your monthly revenue.

quickbooks live bookkeeping pricing
  • Simple Start:$30/month
  • Essentials: $55/month
  • Plus: $85/month
  • Advanced: $200/month
  • Monthly revenue between $0-$10,000: $200/month
  • Monthly revenue between $10,001-$50,000: $300/month
  • Monthly revenue $50,001+: $400/month
QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping

QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping is an online bookkeeping service that connects small businesses with trusted, QuickBooks-certified virtual bookkeepers

Get a free consultation
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General Ledger and Chart of Accounts

Overall, QuickBooks Live has the better general ledger and chart of accounts. Both work, but I found it more difficult to get my transactions to load in from my bank to Bench.

It was easy to suggest a new category and make edits, though.

bench financial reporting

Quickbooks loaded transactions faster and more accurately, with a better overall report.

quickbooks chart of accounts

✅ Winner: QuickBooks Live

Bank Integration and Reconciliation

Bench and QuickBooks Live both use Plaid to connect to your bank accounts and sync transactions from your accounts.

bench bank integration

Both are good at categorizing transactions, but I found QuickBooks to be more accurate from the start.

quickbooks linking bank

That said, I still had to properly categorize a lot of stuff in my QuickBooks Self Employed account, because if there’s any vague description, it defaults to “Other Expenses.”

✅ Winner: QuickBooks Live

Financial Reporting

Financial reports are limited in Bench, with only profit and loss, balance sheet, and income statement.

Bench income statements

QuickBooks Live limits the reports you get based on the subscription type you have. The more you pay for, the more reports and customization you’ll get.

quickbooks financial reporting

✅ Winner: Bench

AP and AR Management

AP and AR aren’t included as part of the standard package in Bench. You’ll have to pay for “Specialized accounting” as the add-on – so I couldn’t demo during my free trial.

That’s because you only need it if you use accrual based accounting. QuickBooks handles it well but doesn’t use AP or AR in the menu – rather, using Payments and Expenses.

It’s easy to add your vendors, products, services, and customers to manage all of that.

You can quickly and easily see reports of how many invoices you have outstanding, how many are overdue, and how many have been paid within the last month.

quickbooks sales reports

✅ Winner: QuickBooks Live

Payroll Processing

QuickBooks Live includes Payroll if you add it to your account. So does Bench, but Bench requires you to use their partner, Gusto, to do it.

You’ll get a 30% discount on your Gusto plan if you do, so money-wise, it doesn’t seem to be much different.

Because of the Gusto integration requirement, I couldn’t directly test Bench’s Payroll processing.

And while I could demo it in QuickBooks Live, it was limited since I could not connect my bank accounts to run a sample payroll.

It was, however, easy to issue payments to contractors.

QuickBooks payroll

So why does QuickBooks Live win here? Simply because it’s possible to do it all in one dashboard, with one bill, without an extra integration step.

✅ Winner: QuickBooks Live

Tax Management

Bench tax management features are only available on the Premium plan. On the basic plan, they offer 1099 reporting, which is great for businesses that use contractors.

You can set up and use automated sales tax depending on your plan with QuickBooks. It’s also possible to collect tax forms and get notifications about when payments are due.

You can even connect your accounts to ensure payments are sent to the IRS in a timely manner.

✅ Winner: Tie

Customization Options

Customization options are severely limited on both platforms, honestly. You won’t even get customization options for reports and dashboards in QuickBooks unless you pay for the most expensive plan. 

The reason I’m calling QuickBooks Live the winner is that it has the option in one of its plans – with the ability to customize user access controls.

That’s more than Bench offers.

✅ Winner: QuickBooks Live

User Experience and User Interface

In my experience with both platforms, I found them easy to navigate. Everything was clearly labeled on the menus, so I intuitively knew where to go to find what I was looking for.

bench accounting onboarding

At first glance, I found QuickBooks overwhelming because the demo provided access to all the features in the Advanced account.

QuickBooks dashboard

✅ Winner: Tie

Integration & API Capabilities

QuickBooks Live integrates with over 750 other apps and services, so the sky is really the limit.

Some are premium apps because you must have a subscription to the other service you’re integrating – but you can cover everything from inventory management and customer acquisition to billing and payments.

QuickBooks apps

Bench doesn’t have nearly as many integration options, but they’ll work with you on getting the information they need if you need to integrate with something other than Stripe, Square, or Shopify. 

They also offer Embedded Bookkeeping services, which provides API access to developers.

✅ Winner: QuickBooks Live

Supported Platforms

Bench and QuickBooks Live are web-based applications that can be used anywhere an internet connection is available, so you can use them regardless of whether you use Windows, Mac, or Linux. 

While Bench offers an iOS app, Android users are out of luck. QuickBooks offers an app for iOS and Android, giving them the edge here.

✅ Winner: QuickBooks Live

Customer Support

Bench and QuickBooks Live offer amazing customer support options: Live Chat, direct messaging within your account (to speak directly with your bookkeeper), email, phone, and knowledge bases with FAQs.

bench customer support

When I reached out to customer service with questions and concerns to write both of the respective reviews, everyone was helpful and attentive, with little to no wait time via live chat.

I didn’t use the phone option with QuickBooks Live, but I’m sure it would have been as great as Bench was when they called to schedule my consultation.

QuickBooks support

I will say QuickBooks has a more robust knowledge base, but I think that has more to do with their vast product offerings than the software itself – so I’m not penalizing Bench here.

✅ Winner: Tie


Bench has two plans to choose from, and you can get a discount if you commit to an annual plan after your 30-day free trial.

Depending on your plan choice, you can pay as little as $249/month or as much as $499/month.

The Premium plan requires a contract and cannot be billed month-to-month but can be paid in monthly installments.

You’ll pay for QuickBooks Live in addition to whatever your QuickBooks Online subscription fee is. 

  • Simple Start:$30/month
  • Essentials: $55/month
  • Plus: $85/month
  • Advanced: $200/month

Adding Payroll services will also increase your subscription fee. Plans for that are optional, but as follows:

  • Core: $45/month +$5/month/employee
  • Premium: $75/month+$8/month/employee
  • Elite: $125/month/employee

The Live fee is based on your monthly expenses.

  • Monthly revenue between $0-$10,000: $200/month
  • Monthly revenue between $10,001-$50,000: $300/month
  • Monthly revenue $50,001+: $400/month

That means, if you’re just starting and choose the cheapest plans for both the service and payroll, you’re still paying at least $275/month plus $5 for each employee, and in that case may come out cheaper with QuickBooks since Bench doesn’t include payroll.

If you need the more advanced plans, the price could go as high as $725/month plus $10 per employee, so in most situations, Bench will win out financially.

It depends on if you need to invest in third-party partner accounts for payroll and inventory management.

✅ Winner: Bench


Bench has basic pricing that doesn’t grow with your business, which could be a good thing, since QuickBooks Live ups its fee based on your monthly revenue.

But, since Quickbooks offers a wider range of base plans for its software and allows you to add up to 25 users, it makes more sense for larger businesses than Bench does.

✅ Winner: QuickBooks Live

Stand-Out Features of Bench Accounting

Bench offers many of the same features as QuickBooks Live.

When I asked customer support about what they think sets them apart from QuickBooks Live, John Garvie said, “Some of the big differentiating factors are the fact all of our bookkeepers are in-house here in North America and our communication/unlimited access to your bookkeeper is a huge benefit over Quickbooks Live.”

Stand-Out Features of QuickBooks Live

QuickBooks Live allows you to add Payroll directly to your subscription, whereas Bench requires you to sign up with their partner Gusto.

Bench also lacks invoicing and sales features. Some QuickBooks plans also offer Inventory Management, which is not part of what Bench offers without another partner integration and fee. 

When I asked customer support about what sets them apart from Bench, Najee said, “Well with our live bookkeeping service, you can have a certified bookkeeper assigned to your account to help you with setting up your chart of accounts, categorizing your transactions, running monthly reports, etc.

You will always have the bookkeeper available to contact for any questions or concerns. With our guarantee making sure all your books are taken care of with protections for any errors.”

Bench vs. QuickBooks Live: SMB Guide’s Verdict

It’s hard to declare a winner here because Bench and QuickBooks Live are great tools and serve different business needs.

Going on price, Bench wins. Going on features, QuickBooks wins. They both rated the same in my reviews for different reasons. 

If I’m forced to choose one, I’d call the overall winner QuickBooks Live because of its additional feature options, integrations, and guarantee to ensure your books are always correct.

Bench is best for small businesses that just want basic support with their bookkeeping and/or taxes and need to be able to reach a professional to get their questions.

QuickBooks Live is better for businesses that want to take care of invoicing, payroll, and inventory management all in one place.

QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping

QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping is an online bookkeeping service that connects small businesses with trusted, QuickBooks-certified virtual bookkeepers

Get a free consultation
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Lucinda has spent the last 15 years working from home as a freelance writer and WordPress designer, and throughout her career, she has worked directly with several digital marketing agencies with clients in the SaaS space, ranging from e-commerce platforms to procurement software.