Bench Accounting Review: Features, Pricing, & Alternatives

Our Verdict

Discover why Bench accounting is a top choice for small businesses in 2023. Our review dives into its features, use cases, and pricing.

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Bench Bench
Software Type: Bookkeeping
Best For: Small business owners who need professional bookkeeping support.
Pricing: $249/mo - $349/mo
Pros:
  • 1-month free
  • One-on-one expert support
  • Powerful reporting
  • Catch-up bookkeeping available
Cons:
  • Pricey accrual adjustments
  • Doesn't offer CFO consultancy

Bench is an online accounting software tool designed to help small business owners save time and money when it comes to bookkeeping and taxes.

Bench isn’t your standard software solution – rather than just a ledger that connects with your bank account, it offers you one-on-one support with a bookkeeping professional.

In this Bench review, I take a look at the most prominent features, pricing, and other details to help you get your questions answered.

By the time you finish reading, you’ll know if Bench lives up to the hype or if another bookkeeping solution is your answer.

SMB Guide’s Verdict for Bench Accounting

Overall, for the small business owner on a budget, Bench is a great solution to your bookkeeping woes.

While there are some nuances with data uploading and categorization, the team is responsive and helpful.

I give this an 8/10 because transaction import could go a little smoother, and there’s no Android app available.

In this review of Bencg, I’ve followed SMB Guide’s detailed criteria for evaluating the bookkeeping software.

FactorRating (out of 10)
Pricing & Plans8.5
General Ledger and Chart of Accounts8
Bank Integration and Reconciliation9
Financial Reporting7
Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable Support7
Payroll and Tax Management7
User Interface and User Experience8.5
Integrations, Compatibility, and Supported Platforms8
Customer Support9.5
SMB Guide Rating9

Pricing & Plans

Bench offers two plans – one for basic bookkeeping and another that adds tax filing.

Bench Bookkeeping pricing

Pricing varies based on whether you bill month-to-month or commit to an annual contract. You must agree to a one-year contract if you need the more advanced plan.

Usually, I’d say that’s a bad thing, but considering there’s a free 30-day trial, you can get a feel for the software before you decide whether you want to commit.

Pricing is competitive and doesn’t change based on your business’s annual revenue. Other companies offering similar services adjust pricing upward as your business grows, making managing it more expensive.

Essential

The basic plan for small business owners covers monthly bookkeeping and tax-ready financial packages.

Price

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

Features

  • Unlimited access to your human accountant (other platforms use AI)
  • Connect your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and merchant accounts in a few clicks
  • Connect as many accounts as needed
  • Easily categorize transactions before sending them to the accountant for review
  • Schedule calls with your bookkeeper

Who it’s for: Small business owners who need help managing their bookkeeping.

Premium

The Premium plan is for business owners who want help with bookkeeping, tax advice, and tax filing.

Price

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

Features

  • All the features of the Basic plan plus support for tax filing
  • Year-round tax advisory support
  • Historical bookkeeping available for an additional fee
  • Specialized bookkeeping available for an additional fee

Who it’s for: Small business owners who don’t want to hassle with preparing and filing complex tax returns.

General Ledger & Chart of Accounts

I did have some trouble getting it to load all my transactions for multiple accounts. Once they loaded in, I could open each of them for input to share with my bookkeeper.

It allowed me to suggest a new category where I saw relevant and save the note for bookkeeper review.

Bank Integration and Reconciliation

To link your bank accounts and credit cards, Bench uses Plaid. It automatically pulls up a range of well-known banking institutions, including Chase, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.

You can search for your institution if you don’t see it in the list. After selecting your bank or credit card issuer, you must enter your account login information and choose the accounts you want to share with Bench.

Your login information isn’t stored, so everything is secure. It pulled in all my accounts, and I could mark which accounts I used for business and which I did not.

Bench bank integration

You also have the option to add your bank statements to serve as a backup method for reconciling accounts, but I chose to skip this step since everything in the automatic connection looked good.

It did take a while for the machines to do their thing. At first glance, it looked like it didn’t really do much – showing only $39.09 in revenue, when I’ve received far over that amount in July, so you’ll definitely need to be patient and double-check everything’s accuracy – especially if you’re connecting a personal checking account that you use for business purposes because you’re a sole proprietor.

Bench integrates with Stripe accounts, Square accounts, and Shopify accounts. You’ll need to use one of these merchant processors if you want to take advantage of automatic transactions from the start.

That’s not to say other merchant processors won’t work – it just means you’ll need to take a few minutes to speak with your bookkeeper to get the required reports. 

I tested it with Stripe, and it worked well, but as with my bank account, it did take some time to pull in all the information and categorize it.

Financial Reporting

Bench offers basic financial reporting with an income statement and a balance sheet. You’ll find your Profit and Loss statement and Top Expenses in your Overview tab.

If you want to see more detail on your P&L, you get taken to your income statement for more information.

Bench financial reporting

Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable Support

While Bench offers both Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable support, these are add-ons, under “Specialized Bookkeeping”. Pricing for these additional services starts at $100/month.

Bench Payroll and Tax Management

If you’re looking for an all-in-one bookkeeping and payroll tax management solution, Bench isn’t for you.

It doesn’t offer any kind of payroll services but instead advises customers who need it to use Gusto.

Partnering with Gusto while you’re a Bench customer will give you a 30% discount on their services. There is a Gusto integration, so you can see everything in one place using their services.

User Interface and User Experience

The Bench user interface is intuitive and easy to use. Onboarding was a cinch for me. After I entered some basic information about my company, the number of employees and contractors, and monthly revenue, I could start my account. 

I generally don’t like providing my phone number and being forced into a one-on-one demo with someone from the sales team, but when I didn’t answer the phone, I got an email from someone right away who was ready to book a demo with me to help me learn more about the software and how I could use it.

Bench User Interface

I also got a message in my Messages panel in my account to let me know that someone would contact me within the next business day to answer any questions and assist with setup.

If you’re not ready to link bank accounts and share information, you can walk through the software using demo data, which is something I really appreciated as a user.

If you’re just testing something to see if it will work for you, connecting all your bank accounts is quite a hassle, only to discover later it’s not what you expected it to be.

Once I took the call, the onboarding specialist was incredibly helpful, taking the time to learn about my business and what I expected to get from the service.

He answered all my questions and let me know he was available if I needed anything else in the future.

He provided me with everything they needed from me to get started working on my books: bank account information, credit card details, loans, and merchant processors.

Bench accounting onboarding

The Get Started checklist made it incredibly easy to set up my account and ensure I gave the team everything they needed to help me.

As I went through and checked off items, I got a nice tutorial of the interface, showing me where to find important things, like the ability to download my income statements.

Everything you need is clearly labeled on the right-hand side of the screen, and you can get to more detailed sections of your accounting information with the tabs across the top.

From there, I could quickly integrate my bank accounts and download the Bench app from the Stripe App Marketplace to make integrating my account a cinch.

Once I installed the app, I could log in to my Bench account, load my financial data, and replace the demo data.

Integrations, Compatibility, & Supported Platforms

The proprietary software doesn’t integrate with anything like Quickbooks. You can connect your bank accounts, credit card accounts, and a few merchant accounts in a few clicks.

If you use something other than Square, Stripe, or Shopify, you’ll have to speak to someone about what an integration requires.

Otherwise, you’re limited to Gusto for Payroll, which is a separate service you’ll have to sign up for and connect.

It’s a web-based application, so you can access it from anywhere with an internet connection. Bench has a dedicated iOS app for Apple users, but Android users are out of luck as of this review in December 2023.

I could use it from my Android via Chrome, but it was much easier on a desktop.

Customer Support

I don’t know about you, but for me, there’s nothing more frustrating than a company touting they offer the best customer service in the industry, only to find that’s not actually the case.

I always try to give companies the benefit of the doubt, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that Bench is true to its word with “unlimited customer support.”

Within a few minutes of signing up, an account onboarding specialist contacted me via phone and email to schedule my demo.

There was also a message in my account ready for me. When he couldn’t reach me upon the first call, he called back a couple of times until I answered, and he was helpful once I connected with him on the call.

I intentionally didn’t take the first few calls to test their persistence – to ensure they’re committed to serving their new customers.

Navigating to the service’s self-help features was a bit counterintuitive for me since I happened to find it by accident.

There wasn’t a clear “FAQ/Help” section in the dashboard, as they direct you to message your bookkeeper directly.

Bench customer support

The Account Settings Overview section has a “Explore Free Services” section. If you click “Learn More,” there’s the option to ask questions, such as: 

“I’m considering changing my filing structure. How can I best go about this?” or “I sell products online and I am not sure if I should be charging sales tax.

How does that work?”

Bench accounting faqs

If you click the “Ask a Question” button, you’re taken to your Messages inbox so you can ask your question. If you click the “More Details” button, that’s how you can access more support materials and FAQs.

Only there was I able to find the live chat feature – which I tested and was pleased to see an actual human named Kris respond to my inquiry in under 2 minutes.

Granted, it was during standard business hours, so I am unsure of how it would work outside that timeframe.

That said, it’s easy to get support if you’re not logged into your Bench account from the Homepage – all you have to do is go to the site’s footer to get to more resources.

You’ll also see the live chat button on the homepage, too.

Bench Accounting — Unique Features

Bench offers 1099 reporting, with year-round reports available. Any 1099 transactions are categorized according to date, details, and the payee name, so it’s easier to process with the IRS when the time comes.

You’ll also have access to the IRS forms you need to file; the reports give you what you need to file. What I really appreciated about Bench as a small business owner is the access to the research team to ask questions.

What the Experts Say About Bench

At the time of this review, Bench has the following ratings:

  • 4.2/5 stars at Trustpilot (900+ reviews)
  • 4.7/5 stars at GetApp (250+ reviews)
  • 4.4/stars at G2 (70+ reviews)

Bench was critical in helping me with catch up books for tax time. Being able to upload reports easily from my bank and various credit card processors made things so much easier, and the bookkeepers learned quickly how to categorize the transactions. I’m not sure when I would have caught up on my historical books without Bench. Going forward from there has been very easy as well. I’ve been able to link the reports to my card processing software and bank, and get updates as they have questions. So simple! I find the monthly reports easy to understand and its given me a much clearer picture of my numbers.

Samantha G., Owner – Verified Capterra review

Overall, I’ve been very impressed with Bench. The people, organization, resources, and software are top-notch. The price, however, is too much for someone who is self-employed or a small business owner with limited transactions. I understand that you generally get what you pay for, but I don’t feel that you get 10x the value over self-managed bookkeeping using Quickbooks, Freshbooks, or Wave bookkeeping software. Excellent product — it’s just not for everyone.

Steve L., Owner – Verified Capterra review

While many reviews speak highly of Bench and how it lets them focus on running their business, some complain of missed deadlines and slow feedback from their bookkeepers.

Bench Alternatives

If you’re not sure Bench is the right solution for you, consider these alternatives:

 
 
 
4.5
4.5
4.0
$200/mo
$199/mo - $1,049/mo
$5/mo - $30/mo
4.5
$199/mo - $1,049/mo
4.0
$5/mo - $30/mo

QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping

QuickBooks Live homepage

If you’re already using Quickbooks Online, but want the added advantage of a real bookkeeper to help you along the way, you may want to consider QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping.

You’ll pay $200/month (or more depending on monthly revenue) plus a one-time cleanup fee in addition to your monthly QuickBooks subscription.

Get your free consultation today!

Fincent

Fincent homepage

Fincent is highly similar to Bench, in that you can access a team of live bookkeepers – not an AI tool. The difference is that their plans also include invoicing, payments, and expense tracking.

This makes it an ideal solution for business owners who want to handle everything from one place.

Pricing starts at $199/month and scales based on monthly expense volume.

Akounto

Akounto homeapge

Akuonto is an all-in-one bookkeeping and accounting software that also handles invoicing and expense tracking.

While it doesn’t offer live bookkeepers the way Bench, QuickBooks Live, and Fincent do, you have the option to provide custom access to your accountant.

Pricing starts at $10/month for 40 invoices and 40 estimates, and scales to $30/month for unlimited invoices and estimates.

Get Started with Bench Accounting

If you’re ready to focus on doing what you do best – running your business – and leave the numbers to the experts, start your free Bench trial today!

Bench FAQ’s

How much does Bench charge?

If you sign up for an annual contract and pay for the year upfront, your price for the Essentials plan breaks down to $249/month. If you need the Premium plan, you’ll pay either $399 or $499 monthly based on whether you choose monthly or annual billing.

Does Bench handle payroll?

No, Bench only handles bookkeeping. If you need help with payroll, you’ll need to invest in another service. Bench themselves recommend using Gusto, and if you do, you’ll get a 30% discount on Gusto’s services since Bench is a partner.

Does Bench use Quickbooks?

No, Bench uses proprietary software. That means if you want to scale and change providers in the future, you’ll have some trouble. Other providers use Quickbooks Online to make it easier to transfer your bookkeeping services to another provider.

Related reading:

QuickBooks Live Bookkeeping

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

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Bench Accounting

Bench helps small business owners like you save time and money doing your bookkeeping and income taxes.

Product Brand: Bench.co

Editor's Rating:
4

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.