Pilot Review: Features, Pricing, & Alternatives

Our Verdict

Dive into our review of Pilot bookkeeping software. Uncover its features, pricing, and its impact on small business accounting. Is Pilot right for you?

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Pilot Pilot
Service Type: Bookkeeping, tax, and CFO services
Best For: Startups looking for help with bookkeeping and accounting until they can hire their own in-house team.
Pricing: $499/mo - $699/mo
Pros:
  • Dedicated bookkeeper
  • Supports accrual basis accounting
  • Offers CFO advisory
  • Discount for pre-revenue companies
Cons:
  • No free trial
  • Limited email support

Pilot is a web-based bookkeeping software solution for small and medium-sized businesses. The service aims to help business owners save time and money on accounting and tax-related tasks.

It takes your accounting to the next level by connecting you with professional bookkeepers who can handle your books while you focus on running your business.

In this Pilot review, I delve into the most notable features, pricing, and other relevant details to help you determine if this solution will meet your needs or if you need to keep looking.

SMB Guide’s Verdict for Pilot

Overall, I give this one a 8 of 10. Why? Because the basic support is limited to email, there’s no live chat or demo that you can explore on your own.

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

FactorRating (out of 10)
Pricing & Plans7
General Ledger and Chart of Accounts7
Bank Integration and Reconciliation8
Financial Reporting8
AP and AR Management7
Payroll and Tax Management6
User Interface and User Experience8
Integrations, Compatibility, & Supported Platforms9
Customer Support8
SMB Guide Rating8

The plans are expensive, and it’s not much different than using QuickBooks Online on your own. While the unique features do set it apart, for many businesses, they’re simply out of reach financially.

Pricing & Plans

Pilot offers bookkeeping, taxes, and CFO services. You cannot purchase tax services without also having a bookkeeping plan.

Pilot pricing

Core

Core is the basic bookkeeping plan Pilot offers and is recommended for pre-revenue companies.

Price

Pricing is based on monthly expenses and starts at $499/month, billed annually. It maxes out at $839/month, billed annually, for companies with up to $199,999 monthly expenses.

It includes a $200/month first-year pre-revenue discount.

Features

  • Dedicated finance expert
  • Accrual basis bookkeeping
  • P&L, balance sheet, and cash flow statements
  • Burn rate calculations

Who it’s for: Any company in the pre-revenue stage.

Premium

This plan is focused on companies that are already generating revenue.

Price

  • Custom pricing starts at $1,500/month. It’s based on the unique needs of your business. You’ll speak with an expert who looks at your entity structure, revenue model, and inventory model to build a custom plan for your needs.

Features

  • Same features as the above plan, plus additional features based on what your business requires.

Who it’s for: For revenue-generating companies

Taxes

Tax plans are billed separately but must be purchased with Pilot Bookkeeping services.

All tax plans include:

  • Federal corporate income tax filing
  • State corporate income tax filing
  • Delaware franchise tax filing
  • Free tax extension

Businesses have two tax plans to choose from:

Essentials

Price starts at $2,450/year for unprofitable C corporations without foreign subsidiaries. It includes:

  • 1099-NEC filings: 10 included, then $5/filing
  • 1099-NEC contractor data collection: $125/hour
  • Additional state income tax filings: $500/state
  • Foreign shareholder return 5472: $500/shareholder
  • Foreign financial accounts: $500/FBAR
  • Tax consulting services: Starting at $350/hour
Standard

Price starts at $4,950/year for profitable C corps, LLCs, S corps, or businesses with foreign subsidiaries 

  • 1099-NEC filings: 25 included, then $5/filing
  • 1099-NEC contactor data collection: $125/hour
  • Additional state income tax filings: $900/state
  • Foreign subsidiaries 5471: $2,000/subsidiary
  • Foreign shareholder return 5472: $500/shareholder
  • Foreign financial accounts: $500/FBAR
  • Tax consulting services: Starting at $400/hour

Pilot customers also have the option to purchase Chief Financial Officer (CFO) services. There are three plans to choose from:

Basic: $2,250/month billed annually

Plus, an $8,100 Budget & Forecast Model charge

With this plan, your CFO analyzes business performance and extracts key insights.

Essential:$4,050/month billed annually

Plus, an $8,100 Budget & Forecast Model charge

With this plan, your CFO initiates strategic projects to help you grow

High-Touch: $6,750/month billed annually

The $8,100 Budget & Forecast Model fee is waived here because at this point, the CFO becomes deeply integrated into your business to take charge of data-driven strategies to elevate your business growth faster.

Additional services include:

  • Stock administration
  • R&D Tax credits for relevant business
  • AP and AR Support

General Ledger and Chart of Accounts

This is not a feature specific to Pilot. Here, you get the same material as you would in QuickBooks Online.

Pilot uses your QBO account, where you are the “master,” and maintain control of the account.

The Pilot team is just the accountants who manage it for you and ensure everything is accurate and clean.

You do not need to purchase your own QBO, they can purchase it for you using a wholesale account.

QuickBooks online accounting

Bank Integration and Reconciliation

I could not get an actual account with Pilot because, as a freelancer, I’m outside of their target market.

The plan was cost-prohibitive for me. That said, after watching a 20-demo on the software (where you see I grabbed all the screenshots for this review), the Q&A at the end let me know this:

You connect your bank, credit card, and other financial accounts to Pilot. It acts as a go-between for you and QuickBooks online. Pilot imports and categorizes the transactions.

If there are any questions about anything, the Pilot team will ask you about it. You can also change the categorization if you don’t believe it’s right.

Pilot bank integrations

Financial Reporting

Pilot offers some basic financial reports in its dashboard, but you can also get more detailed reports from your QuickBooks dashboard.

With Pilot, you’ll get basic reports like profit and loss statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets.

You’ll also get burn-rate calculations. You’ll need to upgrade to the Plus plan if you want custom reporting.

AP and AR Management

This is again, something that would be managed from within QuickBooks. If you need help with paying bills and managing accounts receivable, you’ll have to talk to the Pilot team about the add-on service.

Based on how QuickBooks works, the system is highly intuitive and easy to use.

Payroll and Tax Management

Pilot doesn’t handle payroll on your behalf. If you add Payroll to your QBO account, you can manage it yourself that way and keep Pilot in the loop for bookkeeping purposes.

User Interface and User Experience

From what I could see of the interface in the demo, everything is clearly laid out and easy to understand. You’ll connect accounts, import transactions, and be able to categorize them accordingly.

You have a Task list, which allows you to communicate with the team if they have any questions about the transactions.

Pilot dashboard

Each question has its own thread, so you can easily track which questions you’ve answered. The Insights section gives you access to reports.

Some reports are vendor-specific, while others are not. These reports are different from what you’d see in your QuickBooks Online account.

Pilot reporting

Integrations, Compatibility, & Supported Platforms

Pilot is a web-based application you can access from any device with an internet connection. There is no mobile app available.

You can set it up to work with various apps like Gusto, Stripe, and others. You’ll need to speak to the team to learn more about setting up some of these integrations.

The demo didn’t show how to set up connections, so it’s hard to tell which ones are automatic and require more technical support.

Customer Support

When I first signed up for the consultation to learn more about the software, I filled out information about my business, then chose a time for a consultation.

Pilot customer support

I immediately got an email with the consultation details and a follow-up email from the person it was scheduled with to learn more about my business.

When it was discovered that, as a freelance writer, I’m not inside their target market, they let me know their service isn’t intended for one-person businesses like mine and pointed me in the direction of a 20-minute demo that I could use to walk through the software and its features, which is what I based this review on.

They get an A+ for help and support for me. 

Beyond that, an extensive resource library full of articles about finances and small businesses/startups is completely separate from the blog.

You can sign up for a weekly demo webinar to walk through the software and learn more about it.

There’s also a Burn Rate Calculator, a Glossary of Terms, and a State of Startups report. Plus, a FAQ library to help you get questions answered without speaking to someone.

There doesn’t appear to be a live chat, but you can reach out via email if you have any questions or concerns.

Pilot — Unique Features

Something that sets Pilot apart is the fact that you can purchase CFO services. Though costly, they can help you build your staff if you can’t find your own CFO or if you’ve not yet reached the point where you can afford to hire one in-house.

Another thing that impressed me is the end goal is to onboard you as a customer. They want to support you through so much growth that you reach the point you no longer need their services and hire an in-house team.

This is why they use QuickBooks Online. You can remove them as accountants, then bring in your new team, and they have access to all the historical data for a smooth transition.

What The Experts Say About Pilot

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

  • 8.2/10 votes at TrustRadius (10 reviews)
  • 4.8/5 stars at Capterra (20+ reviews)
  • 4.5/stars at G2 (60+ reviews)

We use pilot for our bookkeeping needs and absolutely love it. It has made the handling of taxes in particular so much simpler. I love that it connects our accounts and takes some of the work-load off when it comes to running monthly reports.

Tiffany M., Bookkeeper – Verified Capterra review

Pilot really made it easier by sifting through and re-organizing our Chart of Accounts. The team we worked with are super knowledgeable and the financial controllers helped us setup our processes to help us scale our business.

Yash B., Chief Operating Officer – Verified Capterra review

Pilot Alternatives

Thinking Pilot isn’t the best choice for your business right now? Consider these other options:

 
 
 
4.5
4.0
4.0
$200/mo
$395/mo - $995/mo
$249/mo - $399/mo
4.0
$395/mo - $995/mo
4.0
$249/mo - $399/mo

QuickBooks Live

Quickbooks Live homepage

Pilot uses QuickBooks as their accounting software anyway. The difference is that you’ll get access to QuickBooks Live’s certified bookkeeping experts to help you handle your accounting.

And you’ll get it all for a much lower price point overall. You can add-on tax and payroll support if needed, but not the CFO services.

Schedule your free consultation with a QuickBooks Live expert.

xendoo

xendoo homepage

xendoo is a similar bookkeeping and accounting service focused on small businesses. It offers bookkeeping, tax support, and catch-up services to ensure your business runs smoothly.

Pricing starts at $395, and annual plans get a 10% discount. Like Pilot, it offers fractional CFO services, starting at $1,500/month.

Get started with xendoo today!

Bench

Bench Accounting homepage

Bench is a similar service in that you get access to a team of bookkeepers and financial experts. The pricing is far more affordable, starting at just $249/month.

The main difference is that they use proprietary software instead of QuickBooks. That makes it difficult to leave the platform and hold onto your historical data as you scale.

Getting Started with Pilot

Pilot could be the right solution for you if you’re a startup that needs support with bookkeeping and taxes. Sign up to learn more about how they can customize your plan.

Pilot FAQs

How does Pilot Bookkeeping work?

Pilot Bookkeeping works as a go-between for you and QuickBooks Online. Your accounts are connected to Pilot, where the data is reviewed and cleaned up before being imported into QuickBooks Online.

Other services are available to help you with taxes and financial planning.

What software does Pilot Bookkeeping use?

Pilot uses QuickBooks Online, which makes it easier to transfer away from their service when your business grows to the point where you can afford an internal financial team.

What is Pilot.com?

Pilot.com is a bookkeeping software that uses QBO to help startups manage their books. There are different plans available depending on whether you’re pre-revenue or already making money.

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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Pilot

Pilot is a provider of back-office services, including bookkeeping, controller services, and CFO services.

Product Brand: Pilot.com, Inc.

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.