Bench Review, Pricing & Features

Bench Review, Pricing & Features

Bench is a software-enabled bookkeeping service for small companies. With three different bookkeeping service options, as well as a tax service, Bench is a great option for small businesses that want a hands-off approach to bookkeeping.

Pros

  • Bench offers catch-up bookkeeping services for businesses that have fallen behind
  • Tax advisory services come at a very reasonable monthly price
  • You can add your personal accountant to your Bench account

Cons

  • Business owners have relatively little control over the software where financial work is being done
  • Reporting section is very limited compared with competitors
  • You cannot use Bench if you reside outside the United States
Analyst's Rating
87
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Junior Research Analyst

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What is Bench?

Bench is a software-enabled bookkeeping service. This software is unique because rather than offering customers a do-it-yourself option, Bench is a service-only company where their team of bookkeepers will handle your company’s financials. Because of this, Bench is ideal for those who are looking for a hands-off platform. If you want to learn more about bookkeeping before reading this review, check out our article about bookkeeping tips for small businesses.

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Table of Contents

Bench Review Summary

Bench is a software-enabled bookkeeping service that was founded by Ian Crosby in 2012. The company is based in Vancouver, Canada, and works with clients exclusively in the United States. With just over 10,000 customers, Bench is a growing company that caters their bookkeeping services to SMB owners across a range of industries like law, retail, and ecommerce.

Bench is unique compared with other bookkeeping and accounting software tools because rather than offering a do-it-yourself software platform, they exclusively offer bookkeeping services. All the financial work is handled by Bench’s in-house team of bookkeepers, and small business owners can log onto their dashboard to oversee the process.

During an initial call with Bench, prospective customers will discuss their needs with the Bench team. Companies start with a free trial month where Bench representatives will do the company’s books for last month, promising a 24 to 48 hour turnaround rate. From there, customers will decide if they want to continue using Bench’s services.

Bench pricing is between $159 per month and $419 per month. Your company’s pricing tier will be decided based on your company’s operating expenses and capital expenditures. For example, if your company’s average monthly expenses are between $3,000 and $20,000, you’ll likely pay $219 per month. You can also add tax filing and advisory services for $99 per month.

Overall, Bench is a great option for those who want to outsource their bookkeeping. If your company has fewer than 15 employees and reports less than $5 million in revenue, Bench is a great alternative to do-it-yourself bookkeeping software. To make things even easier, customers can add their accountant as a Bench user and put the bookkeeping team in direct contact with the other individuals you have helping with company financials.

For DIY accounting software tools, check out our reviews of the following:

  • FreshBooks is a straightforward, modern accounting tool that’s best for freelancers
  • Wave is a freemium platform that will appeal to many due to its free features and add-ons like payroll and bookkeeping services
  • Xero is a full-featured and advanced accounting software that’s ideal for companies of any size and industry

Bench Pricing & Cost

Bench pricing begins at $159 per month with an annual plan and the most expensive plan is priced at $419 per month with an annual plan. Pricing is based on your company’s expenses. You'll be billed based on a monthly subscription, rather than an hourly rate, which is helpful if fear of being charged at each interaction would prevent you from asking your bookkeeper critical business questions.

Bench Key Features

Throughout this review, we’ll discuss Bench’s software and services. We were able to take a look at a demo account, so we’ll provide images of the software to give you a sense of what it’s like to use the tool.

Dashboard

When you log into Bench, you’ll immediately see the dashboard, which shows a graph depicting your profits and losses, as well as your company’s top 10 expenses. The software offers helpful breakdowns with not only exact numbers, but the percentage of total spending that each expense represents.

Bench Dashboard

You’ll be able to drill down into each section to get a closer look at the transactions within each category.

Reports

The Reports section provides you with a summary of financials, an income statement, and the balance sheet. Within each category, as you can see below, all transactions can be given a category or listed as uncategorized until you or your bookkeeper can assign the transaction to a particular section.

While this section is nowhere near as advanced as the reporting sections within other accounting software tools—for example, Xero includes more than 50 accounting, financial, and tax reports—the most crucial of reports are available. Your business accountant, who you can give Bench access to, will likely utilize this information to create more varied reports of their own with a different software tool.

Bench Reports

You’ll be able to download all information from reports, both from desktop and from the mobile application.

Bookkeeper Communication

You’ll be able to chat with your Bench bookkeeper within the interface. Bench advises that their bookkeepers will respond to client messages within one business day at most, ensuring quick answers to any questions. The inbox view will look like this:

Bench Inbox

Your Bench bookkeeper will share a link where you can book time to meet on his or her calendar. This link can also be found in the top right corner of the messaging tab. Bench bookkeepers communicate through email, phone, and via the inbox.

If you already have an accountant, you can give them access to your Bench account and they will also be able to message your Bench bookkeeper. This is a very helpful tip that you’ll want to take advantage of, as keeping all parties who manage your finances in contact with each other will eliminate any confusion.

Services

Services are Bench’s main value proposition for customers. There are three types of bookkeeping services and one service that combines bookkeeping and tax preparation assistance.

Monthly Bookkeeping

Bench recommends their monthly bookkeeping services for customers who are already up to date on their books. Once you get set up with your dedicated bookkeeper, you’ll provide him or her with your transactions each month. Even if you don’t choose to add the Bench Tax Service, your bookkeeper will provide you with everything you need to file on your own come tax season.

Prices for monthly bookkeeping were outlined above and will range from $159 per month to $419 per month.

Catch Up and Retro Bookkeeping

These two services are designed for businesses who have fallen behind on their bookkeeping. Catch Up Bookkeeping is for those who are less than two years behind on bookkeeping.

Retro Bookkeeping is for businesses that are two years or more overdue. In these cases, a Bench advisor will prepare you to file back taxes and answer any questions you might have about your options. Pricing for this service is slightly more than the price of the other two bookkeeping services, as shown below.

Bench Inbox

Bench Tax

You can add Bench Tax onto your bookkeeping service for an additional cost. Starting at $99 per month, this service gives you tax advising, state and income tax filings, and quarterly estimates. Along with that, you’ll be able to sign up for personal tax filing with Bench for $36 per month.

Bench Customer Support

Getting in touch with the Bench support team is very easy given that their website has live chat, where you can correspond with their team in real time. Customers can also call Bench or send the team an email. Along with those methods, there’s a variety of self-help options like the Bench blog and downloadable forms, templates, and other resources.

Customer Support ChannelsLive Chat, Email, Phone
Other Support ResourcesBlog, Templates, Guides, Customer Testimonials, FAQ Page
Application Status PageNo

Bench Alternatives & Competitors

Because Bench is a service-only offering, it doesn’t necessarily compete directly with other accounting software tools that we’ve reviewed. However, in terms of target audience, it’s similar to Wave and FreshBooks, who also market to very small businesses.

Is Bench Right For You?

For many business owners, especially those who are not well-versed in bookkeeping or accounting, outsourcing financial services to a team of professionals is well worth the money. If you’re looking for a professional bookkeeping service, Bench is a fantastic option.

They’ve built their software in-house, meaning that they have full control over and knowledge of the tool their bookkeepers work with. The variety of bookkeeping and tax services is helpful given that businesses may be in different places with keeping books up to date. With prices starting at just $159 per month, many businesses will find this a worthwhile investment.

If you don’t like the idea of turning your bookkeeping over to an outside company, there are accounting tools that you can use in collaboration with your accountant. Check out some of those options below.

  • FreshBooks is a straightforward, modern accounting tool that’s best for freelancers
  • Wave is a freemium platform that will appeal to many due to its free features and add-ons like payroll and bookkeeping services
  • Xero is a full-featured and advanced accounting software that’s ideal for companies of any size and industry

If you are interested in trying Bench, sign up for a free trial.

Katelyn Anderson

Katelyn is a Junior Research Analyst at SoftwarePundit, where she conducts in-depth analyses of technology markets & products and writes software-related content. She graduated summa cum laude with degrees in English and Psychology. Her main areas of interest are content creation, user experience, and search engine optimization. You can connect with Katelyn on LinkedIn.

Katelyn is an expert in several software categories including:

  • Accounting software
  • Live chat software
  • Vacation rental software