QuickBooks Live will manage your bank feeds and reconcile your accounts for a low monthly price while Bench offers the same services—plus tax and financial advice for a higher monthly fee. We believe that Bench is the better service for most small businesses while QuickBooks Live is good for companies using QuickBooks that don’t need any additional services beyond basic monthly bookkeeping.
Compare Bench and QuickBooks Live using our guide to find out which one is best for your business, but these are our recommended use cases:
- QuickBooks Live: QuickBooks users who need account setup, ongoing account reconciliation, and assistance
- Bench: Most small business owners, especially those looking for tax advice and preparation along with bookkeeping services
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Use Cases and Pros & Cons
User Reviews: Bench
QuickBooks Live and Bench were very close in user reviews, but Bench was slightly better with an average score of 4.3 versus 4.2 for QuickBooks Live. Both services are well-liked by their users. We agree with those who praised QuickBooks Live’s access to a live person with a variety of communication preferences and Bench’s ease of use and intuitive interface. The decision for your business will probably not be dependent on these factors but rather on the features offered by QuickBooks Live and Bench.
QuickBooks Live received high praise from users who appreciated the responsiveness and knowledge of the customer support team. They also liked that the fees are affordable and the dashboard itself is easy to navigate. Two complaints among users are that there aren’t any bill pay or invoicing services available, and it also doesn’t provide income tax filing or advisory services. Also, many wished QuickBooks Live offered a free trial so that they could try the service before committing.
QuickBooks Live has earned the following average scores on popular review sites:
- Capterra: 4.5 out of 5 based on almost 70 reviews
- G2.com: 4.0 out of 5 based on almost 80 reviews
Bench users like the affordability of the service and that it offers a free trial of one month of bookkeeping. We agree a one month free trial is nice, but Fit Small Business readers can get two months of bookkeeping from Bench for FREE! Another bonus is that Bench offers unlimited customer support and unlimited year-round tax advisory services. However, users wished that a mobile app for Android was available and that Bench provided a phone number to call for customer support.
Bench has earned the following average scores on popular review sites:
- Software Advice: 4.7 out of 5 based on almost 300 reviews
- G2.com: 4.3 out of 5 based on around 75 reviews
- Trustpilot: 4.2 out of 5 based on around 950 reviews
Pricing: Bench Wins
Bench pricing is flat-rate, and QuickBooks Live is priced based on your monthly expenses, regardless of the number of transactions you have. QuickBooks Live works with any version of QuickBooks Online, which starts at $30 a month for QuickBooks Simple Start while Bench has its own proprietary software. There’s an initial cost for onboarding for QuickBooks Live—and you’ll have to contact the provider for the price since it no longer discloses the fee (used to be $500)—while Bench doesn’t charge an onboarding fee. It is for these reasons that we selected Bench as the winner of this category.
There are three levels of service available for QuickBooks Live, which vary in price depending on your company’s monthly expenses, and they range from $200 to $400 per month. Meanwhile, Bench has two subscription plans available: one provides basic bookkeeping while the other includes tax preparation, filing, and planning services.
Bench also has Catch Up and Retro bookkeeping services for businesses that are behind on their bookkeeping, starting at $299 a month. It even offers a specialized bookkeeping service for an additional $100 monthly for businesses needing to track accounts payable and accounts receivable.
QuickBooks Live doesn’t offer a free trial, but you can book a free consultation and you can switch or cancel service at any time without incurring fees. For Bench, there’s a free trial available for one prior month of bookkeeping, which will be completed in one to two days.
QuickBooks Live allows you to connect an unlimited number of accounts while Bench users can only connect up to 15 merchant, bank, credit card, and loan accounts for free. If you need to connect more accounts, you can contact Bench for a custom quote.
Features: Bench Wins
Comparing QuickBooks Live vs Bench in terms of features, Bench takes the win. Both offer “lightweight” bookkeeping services, providing you with financial reports and reconciling your accounts every month. QuickBooks Live can do a bit more heavy lifting because of the software itself, which is far more customizable and has more features, but Bench offers additional services besides bookkeeping.
However, Bench’s proprietary software lacks any sort of application programming interface (API) that allows you to combine financial and nonfinancial data. But with QuickBooks, you can integrate data, such as inventory, to obtain a comprehensive picture of your business.
A/R and A/P Tracking: Bench Wins
Bench offers A/R and A/P tracking as an add-on service, which lets you track your A/P and A/R. It is unclear whether this includes invoicing and bill pay.
Tax Advisory & Filing: Bench Wins
More than just a bookkeeping service, Bench offers a variety of services that are useful for small businesses needing tax assistance. This includes filing of both individual and business tax returns, and unlimited year-round tax advisory services. Best of all, this is included in its Premium bookkeeping plan at just $499 a month.
Ease of Use: Tie
QuickBooks Live and Bench are fairly intuitive and easy to use, and their dashboards are user-friendly. Both have a wide selection of helpful resources, including an online help session with a searchable knowledge base and community support.
The major difference between the two is that QuickBooks Live offers the ability to communicate with your dedicated bookkeeper via one-way video chat. Nevertheless, we called this category a tie because the two providers are otherwise similar when it comes to ease of use.
Integrations: QuickBooks Live Wins
QuickBooks Online users who work with QuickBooks Live get plenty of integrations, both built-in and third-party. Meanwhile, Bench doesn’t have any built-in integrations and has 10 third-party integrations. Therefore, we chose QuickBooks Live as the winner of this category:
- QuickBooks Live integrations: Includes QuickBooks Payroll, QuickBooks Time, QuickBooks Payments, Shopify, Fathom, Method:CRM, Insightly, Hubdoc, AutoEntry, and TradeGecko
- Bench integrations: Gusto, FreshBooks, Stripe, Square, Shopify, Attune, Keap, Brex, Clio, and PayPal
Mobile App: Bench Wins
QuickBooks Online has a good mobile app for accessing your QuickBooks Online account. However, QuickBooks Live doesn’t have an app to help you communicate and share information with your QuickBooks Live ProAdvisor, which is why we selected Bench as the winner in this category.
Available for iOS devices, Bench’s mobile app allows you to upload digital copies of bills and receipts to the Bench software for your bookkeeper to review. You can also communicate with your bookkeeper through the app or check your accounts, vendors, spending categories, and more.
Customer Support: QuickBooks Live Wins
Both providers offer unlimited phone support with all plans and have strong customer support features. They also have many online help resources, but QuickBooks Live has the edge with live chat support and the ability to communicate with your bookkeeper via one-way video chat.
How We Evaluated QuickBooks Live vs Bench
We compare Bench and QuickBooks Live based on the following criteria:
35% of Overall Score
Because each plan depends on many factors, we looked at the value provided in terms of the time and potential money that you’re saving by using the service.
20% of Overall Score
You should be able to access a dedicated bookkeeper for any questions or advice and one-on-one assistance.
15% of Overall Score
The best online bookkeeping service should offer a wide range of bookkeeping solutions, including catch-up bookkeeping, invoicing, bill pay, bank reconciliation, payroll, and tax filing.
10% of Overall Score
We evaluated whether the online bookkeeping service offered tax and consulting, and the scope of those services.
20% of Overall Score
We consider the opinions of users and the service’s ratings on various review sites. These criteria were disregarded for providers where no reviews were found.
*Percentages of overall score
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Bench uses its own proprietary software to complete your books, but it integrates with FreshBooks if needed.
QuickBooks Live bases its prices on your monthly expenses, and prices range from $200 to $400 per month. In addition to the cost of QuickBooks Live, you’ll need a QuickBooks Online subscription which starts at $30 monthly.
Yes, Bench will prep and file your taxes as part of its Premium plan, which includes bookkeeping and tax for $499 a month.
Choosing the right virtual bookkeeping solution for your business will help you maximize your tax deductions and run your business effectively, creating an excellent return on your investment. For companies already using QuickBooks, QuickBooks Live provides a cost-effective way to lessen your bookkeeping workload and improve the quality of your books. However, we declare Bench as the overall winner in our comparison of QuickBooks Live vs Bench because of the additional services Bench offers and its superior pricing.