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How much should a CPA charge for a small tech business in the Bay Area?

I was wondering about the cost of CPAs for small tech companies in the SF Bay Area.

I have received a letter of engagement for year 2015, and the estimated cost is of $300/month for a C corp, including payroll for 2 people. Does that seem reasonable, or should I find someone else?

Also: is there any chance small corps can do their taxes themselves, at least at the early stage? For those who have tried, was the time burden over money saved ratio worth it?

9 Replies

Kate Hiscox
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Kate Hiscox Entrepreneur • Advisor
Boss at Venzee
Hi Nicolas!

What does that include? Payroll? General book keeping, bill pay, tax prep etc.?
Nicolas Falliere
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Nicolas Falliere Entrepreneur
Founder and CEO at PNF Software
Hi Kate - that includes:
- online accounting system setup (Quickbooks)
=> not sure if this is meant to be used by them or by me, I see Intuit has a biz section as well as an accountants section
- payroll setup (they use Managepayroll or Zen Payroll)
- monthly reconciliations
- custom assistance (basic "customer support" I guess)
- quarterly financial statements and quarterly payroll tax reports
- year tax prep and return (1099, 571L)

The CPA business in question is a small shop, the initial meeting was positive. But $3,600/year seems a bit expensive for a small business.
Corey Blaser
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Corey Blaser Entrepreneur
Founder at Origami
That sounds amazingly reasonable. $100 for each payroll employee and $100 monthly for C-corp services and book keeping.

We pay between $150/hr to $250/hr for the C-corp services and about $100/mo for each employee's payroll
John Arroyo
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John Arroyo Entrepreneur • Advisor
Delivering ecommerce and cloud applications, CEO of Arroyo Labs
like corey mentioned, that's very reasonable. You could do it a la carte self service and save money, probably pay ~$100 in saas fees and many hours of your time keeping things updated. If you want to focus on your company it's worth spending 300/mo for someone to handle the books. You could take a look at http://evolvecfo.com/too.
Rob Gropper
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Rob Gropper Entrepreneur
Director at PetHero, SPC - Member at Eastside Incubator - Principal at Tuxedo Technologies Group
sounds pretty reasonable to me. I would ask to speak to some current customers/references to get feedback, but for the tasks/services you've listed i would say go for it. If you have revenue and expenses and thus A/R (or cash) and A/P to track I would not hesitate. i would also clarify that they will be filing your quarterly state and local tax reports (L&I, dept. of revenue, B&O (if there is such a thing in CA), not just your annual federal return. These aren't a lot of work, but someone needs to keep track and make sure they get filed on time. QB Online allows for access by both you and your accountant so, for example, you can enter expenses and the accountant can then categorize them and 'count the beans' in the proper columns.
Avery Dorland, EA
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Avery Dorland, EA Entrepreneur
Tax Professional and Xero Specialist
very reasonable. You'll also have to remember that you'll pay again for tax prep as well.
Nicolas Falliere
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Nicolas Falliere Entrepreneur
Founder and CEO at PNF Software
Thanks all. As an update, I negotiated the price down a bit, since my accounting should be fairly easy, and went for those guys.

@Avery: that includes tax preparation, as said in my second message. Or am I misunderstanding your comment?
Avery Dorland, EA
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Avery Dorland, EA Entrepreneur
Tax Professional and Xero Specialist
@Nicolas I didn't see that in second piece of detail. In that case, you got a good deal.
Perri Blake Gorman
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Founder of Archively & UnrollMe
I use a great company out of NYC DecisionCFO and they run us about $350 a month - they do exactly what you have described. Totally reasonable.
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