Its founder, Ian Crosby, started out keeping books for a technology company during college. It didn’t take long before his entrepreneurial spirit kicked in, and he realized that much of what was involved in bookkeeping could be automated. He also recognized that, at the time, there was no single nationally-trusted provider and no standardized way of keeping books.
It was then a light bulb turned on in his head: If he could sell his services at a fixed price in a manner that was more efficient, the customer would be much better off.
“Bookkeepers don’t get more efficient,” Crosby said in a telephone interview with Small Business Trends. “They get eight to ten clients and then tap out. Before Bench, there was no way to make the process scalable and more efficient.”
Bench Value Proposition
Thanks to his experience working with the tech company, Crosby was able to build a highly-efficient proprietary bookkeeping software platform.
But the difference that Bench provides is not based on the software itself or the bookkeeper’s skills (in fact, businesses don’t just get one bookkeeper but an entire team of them) but on the efficiency of the process that results from a combination of the two, according to Crosby.
“Everything is put into a measurable standardized process, which we follow to the letter,” he said. “It’s no different than an automotive assembly line.”
That is not to suggest that Bench lacks in personal service. According to Crosby, the team of bookkeepers takes the time to explain to customers how reports work, to help them thoroughly understand their financial position.
“We also do things like show them how to set up back office operations and how to invoice,” he said. “Our goal is to ensure that every experience a customer has with Bench is a positive one.”
Bench Bookkeeping Services
Bench provides bookkeeping, plain and simple. That includes the monthly financial statement preparation (balance sheet, P&L, cash flow, etc.) and year-end financials.
The company focuses on small businesses, many of which have never used a bookkeeper before (50 percent of Bench’s clients fall into that category.) And the company reflects that orientation in its pricing. This starts at $125 per month. Also, Bench provides the first month of bookkeeping free, with no obligation.
Bench does not provide tax-related services, however. Instead, the company prepares a document for tax professionals that contains all the information needed to complete tax returns.
Bench Bookkeeper Qualifications
Although a degree in accounting is not required, applicants must have a math-related college degree to qualify as a bookkeeper. They also go through a rigorous month-long certification program to train them on Bench’s unique process and software.
All bookkeepers work in Bench’s offices, located in Vancouver, British Columbia. No offshoring or outsourcing is allowed, something about which Crosby feels strongly.
“There are quality problems that arise when you offshore services,” he said. “It may be cheaper to use offshore or outsource, but we make up the difference with efficiency.”
Getting Started With Bench
To get started, Bench clients log into the software platform and input their banking, payroll, merchant account (if applicable) and credit card information. Typically, getting set up on Bench’s system takes only a few days.
“We pull directly from the source, so you don’t have to touch it or think about it,” Crosby said. “We don’t want people to have to learn how to use our service. If that’s the case, we’re not doing our job very well. We take keeping up with financials off your plate so you can get on with doing business.”
Visit the Bench website to learn more or to try the company’s services.