Decoding Pilot vs Bench: Which Bookkeeping Service Is Best for Your Business?

Unlocking the Best Bookkeeping Solution: Pilot vs. Bench. Dive into this comprehensive comparison tailored for businesses, decoding their distinct offerings. Whether you’re aiming for robust features or streamlined simplicity, discover the perfect fit for your accounting needs. Read on to unravel the ideal match!
Published on
December 27, 2023

Decoding Pilot vs Bench: Which Bookkeeping Service Is Best for Your Business?

If you’re trying to automate or outsource your bookkeeping, the choice often comes down to ‘Pilot vs Bench’. Each serves distinct business sizes and needs: Pilot for the growing enterprise and Bench for the straightforward needs of smaller ventures. Discover the essentials of how these services differ and which might be the right fit for your business as we delve into this comprehensive comparison.

Key Takeaways

  • Pilot targets larger companies needing robust features like accrual accounting and CFO services, using QuickBooks Online, while Bench caters to very small businesses preferring simplicity and its proprietary software for bookkeeping with a modified cash-basis method.
  • Both Pilot and Bench offer advanced services and customization, with Pilot providing comprehensive CFO services, software integrations, and support for managing multiple entities, whereas Bench focuses on tax filing support and payment processor integrations.
  • Pilot and Bench offer various pricing plans reflecting their differing service levels, and both provide free trials, allowing businesses to evaluate their services before committing. A third option, Acodei, offers automation and integration solutions that are particularly suitable for startups and small businesses looking to streamline their accounting processes.

Pilot vs. Bench: Core Features Breakdown

Comparison of Pilot and Bench bookkeeping services

At first glance, Pilot and Bench seem to offer very similar services. They both cater to small business owners, promising to simplify bookkeeping and make business transactions more manageable. However, when you delve deeper, you’ll find that while they may be similar in their mission, they differ significantly in their approach.

Bench primarily caters to the needs of very small businesses, while Pilot is designed for slightly larger companies with more advanced requirements. The differences in their target markets are reflected in their core features - the type of software they utilize, the accounting methods they default to, and the support options they offer.

Bookkeeping Software

Pilot and Bench display marked differences in their choice of bookkeeping software. Pilot relies exclusively on QuickBooks Online for all its bookkeeping needs. QuickBooks, a leading name in the industry, offers a robust and comprehensive solution that includes invoicing, payroll, and tax filing features.

On the other hand, Bench uses its proprietary software for bookkeeping. This uniquely designed software gives Bench clients easy access to their financial data and a simple, user-friendly interface. It might not have all the bells and whistles of QuickBooks, but it offers a cost-effective solution for small businesses with straightforward bookkeeping needs.

Accounting Methods

Pilot and Bench adopt distinct approaches in their accounting methods. Pilot defaults to accrual-basis accounting, a method that can adapt to a business’s growth, making it a fitting choice for business owners focused on expansion. Investors and venture capitalists also prefer this method for its potential to provide a more accurate picture of a company’s financial health.

On the other hand, Bench uses a modified cash-basis accounting method. This differs from other accounting practices. This method is simpler and more straightforward, making it more suitable for very small businesses. Bench’s approach reflects its dedication to catering to the needs of these businesses, who often find cash-basis accounting more manageable.

Support and Assistance

Pilot and Bench each have their own strengths regarding support and assistance. Pilot provides a dedicated account manager and integrates automation to improve accuracy. This means that you’ll have a single point of contact who understands your business and can provide personalized advice. Plus, the automation ensures that routine tasks are handled efficiently, freeing up more time for you to focus on your business.

Bench, meanwhile, offers support across all pricing tiers and assigns a dedicated bookkeeper to each client through their Bench Accounting services. This means that regardless of the size of your business or the complexity of your accounting needs, you’ll always have a professional bookkeeper ready to assist you. While Bench doesn’t emphasize automation the same way Pilot does, their hands-on approach can provide reassurance for businesses owners who prefer a more personal touch.

Advanced Services and Customization

Advanced services and customization options

As your business grows, you may find the need for more than just basic bookkeeping services. This is where the need for advanced services and customization options arises. Both Pilot and Bench offer these, but they go about it in different ways.

Pilot, for instance, offers a Plus plan that includes:

  • All the features of their Select plan
  • Support for managing multiple entities
  • Comprehensive CFO services
  • A range of software integrations to optimize bookkeeping procedures.

Bench, on the other hand, does not offer multiple entity management or CFO services at the level Pilot does. But it does offer integrations with payment processors and banks, which can make transaction tracking more efficient.

Multiple Entities Management

Managing multiple entities can be a complex process, and it’s here that the differences between Pilot and Bench really start to show. Pilot Plus, for instance, provides support for multiple entities, classes, and locations. This allows businesses with diverse divisions or offerings to keep track of their accounts receivable and payable effectively.

Bench, however, may not be as robust when it comes to managing multiple entities. While they do offer support for multiple entities and can incorporate combined personal and business accounts, there may be some limitations. This indicates that for businesses with complicated entity structures, Pilot Plus might be a better fit.

CFO Services and Tax Filing Support

CFO services and tax filing support are another area where Pilot and Bench differ.

Pilot offers a comprehensive range of CFO services that encompass:

  • Financial planning
  • Budgeting
  • Forecasting
  • Support with other strategic financial activities

These services aim to assist businesses in making well-informed financial decisions.

Bench offers comprehensive tax filing support, including:

  • Tax preparation
  • Filing services
  • A resource hub with detailed information on tax deadlines, deductions, and filing instructions, specifically designed for small businesses.

While Bench does not offer the same range of CFO services as Pilot, their tax filing support can be invaluable during tax season.

Integrations and Automation

Both Pilot and Bench excel in different areas of integrations and automation.

Pilot’s bookkeeping software integrates with a variety of business tools including:

  • Shopify
  • Gusto
  • Stripe
  • Expensify

This level of integration can greatly simplify many online bookkeeping service processes.

Bench, on the other hand, manages automation by establishing connections with payment processors such as:

  • Stripe
  • Square
  • Shopify
  • PayPal
  • Amazon

This enables automatic synchronization of transactions. However, a third alternative, Acodei, might be worth considering for startups and businesses seeking a more streamlined automation solution.

Pricing Plans and Free Trials

Pricing plans and free trials comparison

Regardless of the quality of a service, cost ultimately plays a significant role. Both Pilot and Bench offer different pricing plans, with the cost varying based on your monthly expenses. However, Pilot has a higher entry point, making it a more significant investment.

Moreover, both Pilot and Bench provide free trials. This allows you to test out their services and see if they’re a good fit for your business before you commit. But remember, the cheapest option isn’t always the best. It’s important to consider what each service offers and how well it meets your specific needs.

Pilot Pricing Plans

Pilot offers three distinct pricing plans:

  1. Starter: designed for pre-revenue companies in the early stages
  2. Core: suitable for businesses with monthly expenses up to $199,999
  3. Plus: offers advanced features for businesses with monthly expenses of $15,000 or more.

Pilot also offers a discount for annual commitments, providing a $200 per month discount off their Core plan for pre-revenue companies. This can be a great way to save money if you’re sure you’ll be using the service for at least a year.

Bench Pricing Tiers

Bench offers a total of 5 pricing tiers: Starter, Micro, Boutique, Venture, and Corporate. Each tier includes modified cash-basis bookkeeping, financial statements and reports, and support for up to 15 connected financial accounts.

The cost for each tier varies, with the Micro pricing tier costing $159 per month and covering up to $7,500 in monthly expenses, and the Boutique pricing tier priced at $179 per month. However, The benefits of the Venture and Corporate pricing tiers are not outlined.

Free Trial Offers

While Pilot and Bench offer free trial periods, they do so differently. Pilot offers a 14-day free trial, while Bench provides a free trial month for any of their plans. This gives you ample time to test their services and see if they fit your business well.

During the trial period, Bench even offers assistance regarding their services to help you select the most suitable plan for your business requirements. However, the specific terms and conditions for Pilot’s free trial are not explicitly outlined.

Acodei: An Alternative Solution

While Pilot and Bench offer valuable services, they may not be ideal for every business. For startups or small businesses seeking to automate their accounting flow, Acodei could be an excellent fit.

Acodei’s Stripe QuickBooks integration provides advanced automation features, such as automated invoice sync, which can greatly streamline financial management. Moreover, its seamless integration between Stripe and QuickBooks facilitates streamlined financial management, transaction recording, expense tracking, cash flow monitoring, and organization of financial records.

Acodei's Stripe QuickBooks Integration

Acodei’s Stripe QuickBooks integration offers several benefits. It provides automated invoice sync, eliminating the need for manual transaction handling. This can save you a lot of time and help to eliminate errors.

Moreover, Acodei’s integration allows customization of financial data fields, so you can tailor the data to your specific needs. This level of customization can be a real game-changer for businesses with unique accounting needs.

Customization and Automation

In addition to its Stripe QuickBooks integration, Acodei provides further customization and automation features to enhance your bookkeeping processes. For instance, it offers task automation to enhance efficiency and minimize errors, along with automated invoice matching that effectively streamlines bookkeeping operations for QuickBooks accountants.

Moreover, Acodei’s automation of Stripe fee tracking offers the following benefits:

  • Real-time synchronization of sales, refunds, and payouts
  • Streamlining the reconciliation process between Stripe and QuickBooks
  • Optimization of financial operations
  • Facilitating efficiency improvements
  • Ability to adapt to new financial regulations

By integrating customization and automation, Acodei contributes to the optimization of financial operations, facilitating efficiency improvements and the ability to adapt to new financial regulations.

Ideal Business Types for Pilot, Bench, and Acodei

Pilot, Bench, and Acodei each cater to unique business types. Pilot, with its advanced features and comprehensive services, is ideal for larger companies. Bench, with its straightforward approach and user-friendly interface, is more suitable for small businesses. And Acodei, with its focus on automation, is a great choice for startups and businesses seeking to streamline their accounting flow.

However, these serve as general guidelines. The best service for your business will depend on your specific needs, budget, and preferences. Examining the ideal business types for each service will provide a clearer understanding.

Startups and Small Businesses

Startups and small businesses frequently exhibit distinct requirements. They need affordable solutions that are easy to use and can adapt to their rapidly changing needs. This is where Acodei can play a significant role. Acodei’s automation and integration features can enhance financial efficiency by eliminating manual processes. This can save precious time and resources for startups and small businesses.

Moreover, Acodei’s pricing structure is specifically tailored to be cost-effective for startups and small businesses, particularly those with limited financial resources. So, if you’re a startup or a small business owner looking for a flexible and affordable solution, Acodei might be worth considering.

Growing Companies

Pilot may serve as an excellent solution for growing companies. Pilot’s services are tailored to cater to the specific requirements of growing companies, providing benefits specifically crafted for startups with high growth potential. Plus, Pilot offers advanced services such as:

  • Accounts receivable
  • Accounts payable
  • Monthly bookkeeping
  • Tax preparation
  • CFO services
  • Financial statement generation

These popular bookkeeping services comprehensively cater to the intricate accounting needs of growing businesses.

Customer reviews also suggest that Pilot’s responsiveness and adaptability make it a good fit for growing businesses. So if you’re a business owner with ambitious growth plans, Pilot might be the service for you.

Large Enterprises

Pilot Plus may be the most suitable option for larger enterprises with complex needs. Pilot Plus supports multiple entities, a consolidated view of overspending and cash flow, and comprehensive CFO services. These advanced features can be invaluable for large enterprises managing multiple facets of their business operations.

Moreover, Pilot Plus provides a comprehensive ERP system that encompasses:

  • Sales & CRM
  • Manufacturing
  • Job Costing
  • Inventory/Warehouse control
  • Purchasing
  • AR
  • AP
  • Accounting

This integrated solution can help large enterprises streamline their operations and make more informed financial decisions.


In summary, whether you’re a small business owner, running a growing company, or leading a large enterprise, there’s a bookkeeping service out there that can meet your needs. Pilot, with its comprehensive services and advanced features, is ideal for larger companies. Bench, with its user-friendly interface and straightforward approach, is a great fit for small businesses. And Acodei, with its focus on automation and customization, is a potent solution for startups and businesses looking to streamline their accounting flow.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does bench use QuickBooks?

Bench uses proprietary software and does not integrate with QuickBooks Online or Xero. If you work with Bench, you'll be using their own software to manage your bookkeeping.

Do accountants prefer QuickBooks?

Yes, most accountants prefer QuickBooks Online due to its market share of 62.2%. You will find that over 6 out of 10 accountants or bookkeepers use QBO.

Is there a good alternative to QuickBooks desktop?

Yes, some good alternatives to QuickBooks Desktop are Sage 50cloud, Xero, FreshBooks, and NetSuite. These options provide similar features and can be suitable for small and medium-sized businesses.

Can I do bookkeeping without QuickBooks?

Yes, you can do bookkeeping without QuickBooks by using alternative accounting software such as ZipBooks or FreshBooks, which offer free plans and cater to small businesses or solo entrepreneurs.

Who are bench competitors?

Bench competitors in the accounting category include QuickBooks, NetSuite, and Cognos, which hold significant market share. These companies offer alternatives to Bench.

Get the latest blog posts
No spam. Just the latest updates and tips, on everything related to Stripe, QuickBooks and automating them.
Read about our privacy policy.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Give Acodei a shot
Start automating your Stripe QuickBooks workflow with Acodei. See the demo, or get started right away.